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Hair Of The Dog: A Punch, A Thrill, And A Tease

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Through the maternal embrace of fate, Vega was on a business trip during this game and was therefore shielded from the emotional torment. The rest of the crew, however, was not so lucky.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

I spent Thursday night in southern California for work.  Watching games in different time zones is always an awkward experience.  I remember watching the Seahawks - Steelers Super Bowl years ago on the beach in Fiji while eating breakfast (hungover).  You don't realize how much of a football routine you might have developed until it is broken.

Well, for this game, my routine was broken quite significantly.  As in, I didn't even get to watch the game.  I was there for work and was stuck in the office until about halftime. I then went out to dinner with some colleagues.  While I thought I had strategically positioned myself in front of a TV, it turns out it was just a static display showing the name of the restaurant.  I'm sure they got a return on that investment.

As a result, I'm writing this Hair of the Dog having only seen the highlights on SportsCenter and through living the game via the emails of this crew.  The whole thing was oddly reminiscent of watching my wife give birth to my kids, as I watched people in miserable pain while unable to comprehend what was really going on.

Ok, maybe that was weird.  In any sense, here's the Dog.

An interesting pregame exchange:

Brett:

How I anticipate things to go tonight on defense:

1 - Colts are without their starters at center and both guard spots. J.J. is probably going to attack them early and often.


2 - Indy knows that, so they will probably try to double him every snap.


3 - To discourage double teams, Romeo will probably show A gap pressure with Cush/Tarp/Tuggle/D.J. to keep the center engaged while Watt gets one on ones at the 3-tech.


4 - As a counter to that, Richardson will probably be kept in to block a lot since he's a great pass protector, which then allows the center to double Watt as originally planned.


5 - This will then encourage Romeo to show six man rushes, which Luck actually wants since that lets him just throw hot all day and take 4-5 yard gains with impunity or even a screen for a big gain. Texans corners will be tested quite a bit in man tonight just for the sole purpose of giving Watt one on one matchups up front. That means Kareem vs Reggie in the slot, J-Jo vs Hilton (rematch #4) on the outside, and possibly Hal vs Hakeem on the other side. Should be a hell of a battle.


6 - Where Romeo can really turn the tide in this is by doing what he does best...confusion. Show A-gap pressure, force changes in protection, make Luck identify hot, and then drop someone into the obvious hot read to generate a turnover or make Luck hold the ball long enough to take a sack. Kareem is a competent blitzer from the slot, and Crennel has been willing to send him off the edge to stretch protections when they slide towards Watt. That would of course trigger Reggie hot in the slot, so I expect Cushing or D.J. to drop from the A gaps into those obvious hot reads and try to get their hands on the ball. That's how Cush got his pick six in week one last season, so we know he can do it. Even if Luck sees it and pulls the ball up, that gives Watt an extra beat to get into the back field, which is the whole game plan here anyway.


7 - This is going to be a great battle. Pay attention every defensive series to see the subtle changes in how Romeo calls the game. Showing pressure, dropping out of it, sending it, man-free, zone blitzes. How he times his blitz calls will probably determine the outcome of this game.

tGC (remember him?)

... And on offense,

1. Run Arian
2. Get picked off
3. ???
4. Profit

Brett:

You forgot the part where Mallett comes in on his brilliant white horse and unleashes a wave of devastation upon our enemies.

tGC

I guess that's #3?

The horrific first quarter summed up in a few comments:

Rivers:

This game is going well.

mbw (a traitorous Dallasite in Houston clothing -- remember when he was willing to trade a Texans win for a Rangers' win... jerk):

This may turn into a Dallas Stars night.

Rivers:

Do you think Andre Johnson cries while he sleeps?

BFD:

J.J. Watt is being held on almost every play.  It's gotten to the point of being incredibly egregious and obvious.

Vega:

So I'm still stuck at work. It sounds like it's not worth me finding a place with a tv.

MDC:

Not unless you feel like being angry.

