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The Captain's Log 2014, Game 10: "Velocity"

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Capt Ron chronicles the Texans' latest victory over the Browns, the emergence of a new QB, the greatness that is J.J. Watt, and "Luv Ya Blue!"

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Captain's Log Supplemental

This was the most complete game of football the Texans have played all season.  It was really fun to watch in every phase of the game, and it brought a lot of positive emotion for fans who have been looking for reasons to believe in a team that has been trying to make 2014 into more than just a "rebuilding year."

There was so much to come away excited about, but I'm going to keep this summary short so that we can dig right in.

J.J. Watt was superhuman again, earning AFC Defensive Player of the WeekBrian Cushing looked like his old self, with speed blitzes and powerful hits.  A.J. Bouye stepped up big in place of Kareem JacksonRyan Mallett looked amazing in his first NFL start.  The offensive line asserted their authority all day to dominate the trenches.  Alfred Blue set a franchise record number of rushing attempts (36).  What more could we ask for?  Well, I'd still like that win up in Indy later this year, but this was an excellent way to come out of the bye week and set the tone for the rest of the regular season.

Go Texans!

Summary of Key Stats

TEXANS BROWNS
First Downs 29 24
Net Rushing Yards 213 58
Net Passing Yards 211 317
Total Net Yards 424 375
Passing ATT-COMP-INT 20-30-1 20-50-1
Third Down Efficiency 7/18 (38%) 3/15 (20%)
Touchdowns 2 1
Field Goals (made/attempted) 3 / 4 0 / 1
Fumbles / Lost 1 / 0 3 / 1
Turnovers (lost) 1 2
Penalties (QTY / Yards) 5 - 55 8 - 67
Sacks (defense) 2 0
Interceptions (defense) 1 1
Fumbles Recovered (defense) 1 0
Time of Possession 33:53 26:07
Red Zone Efficiency 1/2 (50%) 0/2 (0%)
Goal To Go Efficiency 1/1 (100%) 0/0 (0%)
Points From Turnovers 10 0
FINAL SCORE 23 7

Around the AFC South...

COLTS

Indy still leads the AFC South with a 6-4 record, but they took an absolute shellacking at home on Sunday Night Football.  Tom Brady and the Patriots hammered them 42-20, and we can only hope that Bill O'Brien and the Texans can find a way to use that same formula when Houston travels there for Week 15 (Game 14) on December 14th.

The Colts will continue the rest of the way without RB Ahmad Bradshaw, who was placed on injured reserve with a broken ankle.  Indy will host Jacksonville this week; let's hope that the Jaguars can come out of their bye and catch the Colts off-balance for a big upset at Lucas Oil Stadium.

TITANS

Tennessee dropped to 2-8 on the season after losing 27-24 to the Steelers on Monday Night Football.  Their defense played a very physical game, but they were unable to stop Ben Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown.  The Titans next travel to Philadelphia, where the 7-3 Eagles look to hold on to sole possession of the NFC East.

JAGUARS

Jacksonville (1-9) is coming out of their bye week, and they will head to Indy to do their part to try and upset the Colts in this division match-up.  Obviously Houston would be eternally grateful if Blake Bortles and company could pull off a victory to further leverage the Colts into a late season slide.

Sick Bay

"I'm a doctor, not a wishy-washy fan"

INJURY UPDATES THIS WEEK:

Arian Foster (groin) returned to practice this week, and while listed as "day to day," I think we'll see him in the next game to perhaps split reps with Blue.

Kareem Jackson (knee) is hopefully back in action soon, but there has been no update on him for this week.

With the return of Jadeveon Clowney and Brian Cushing, the team is really looking healthy as we head toward the most important part of the regular season.

Movie Quote (name it):

"I do have a test today, that wasn't bullshit. It's on European socialism. I mean, really, what's the point? I'm not European. I don't plan on being European. So who gives a crap if they're socialists? They could be fascist anarchists, it still doesn't change the fact that I don't own a car."

Bravo Zulu - Offensive Line

100px-bravo_flag 100px-zulu_flag

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

I really prefer to name one player as the BZ guy each week, but this win was really the result of the entire offensive line working together to win the war in the trenches.  They paved the way for 213 yards in the running game and kept Ryan Mallett clean with zero sacks and only two quarterback hits.  It was really an outstanding job by the unit; they are finally looking like a well-oiled machine.  Congratulations to Chris Myers, Duane Brown, Ben Jones, Brandon Brooks and Derek Newton!  They all played 100% of the 86 offensive snaps, and it says a lot that they got this recognition ahead of J.J. Watt for this game.

Honorable Mentions

J.J. Watt - Every week, he punches that stat line with a vengeance.  But that's not even the real story, as he isn't in this for the stats.  He's at 100% effort on every play to try and win the battle, and he's leading the charge across the entire landscape.  Watt scored his fourth touchdown of the season and his second offensive touchdown of the year.  He played 70 of the 77 snaps (91%) on defense, 1 of 86 (1%) on offense, and 5 of the 40 snaps (17%) on special teams.

All of that led to: 1 offensive touchdown, 1 fumble recovery, 5 tackles (3 for a loss), 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble.  His performance also led to a Texans victory, which is exactly what the NFL MVP award is supposed to recognize.  Watt was just named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for the second time this season and for the fourth time in his career.  He's certainly doing plenty to earn a shot at the NFL MVP for 2014!

Ryan Mallett - He took to the quarterback role like a field commander with years of combat experience rather than someone starting his first NFL game.  His pre-snap reads looked good, he changed plays and protections at the line of scrimmage, and he was decisive and hit targets with passes that had impressive velocity.  It's only one game, but it was a VERY good start.  Mallett finished the day passing 20-30 for 211 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception.

