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The Captain's Log 2014, Game 7: "The 3:13 to Santo Poco"

Capt Ron chronicles the Texans' latest loss to the Steelers and highlights one of the best recipes ever. If we can't enjoy a win, at least we can enjoy a good meal!

No holding penalties have been called against blockers facing J.J. Watt yet this season.
No holding penalties have been called against blockers facing J.J. Watt yet this season.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Captain's Log Supplemental

Houston's hometown-star, and season 4 winner of "The Voice," Danielle Bradbery (Cypress, TX), sang the National Anthem prior to kick-off.

The Texans finally started out fast and scored a touchdown on their first offensive series.  They played solid through the first two quarters, and even had the Pittsburgh crowd booing the Steelers.  It looked as though the Texans would  win under the bright lights.  That is, until there was 3:13 remaining in the second-quarter.

When you make mistakes at the NFL level, the other team will most likely make you pay.  The Texans enjoyed success in creating red-zone turnovers in other games this season, but it was their turn in the barrel in Pittsburgh.  It's really hard to win in this league, but it's nearly impossible to win if you commit two turnovers inside your own 5-yard line.

This may go down as the most horrific 3-minutes and 13-seconds in Texans history:

2Q Time
Action Summary Texans Steelers
3:14 Steelers 4th down 13 0
3:13 Steelers field goal 13 3

Texans "3 & out"

1:36 Steelers touchdown (2 plays) 13 10
1:14 Foster fumbles

1:10 Steelers touchdown (1 play) 13 17
1:03 Fitzpatrick interception
:18 Steelers touchdown (2 plays) 13 24

This was a comedy of errors that showed how devastating mistakes are at this level of competition.  It's often said that most NFL games are determined by four or five plays.  This was an example of those plays being back-to-back, and the Texans struggled to regain control.

The Texans kept fighting through the second half and got within a score to tie, so that's a positive that they aren't quitting out there.  The issue is that they are still struggling to install a very complex offense and complex defense with a lot of average talent dotted with a few stars.  Some of those stars, like Brian Cushing and Johnathan Joseph, are not playing at the level we have become accustomed.

It's clear that this is a team that still needs more talent and needs more time to get comfortable in the new schemes.  It's a long season, and the schedule is still manageable, so things should improve each week.  We'll see how they respond next week against their division rival.

Go Texans!

Summary of Key Stats

First Downs 20 18
Net Rushing Yards 132 76
Net Passing Yards 261 252
Total Net Yards 393 328
Passing ATT-COMP-INT 21-32-1 24-34-0
Third Down Efficiency 4/12 (33%) 5/14 (35%)
Touchdowns 2 3
Field Goals (made/attempted) 3 / 3 3 / 3
Fumbles / Lost 3 / 2 1 / 1
Turnovers (lost) 3 1
Penalties (QTY / Yards) 4 - 10 6 - 38
Sacks (defense) 3 1
Interceptions (defense) 0 1
Fumbles Recovered (defense) 1 2
Time of Possession 27:54 32:06
Red Zone Efficiency 2/3 (66%) 2/3 (66%)
Goal To Go Efficiency 1/1 (100%) 2/2 (100%)
Points From Turnovers 3 17

Around the AFC South...

The Colts blew out the Bengals in a 27-0 shutout.  After an 0-2 start to the season with losses to the 5-1 Broncos and 5-1 Eagles, they are now rolling with a 5-game winning streak.  They take their shiny 5-2 record to Pittsburgh next week to play the 4-3 Steelers.  The latest power rankings show the Colts as the 2nd-best team in the AFC behind the Broncos and 5th overall for the league.  I miss 2011 and 2012 when the Texans dethroned the Colts in our division.  I really, really do.

[Obligatory fist gesture toward Albert Haynesworth]

The Titans lost a 17-19 nail-biter in Washington that ended with a 22-yard field goal.  They are now 2-5 and host the 3-4 Texans next week.

The Jaguars got their first win of the season at home with a 24-6 victory over the Browns.  They host the 3-3 Dolphins next week.

Sick Bay

"I'm a medical doctor, not a team psychiatrist!"


OLB Jadeveon Clowney was out for this game, but is expected to enjoy a full week of practice in preparation for the Titans game on Sunday.  I have confidence that he'll get 12-20 plays in Tennessee.

CB A.J. Bouye - unspecified illness.

Movie Quote (name it):

"Well, we really don't have a plan B. We didn't expect for the first plan to work. Sometimes you can over plan these things. "

Bravo Zulu -  Whitney Mercilus

100px-bravo_flag 100px-zulu_flag

(Bravo Zulu is a naval signal, conveyed by flag hoist or vocal, for "Well Done")

Is it possible that Mercilus is finally reaching his potential as a pass rusher?!!  If he keeps playing like this, I'd move Brooks Reed inside when Jadeveon Clowney comes back to action.  We FINALLY saw someone else in the front-seven benefit from the abuse other teams pour upon J.J. Watt.