Brett:

My only silver lining here is that Fitzpatrick might stink it up so bad tonight that it forces a change to Mallett for Monday night.

Rivers:

Oh, you're still on that delusion.

Diehard Chris:

I'm 15 minutes behind on the dvr and I don't even want to skip the commercials at this point.  In fact I think I might rewatch a few.

mbw:

You should just turn off the game and eat your callouses instead.

Author's note:  I'm not really sure what this means.  Maybe it's a Dallas thing.

On Andre Johnson's ridiculous TD catch:

Brett:

WOW Andre that was nasty.

mbw:

That was sick nasty. THE GOAT.

BFD:

Andre Johnson is washed up, and it's a waste that we play him. #FullDerp #PersonOnTwitterWhoSomehowHasFollowers

Randy Bullock misses a FG:

mbw:

KIIIIIIIIITTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTEEEEEEEEEEEEEENNNNNNNNNN

That's a kitteny FG attempt.

BFD:

What an absolute waste of time....and #Beercan misses.  Of course.  Because it was a stupid decision from the beginning.  BOB's game strategy sucks.  There.  I said it.

mbw:

Even Gary might have had the stones to go for it there. 

Also these third down play calls are giving me kidney stones.

J.J. Watt does more J.J. Watt things:

Brett:

WATT! MVP MVP MVP MVP MVP

mbw:

He's incredible. He even recovers fumbles better than anyone else in the NFL. That looked like the ridiculous recovery he had against WSH earlier this year.

Diehard Chris:

Holy kittening kitten!!!!! One man game-changing machine!

tGC:

What the kitten is going on here?

BFD:

There aren't enough superlatives for J.J. Watt.

tGC:

I mean, really.  All he needs to do is go back in time and reverse the Rosencopter.

And I'm starting to think that he could do it.

What in the kittening-kitteny-kitten.

Other random comments that made me laugh:

mbw:

It makes me happy how fat Ryan Pickett is.

mbw:

Watt takes Luck down with one arm. Mercilus holds onto Luck like a child who doesn't want to go to school.

Brett:

I am so sick of T.Y. Hilton.

BFD:

Oddly, I think we have a better chance to score when the D is on the field.

Rivers:

J.J. just sacked Tony Romo during the review.

mbw:

I'm not afraid of the singularity because J.J. Watt would save us all.

BFD:

How much love do you have for Quess on the sideline?

MDC:

Kitten Fitzpatrick. Forever. He's dead to me.

mbw:

I really hope this "I feel so bad for Andre Johnson" feeling doesn't turn into a year after year, "I feel so bad for J.J. Watt".

MDC:

JJ >>>>> Zod

I'm actually writing this on my flight back to Florida and I'm debating whether or not I should watch the game when I get home.  On one hand, I know we lose, so it's like watching a movie where you know the hero dies at the end.  On the other hand, it sounds like it was one hell of an exciting game.

Not having seen it yet, though, I get the impression that I could pretty much copy and paste the recaps from yestergame into this space.  J.J. Watt is a monster.  Andre Johnson is far from washed up.  The team as a whole had mistakes, but played well enough to win.  If only we had a quarterback.

Game Balls:

Offense:  Andre Johnson.  He had a crucial fumble at the end, but also made a brilliant catch on his TD.  When I think about the quarterbacks that have wasted his talents, I feel like I need to pour one out for him.  Wow.  The flight attendants did NOT like that.

Defense:  J.J. Watt.  Duh.

Special Teams:  Again, not having watched the game, all I know about special teams is that Bullock missed a kick.  So, I'm giving this to food again.

I had a nice seafood dish at that restaurant with the non-TV, but as I have a shrimp allergy, the waiter said I could replace the shrimp topper with a side dish.  Most of the sides were standard, except one:  Brussel sprouts cooked in a skillet with bacon and topped with a fried egg.  When brussel sprouts are the highlight of what was actually an excellent meal, it really says something.

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