Alfred Blue - Asking anyone to fill in for Arian Foster is quite a challenge, but the rookie from LSU stepped in and had an incredible day.  He rushed for 156 yards on a franchise-record 36 attempts.  We "Luv Ya Blue!"

EDIT: Thanks to this suggestion by Sugel Mendoza, Johnathan Joseph is added as well.

"Per PFF, (don’t yell at me Brett, I’m citing the raw stats)"

Johnathan Joseph, CB: +4.3

Breakdown: When healthy, Johnathan Joseph is legitimately one of the best corners in the NFL, but the injury big strikes often enough that it’s often forgotten. He was a true shutdown force in this game, stifling the Cleveland passing attack.

Signature Stat: Thrown at seven times, Joseph allowed just one catch for zero yards, breaking up two of those passes.

"Out of Hoyer’s 50 pass attempts, only one of them was caught against JJo and it was as effective as an incomplete pass."

Stories From The Brig

There really is nothing to complain about here this week.  For anyone worried about J.J. Watt's two infractions for hitting the punter, I think we can give him a pass.  He was playing aggressively, and I'll take the big picture results of guys trying to make plays over players who just go through the motions.  It was a high-risk/high-reward situation and well worth the gamble.

From The Mothership:

"Obviously, there are two plays that I wish I didn’t do, but I will never apologize for trying to make a play," Watt said. "My number was called and I tried to go out there and make a play. I wish I had gone a little bit more to the left or so."

Watt, upset with himself, headed to the sidelines and faced his teammates.

"It definitely motivated me,'' said Watt. "I told the guys, 'I owe you one. I owe you two, technically.' It definitely motivates you to go out there and make plays and make something happen because you want to avenge yourself for that screwup.''

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

"If anyone needs a day off, it's Cameron. He has a lot of things to sort out before he graduates. Can't be wound up this tight and go to college, his roommate will kill him."

Ship's Galley

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

Captain Ron's Award Winning Chili

Cincinnati is coming to town, so we'll need as many volunteers as we can get to keep that crappy non-meat "Skyline Chili" from entering the great state of Texas this weekend.  How can chili be just a sauce?  Rubbish!  Also, I'm not a huge fan of adding beans, unless times are so tough that a filler is needed to make it go further.  That being said, my wife does like beans in her chili, even though she was born and raised in Houston and should know better than to do that.

I haven't entered this recipe into the Terlingua International Chili Cook-off yet, but it has taken honors at various informal contests around Houston.  One thing I did learn over the years, is that almost everyone who wins that big contest in Terlingua uses chili powders from Mild Bill's Spice Company, Inc.

Mild Bill's sells fresh ground chili powders, and other great ingredients, that are unlike anything you can find in a traditional grocery store.  They have an incredible variety to choose from, and they don't use any fillers like salt.  You get 100% ground chili of the type you are after.  They also offer premixed varieties of chili powders if you want the convenience, and some of those mixed-kits may find their way to your local store.  Once I discovered these spices, I refuse to use anything else.  I have a large resealable container with a great variety of these ingredients, as well as some chili powder mixes that I created after a bit of experimentation.  I have created a mix I use on seafood, another for steaks, another for pork, and so on.  By the way, this is not a sponsored post from Mild Bill's; I'm just THAT serious about good ingredients, and I want to be sure folks know good sources.

As far as meat, I prefer a good chili-grind of ground chuck.  To allow for variety, sometimes I will add about 25% ground pork.  It's hunting season, so you could also consider about 50% venison if you prefer.

Alright, let's get to it...

Brown 2 lbs. of meat in 1 Tbsp. bacon fat or oil in a large pot (I prefer a heavy braising pot).

Add:

1 shot tequila

1 bottle Shiner Bock beer

1 can beef broth

1/2 can chicken broth

1 - 8oz. can tomato sauce

2Tbsp. concentrated tomato paste

float 2 Serrano peppers

Bring to a boil.

Add:

2 tsp. granulated onion

1/2 tsp. cayenne

2 tsp. beef granules

1/4 tsp. salt

2 tsp. chicken granules

1 Tbsp. Cowtown Light Chili Powder

1 Tbsp. Dixon Medium Chili Powder

1 Tbsp. Hatch Mild Chili Powder

1 Tbsp. Smoked Spanish Paprika

Cover and cook at a medium boil for 1 hour.

Squeeze peppers and discard pulp

Add:

2 tsp. cumin

2 tsp. granulated garlic

1/4 tsp. green Jalapeno Pepper

2 Tbsp. San Antonio Original Chili Powder

1 Tbsp. Cowtown Light Chili Powder

4 Tbsp. Sazon Goya

Add liquid using remainder of chicken broth if necessary.

Cover and cook for 30 minutes.

Add:

1 Tbsp. San Antonio Original Chili Powder

1 tsp. Smoked Spanish Paprika

1 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. granulated garlic

1/4 tsp. cayenne

Reduce heat to a slow boil.  Cook for 10 minutes.

Adjust with salt, cayenne and San Antonio Chili Powder to taste.

Garnish:

Keep it simple, or go wild, with this very personal choice of whether to garnish or not.  It's nice to have options like green onion, graded cheese, cilantro, and possibly sour cream.  EDIT: TexasTumbleweed suggests avocado as a garnish option as well. You could also serve it over macaroni noodles, rice, a hamburger or hot dog.  Chili is great cold weather food, and it's always an excellent tailgating option for a Texans' gameday.

On The Horizon...

The 5-5 Texans look to keep the spark alive as they host the Bengals this Sunday at 12 p.m. central.

Last week's Captain's Log: Bye Week "Reloaded"

Bengals vs Texans coverage