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The Captain's Log 2014, Game 11: "Catch-22"

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Capt Ron chronicles the Texans' latest loss to the Bengals, the rise and fall of a QB, and how things are shaping up around the AFC South.

With a strong arm, and tons of heart...go get healthy, while our season falls apart.
With a strong arm, and tons of heart...go get healthy, while our season falls apart.
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Captain's Log Supplemental

Well, things certainly can change in just one week.  The injury situation surrounding Ryan Mallett seems to have a bit of a polarizing effect on fans and media.  One camp is impressed with his toughness and how he gutted through the game with an injury, while the other camp is mad that he may have done so at the team's expense.  My take on this is that it was a "catch-22" situation.  Without a large body of work for his NFL career, had Mallett pulled himself out of the game, it might have led to a "he's too soft" or "he doesn't care" type of narrative like the one applied to Jay Cutler not too long ago.  By staying in the game, Mallett showed that he was willing to battle through pain in an effort to perform and try to win.

You want players who are willing to compete and never surrender.  This is especially true for the leader of the offense, and it should inspire the players around him that he kept going.  I doubt he knew the severity of his injury, and I put that responsibility on the coaching staff and trainers to assess and determine whether a player should be cleared to go onto the field.

I can see both sides of this debate.  In the end, I side with the player who has fire and heart and keeps charging forward until coaches and medical staff say otherwise.  THAT is the kind of player I want on my team, and leading the offense into battle.

The Mothership reports that All-Pro LT Duane Brown feels the same way:

(on if he noticed QB Ryan Mallett in pain) "On the last two drives, just saw him kind of grimacing in pain a little bit after a couple of throws. I didn’t know exactly what was going on or the extent of it."

(on what it says about QB Ryan Mallett to play through a potentially significant injury) "He’s tough, man. He’s tough. You can just tell that by his character. He’s tough. He wants to win. He wants to compete. Like I said, I could tell there was something there towards the end. He didn’t back down at all. He didn’t ease up at all. He showed his fight to even try to get a score on that last drive there. That is just the kind of player that he is and the kind of person that he is. We really respect that."

(on if he feels for QB Ryan Mallett because of how long he waited to get his chance to start in the NFL) "Absolutely. You could just tell how excited he was to be able to get his first start on the road in a big game, come out with the win, get his second start at home in a pretty significant game for us. It sucks. It sucks and I definitely feel for him. But again, I need more information on how bad it is. Definitely feel for him."

(on if he feels like what can go wrong next) "That’s not my place to comment. I could talk about our lack of running game yesterday. That was probably the biggest thing that stood out to me. All I can control is doing my job and how we as an o-line being able to protect him and run the ball well. Things happen. This is the NFL. If there is a significant injury there, that’s just part of the game. We have a lot of talent on this team. Fitz (Ryan Fitzpatrick) isn’t a stranger to the starting lineup or playing in big games. We have all the confidence in the world in him if he’s under center. That’s just where we are."

Well said, Duane.  GO TEXANS!

Summary of Key Stats

TEXANS BENGALS
First Downs 18 24
Net Rushing Yards 64 139
Net Passing Yards 184 233
Total Net Yards 248 372
Passing ATT-COMP-INT 21 - 45 - 1 24 - 35 - 1
Third Down Efficiency 4/14 (28%) 11/20 (55%)
Touchdowns 1 2
Field Goals (made/attempted) 2 / 2 2 / 2
Fumbles / Lost 0 / 0 1 / 0
Turnovers (lost) 1 1
Penalties (QTY / Yards) 3 - 15 6 - 60
Sacks (defense) ZERO 1
Interceptions (defense) 1 1
Fumbles Recovered (defense) 0 0
Time of Possession 20:50 39:10
Red Zone Efficiency 0/3 (0%) 2/4 (50%)
Goal To Go Efficiency 0/2 (0%) 2/3 (66%)
Points From Turnovers 7 7
FINAL SCORE 13 22


Stats Note: I'm not going to dissect these numbers ad nauseum because I'm personally ready to move on from this horrible game.  The one thing I will point out is that a team is not likely going to win many games in the NFL when the opponent racks up more than 39 minutes in time of possession.

Around the AFC South...

