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Hair of the Dog (Texans-Jaguars): The Changing of the Guard Dog

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The BRB crew gets together to discuss the Texans’ come-from-behind win against the Jaguars and the rise of Tom Savage.

Jacksonville Jaguars v Houston Texans
The very picture of quarterbacking adequacy...right?
Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

I won’t lie. I thought this was going to be the game that kept the Texans from winning the AFC South. It had all the hallmarks of the kind of Texans game that they should win but just don’t because reasons. For about 80% of Sunday’s game, it looked like I would sadly be right.

Part of that reason is because this team continued to trot out Brock Osweiler under center (side note: it feels really good that I could write that in past tense). Then Osweiler threw his second interception of the afternoon which, finally, several weeks after it should’ve happened, prompted Bill O’Brien to go to Tom Savage.

In relief, Tom Savage was what I had hoped Brock Osweiler would be for the Texans: a quarterback who is good enough to make the offense efficient to complement the Texans’ excellent defense.

It’s really easy to go overboard and think Tom Savage is the future for the Texans, after one game against a really bad football team. Based on one game, it’s enough to be cause for some much-needed optimism.

Anyway, enough of me. Here’s what the rest of the staff thought of the game.

Pre-Game Thoughts

Capt Ron

Earlier in the week I thought the final score in this game would be: Texans 12, Jags 9 in a field goal contest as two bad offenses (Jacksonville is ranked 23rd in the league, and Houston is ranked 28th) met two solid defenses (Jacksonville is ranked 5th, and Houston is ranked 6th overall). With the news that C.J.F and Mercilus are both out today, I'm going to nudge that score prediction to Texans 11, Jags 10.

It's a shame they have "Battle Red Day" set for today's game theme, because judging from the volume of available tickets online at all-time low prices, I'm concerned that home field advantage won't be what it typically is at NRG Stadium. This is my favorite theme game of every season, and I wish I was able to attend the game in person today.

GO TEXANS!!

BFD

Seems aprops we'll have to get out the tarps against the Tinkle Kitties.

BRC

Well kitten me sideways

J-Jo, Mercilus, Fiedorowicz and Simon all inactive

I fear for our defense. Brennan Scarlett at OLB all game is going to be pretty rough.

Capt Ron

I'd love to know what the prop bets look like for Bortles to toss a pick-six in this game. Maybe Brock too.

Vega

In light of the fact that many think we've become too negative regarding this team, I'm going to phrase all my comments in a positive light today. Given that I'm fighting a cold, nursing a hangover, and it's Brock vs. Bort, this may prove too much, but let's give it a shot.

Hey, I'm glad to see the Texans didn't give up when they thought they couldn't do any worse than the all red uniforms. Kudos to them for their resilience.

Mike

Why does BOB always want the ball first? Totally defies the Darth Belichick battle plan...

First Quarter:

Mike

Lamar Miller up the A gap... bet no one saw that coming.

Vega

You have to admire O'Brien's dedication to that play.

BFD

You also have to admire Brock's dedication to throwing for six yards on 3rd & 9.

Mike

I think Cy-Fair's offensive line could block with more consistency.

UT

This is the Zeno's Paradox offense, so the fact that they got six yards is actually pretty aggressive by BOB's standards.

Mike

(to BFD) He didn't throw a pick though. #CountYerBlessingsThisTimeOfYear

(Texans defense forces a punt)

UT

Stop crying Bryan Walters, you wouldn't have caught that even under the best of circumstances.

BRC

Not a bad start on defense.

UT

Hey, Will Fuller made an appearance on offense. That's something.

BRC

A first down by passing, even more shocking

Mike

So far, game MVP is Lechler...

Vega

Love to see the old guy stepping up!

(Clowney sacks Bortles)

UT

Clowney just murderized teh Borts.

Vega

Man, you don't have to fake being positive when talking about Clowney. I thought he was going to miss the tackle for a second, but he nailed it.

Mike

Wonder if Rick Smith could convince Jerry Jones to take Osweiler in exchange for Zach Martin and Ronald Leary...

(A bad punt return by the Texans)

Vega

That punt return makes me reminisce about Joe Marciano.

UT

And then our return team does that and I just want to throw up.

BRC

What's worse than a rookie making a mistake fielding a punt?

Two rookies making mistakes fielding a punt.

UT

(to Mike) You don't convince a Sith lord of anything.

(to BRC) Especially when that rookie mistake is caused by a non-rookie.

Vega

This game is shaping up to be a great educational tool for young players.

Mike

Would be nice if this offense would start struggling... that would be a mad upgrade from what's happening here...

UT

My wife just asked why they haven't replaced Osweiler with T.J. Yates yet.

I'll make a Texans fan of her yet, by Kitten.

Mike

(to UT) He's more of a Hutt than a Sith Lord...

And my wife just asked why Houston can't hire a play caller that isn't immediately predictable...

Vega

My wife just went in for a nap. She's very smart.

Mike

(to Vega) Mrs. Vega FTW!

Nelson got away with total DPI there...

BRC

That's better from Nelson. He was in a good position and didn't kitten his pants.