Mercilus finished the night with 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble (recovered by Watt), 5 tackles with 2 for a loss, and 1 pass defended.

Stories From The Brig

The mistakes made in this game were significant.  When key players like Ryan Fitzpatrick (red-zone interception), Brian Cushing (missed tackles), Arian Foster (red-zone fumble), DeAndre Hopkins (fumble), and Johnathan Joseph (burned for touchdown) all make big mistakes in the same game, it isn't likely the team will win.

Both fumbles were the result of these players trying to make plays to extend for more yardage, but they have to remember that ball security is paramount.  Cushing looks slow out there; I hope he returns to his old self SOON!

Finally we have Danieal Manning, whose botched return was the catalyst to spark the worst three minutes in recent Texans history.

The Texans did enough damage to themselves in this game, but I still feel compelled to point out the poor officiating with "no calls" for Steelers holding Watt (/yawn) and Mike Mohammed, as well as several plays where the Steelers cut off the route of Texans' receivers and impeded their path with the ball in the air.  That's supposed to be flagged for pass interference.  This happened with Troy Polamalu covering Arian Foster, and a couple of times when DeAndre Hopkins was targeted on deep routes.

Movie Quote II (a/k/a the hint):

"Well, you told me I have a plethora. And I just would like to know if you know what a plethora is. I would not like to think that a person would tell someone he has a plethora, and then find out that that person has *no idea* what it means to have a plethora."

Fun Game Capsule: Texans v. Steelers 2002

In the Texans' inaugural season, they went on the road to Pittsburgh in December (34 °F & Cloudy) and beat the Steelers 24-6.  What is really amazing is that the Texans' offense only scored 3 points.  The defense scored three touchdowns: two interceptions via pick-6s and a fumble recovered/returned for a touchdown.  They recovered another fumble, but the offense failed to do anything with it.  In fact, the offense only managed 47 total yards in the entire game.

David Carr was sacked more times in that game than he had pass completions.  He was sacked 4 times, and finished the game with 3 completions on 10 pass attempts for 33 yards.  The sacks reduced the net passing yards to 10!

The Texans would wrap up with a 4-12 record that inaugural year, defeating the Cowboys, Jaguars, Giants and Steelers.

The Steelers went on to finish with a 10-5-1 record as AFC North Division Champs.  They defeated the Browns in the wild card game, only to lose to the Titans in the divisional round the following week.  Tennessee then lost to the Raiders in the AFC Championship game, and the Raiders fell to Jon Gruden's Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Super Bowl.

We've come a LONG way, my friends.  Those dark days are well behind us.  No, really!  Alright, moving on...

Memorable Quote From This Game

Consider that in 57 minutes of the game, we dominated Pittsburgh 23-6.

by Bleyd on Oct 21, 2014 | 9:36 AM

Ship's Galley

Let's check in with the mess hall and see what's cooking...

"Tinga Poblana"

This recipe first appeared on BRB in an episode of The Two-Day Hangover in November of 2012.  I saved it with the intention of making it right away because it sounded so good.  Well, things happen and time blows by faster than we can track, and I stumbled upon it this weekend.  My wife and I cranked out a batch for family and friends to enjoy, and it was absolutely incredible!  I seriously urge you to try this recipe, and share your experience and feedback.  Vega is credited with sharing this recipe with us all, so thank you Vega!!

It's called "Tinga Poblana" which sounds dirty, and kind of is. It's a traditional dish from the town of Puebla, which is better known for mole, but which has other great food.

1 lb pork loin
1 lb flank steak
1 lb chorizo
2 bay leaves
4 garlic cloves
1 onion
3 tomatoes
10 tomatillos
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp thyme
3 chipotles (reserve adobo from can)

Put pork, beef, bay leaves, and 2 garlic cloves in large pot. Boil for 1 hour, let cool and reserve stock. Shred pork and beef and set aside. Remove casing from chorizo and cut into small pieces. Saute chorizo in large skillet until fat renders. Remove chorizo and saute remaining garlic (minced) and onion (diced) until soft. Add chopped tomato, tomatillo, and herbs and simmer for about 10 minutes (tomato and tomatillo will release juice). Add chipotle juice (if you want it spicier, you can also add a diced chipotle or two -- in the one I made I put one seeded one as the wife doesn't like spicy food). Add shredded pork and beef, chorizo, and one cup of stock. Simmer for at least 20 minutes. Salt to taste.

Serve with grilled tortillas, beans, and guacamole. I also chop up a couple more chipotles on the side and add them to the tacos if you want additional spice.

On The Horizon...

Next up, the 3-4 Texans travel to Tennessee to play the 2-5 Titans.

Last week's Captain's Log:  Week 6 v. Colts