The Colts struggled initially with only a 6-3 halftime lead over the Jaguars, but then exerted their will to close the game out with a 23-3 victory.  With a 7-4 record, Indy now holds a firm grip as the division leader.  They next host 3-8 Washington at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The Jaguars are 1-10 on the season and will be hosting the 3-8 New York Giants.  The networks will show the game because their contract with the NFL says they will.

The Titans were blanked in the first quarter 17-0 by the Eagles, then rallied back with 17 points of their own in the second quarter before finally falling 43-24.  Tennessee is now 2-9 on the season and will travel to Houston to be further humbled by J.J. Watt and company.

Sick Bay

"I'm a doctor, not a quarterback talent scout!"

INJURY UPDATES THIS WEEK:

Kareem Jackson (knee) still "day-to-day."

Ryan Mallett (pectoral) will likely be placed on injured reserve, but the official announcement is still forthcoming.  Reports are coming in that indicate the Texans have signed QB Thaddeus Lewis to back up Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tom Savage.

Arian Foster (groin) may be able to play against the Titans.

Movie Quote (name it):

"He was wearing my Harvard tie. Can you believe it? My Harvard tie. Like, oh, sure he went to Harvard."

Bravo Zulu - Johnathan Joseph

100px-bravo_flag 100px-zulu_flag

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

J-Jo was one of the few bright spots on an otherwise gloomy day.  He provided the only touchdown for the Texans by returning an interception for a defensive score.  He is quietly delivering an outstanding season overall and remains the best defensive back on the roster.

It will be interesting to see what happens in 2015 with his salary being one of the highest on the team at $8.5M and the fact that the Texans have to either sign Kareem Jackson or let him exit in free agency.  Without an expensive quarterback to pay next year, it's very possible the Texans have room for Joseph and Jackson under the salary cap.

Stories From The Brig

Eddie Pleasant chalked up another special teams penalty; what a shocker!  He will be a free agent after this season, so at least there is light at the end of that tunnel.

Chris Myers was blasted backwards in his own end zone from the 1-yard line, which resulted in the Bengals knocking down Alfred Blue for a safety.  We should really point toward the coaches and play-call as the root cause, since a zone-stretch run-play wasn't the best option when it hadn't been working at all previously.

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

"We took a perfectly useless psychopath like Valentine, and turned him into a successful executive. And during the same time, we turned an honest, hard-working man into a violently, deranged, would-be killer!"

Ship's Galley

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

Cornish Game Hens

Are you growing tired of the same old bird around this time of year?  Well, change things up!  These things are easy to cook and are a great option instead of a turkey or chicken.  You can serve one per person, for the big appetites, or easily cut them in half after cooking.  We had these last weekend, and this recipe was outstanding!

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
  2. Rub hens with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Lightly season hens with salt and pepper. Place 1 lemon wedge and 1 sprig rosemary in cavity of each hen. Arrange in a large, heavy roasting pan, and arrange garlic cloves around hens. Roast in preheated oven for 25 minutes.
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a mixing bowl, whisk together wine, chicken broth, and remaining 2 tablespoons of oil; pour over hens. Continue roasting about 25 minutes longer, or until hens are golden brown and juices run clear. Baste with pan juices every 10 minutes.
  4. Transfer hens to a platter, pouring any cavity juices into the roasting pan. Tent hens with aluminum foil to keep warm. Transfer pan juices and garlic cloves to a medium saucepan and boil until liquids reduce to a sauce consistency, about 6 minutes. Cut hens in half lengthwise and arrange on plates. Spoon sauce and garlic around hens. Garnish with rosemary sprigs, and serve.

OPTIONS:

  • You can include orange slices with the lemons, or even as a substitute if you don't care for lemon.
  • If you don't have wine, or don't care for it, you can substitute Blue Moon beer or an equivalent.  Blue Moon has hints of orange and coriander, which really bring out the flavor in these little hens.
  • Use the leftover juices to make a gravy.  Make a slurry by mixing together 2TB cornstarch and an equal amount of "cold" water.  Heat the juices in a saucepan until boiling, then whisk in the slurry to thicken into a gravy.  Season to taste using salt, pepper, Worcester sauce, etc.

On The Horizon...

The 5-6 Texans will next host the Titans on Sunday, where the field at NRG Stadium may or may not claim another victim.

Last week's Captain's Log:  Week 10 v. Bengals

Bengals vs Texans coverage