BFD

Our lack of a pass rush is really showing. Bortles has forever back there.

Dear Bort: Don't try the zone read against Clowney. Or, on the other hand, please do.

(Another Clowney sack)

UT

Holy kitten, nobody touched Clowney there. And I think that might've shattered Bortles' skeleton there.

Mike

I vote they continue to not even attempt to block Clowney.

UT

So let it be written, so let it be done.

Vega

All I want next year is to see a healthy Watt and Clowney together. And with Osweiler still likely our quarterback, we'll get to see them on the field a lot!

Second Quarter:

BRC

Watt, Clowney, Mercilus, Simon all healthy next year please.

Mike

Gotta love the drug commercials where one of the mumbled side effects is death... people lining up for that pill like it's Black Friday...

BFD

Hey, Lamar Miller in space can do things. Who knew...aside from everybody who listens to BRR every week.

UT

I feel like there should be a disclaimer for this game: Watching the Texans play on offense will take years off your life.

(Brock Osweiler throws his first interception of the day)

Vega

Nice tackle by Will Fuller there!

BFD

OF COURSE the interception was Brock Osweiler's fault. How the kitten can you say otherwise? Ball that's too high to catch is TOO KITTENING HIGH TO CATCH.

Mike

Well, we got the Brockerception out of the way...

BRC

Ahh Kitten.

Vega

Clowney is making this game worth watching.

UT

Bad throw, bad pick, and it looks like this is going to be one exhausted defense today.

Vega

Don't worry, Mike, we might see another one. This is the season of giving.

UT

I think they sacked Bortles five times in one play.

Vega

The Jaguars make me laugh.

(The Jags score a field goal, Jags lead 3-0.)

UT

The game is just about out of reach, I fear. One more field goal might seal it.

BRC

This is the Jadeveon Clowney I creamed myself over when I watched his tape in college.

It's finally happening.

BFD

You just can't say enough about this defense. Antonio Smith making the sacrifice so Clowney can stunt. McKinney with the eventual sack. Scarlett and Nelson making plays. This defense is the definition of next man up.

Luke

I just got in the door. Is Clowney "STATZGUD" now?

UT

He's kinda stolen Bortles' soul a couple of times.

BRC

He is indeed statzgud. He crushed Poutasi into dust.

UT

A running play up the middle that gets yardage and a first down. So of course it's due to a hold.

(Osweiler throws his second interception on the day)

UT

Oh, kitten you Osweiler.

Vega

Yay, we get to see Clowney again!

Mike

Read your comment, looked up and BAM Pick #2... sigh...

BRC

Just kitten my kitten up Brock.

BFD

This is the Brock Osweilerian meltdown we've been expecting this year.

Mike

Countdown to the chant of SAVAGE! SAVAGE!SAVAGE! SAVAGE! SAVAGE! SAVAGE! in three... two...

That's the worst pass interference ever if they get a touchdown...

(Jags score, going up 13-0).

BFD

Bortles with the TD rush, putting the Jags up five (5) field goals on the Texans.

Tim (in rare cameo appearance)

Tom Savage is going in.

UT

Oh, this kitten is gonna get interesting.

Mike

SAVAGE! SAVAGE!SAVAGE! SAVAGE!SAVAGE! SAVAGE!SAVAGE! SAVAGE!SAVAGE! SAVAGE!

BRC

Oh my kitten he did it

He finally did it

UT

The football loving fans and players of the Houston Texans hail glorious new quarterback Tom Savage as new leader of offense!

Luke

Is the last time we switched QBs mid-game other than injury the 2013 season when we swapped Schaub and Keenum in and out for a few quarters?

(Savage connects with Wendall Williams for 32 yards)

UT

HOT KITTEN, A DEEP PASS THAT ACTUALLY CONNECTED!

(to Luke) I'm pretty sure they switched Mallett in for Hoyer midway through the game at some point last year.

BFD

And Hoyer in for Mallett after the latter's "injury."

(Savage scrambles in the backfield, eluding multiple sack attempts)

UT

Tom, despite having the same number, you are not Russell Wilson.

Mike

And Savage already has more yards than Brock... wow...

Luke

Yo Chris Clark, stop being kitten and finish the kittening block.

UT

(to Mike) I laughed like Renfield when I saw that stat they put up.

Luke

(to Mike) The Jags’ defense has more yards than both combined.

(Akeem Hunt piles into the end zone and fumbles the ball)

UT

They're overturning this, aren't they?

Mike

(to Luke, unironically) Never tell me the odds... or stats...

Hunt's Holy Roller?

BFD

The call SHOULD be a fumble and recovery by Hunt. The Jaguars really blew a chance for the fumble recovery there.

Also, Akeem Hunt getting carries at the goal line over Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue? BILL O'BRIEN OFFENSIVE SUPERGENIUS strikes again.

(At fourth and goal on the half yard line for the Texans, Bill O’Brien calls a fade into the end zone that falls incomplete)

UT

And flashbacks of Super Bowl XLIX dance in my head.

RUN THE KITTENING BALL!

Mike

That was idiotic. "Hey, he's the best cornerback in the building, let's pick on him on 4th down..."

Vega

Great playcalling to pin the Jaguars deep.

BFD

QB without reps. 4th and half a yard. Of course it's a fade.

BILL O'BRIEN OFFENSIVE SUPERGENIUS strikes again. Well, at least it's better than a kittening field goal.

Luke

Underthrown a little but heck of a play by Ramsey.

Tim

That playcall was horrendous and entirely inexcusable.

Luke

Sippin’ from the chalice of Bill O'Brien is still sippin’ from the cup of bad playcalling.

(Texans on defense)

Mike

I thought McKinney had two for a second there...

(Jaguars punt out of own end zone, kicker goes down, multiple flags ensue)

UT

Well, the Jags are getting the ball back after that.

Great job special teams.

BFD

Whoever had "back" for what body part with Bort throw an interception off of almost cashed in.

(Referees rule the Texans get a safety after a penalty goes against the Jags in the end zone. Texans trail 13-2.)

Vega

Wooo. Special teams scoring points. No shutout!!

UT

If you were to run through all the possible outcomes that would've come from that play based on the number of flags thrown, the Texans getting a safety would've placed just ahead of "bear rides a unicycle onto the field."

Vega

A bear on a unicycle would be amazing right about now.

Tim

I am going to be angry about that last fourth down call for a long time. Beyond idiotic. I'd expect better from a Pop Warner coach.

Mike

Maybe they traded the all-field goal offense for the all-safety special teams. Just six more safeties and Houston will have the lead!

Vega

There you go, Mike. Join the positive patrol!

Luke

I don't think I've ever watched a more bizarre/anger-inducing game in my entire life.

UT

I know he's only made three throws so far but Savage is looking fairly competent, which is more than I've eve said about Osweiler.

Vega

Savage does throw a pretty ball.

Luke

Cool, he knows what to do when the Jags go cover 3.

Mike

Did the NFL pass a rule that all Texans spots should be -1.5 of the actual mark this year?

(Texans kick a field goal, Texans trail 13-5.)

BFD

This Jalen Ramsey kid is already good, and he's going to get much better.

MOAR FIELD GOALS.

UT

And of course, because BOB is devoid of male reproductive organs, we go for a field goal.

BFD

Even the Jags are like, "What the kitten? You aren't really kicking a field goal, are you?" And BOB's all like, "MOAR FIELD GOALS." And the Jags are like, "Wevs."

Luke

Yeah BFD, Jalen Ramsey's way too much fun to watch.

ALSO WHAT ARE YOU DOING BOB? GO FOR IT. KITTEN IT, IT'S A HALF A YARD>

UT

I think that because he went for it on fourth and goal with only half a yard needed for the TD, BOB is going to point to that from here to the end of time saying "See! This is why I should've gone for the field goal."

Vega

I think BOB called a fade on 4th down, but the players decided to just kick the field goal instead.

Halftime Thoughts:

UT

Is anybody else surprised that BOB actually pulled the trigger and put Savage in?

Not surprised in that Osweiler didn't deserve to be pulled (because he totally deserved it), but surprised that BOB went and did it?

BFD

BOB really seems to like failing with aggressive strategies so he can make that very excuse.

Capt Ron

I've been tied up all morning and just tuned in the radio a few mins before halftime to catch up. So let me get this straight: offensive play calling had been dreadful (real shocker there), there were a few fumbles, and Brock tossed two interceptions and was finally benched?

I'm glad I missed the first half, and now I'm intrigued to watch the second half to see how Savage does. He will have the same terrible plays called in by Dumb & Dumber, but maybe he can do more with it than Brock. I'm looking for a TV broadcast before the 3rd quarter starts.

BFD

Osweiler needed to be replaced after the bye week. Instead, BOB gave us the shrug emoji, evoked Alfred E. Neuman, and trotted Brock back out there. It was a significant missed opportunity for this team, and it took a full on Osweilerian meltdown to get Brock out of the game.

Am I surprised BOB finally pulled the trigger? Yes. He's also wasted a fantastic defensive season from the Texans so he could prove some pouty point by waiting so long.

Luke

At first, yeah I was surprised but thinking about it, it's totally in his wheelhouse. He's literally Al Davis in coaching form. It doesn't matter if he has to bench an entire team to do it, he'll find something to work that'll win him the game.

The problem here being is that he himself is part of the problem and he can't replace himself, so therefore his plan is fundamentally flawed.

Also those NFL ads about the Seahawks tackling are hilarious ''YES LOOK AT THIS BASTION OF CORRECT TACKLING PROCEDURE BY 1 OF OUR 32 TEAMS, NO DANGER OF CONCUSSIONS HERE''.

Third Quarter:

Luke

"Sometimes you just have to run it at their best defender."

I feel like you might come to regret that if you were to do it.

UT

Awright Savage, let's see how you do with a long field.

BRC

This is what a $17m quarterback looks like.

Weston

Everyone says they'll never forget where they were when JFK was assassinated or when the towers came down. I'll never forget where I was or what I was doing when I heard the news Brock Osweiler was benched for Tom Savage.

UT

(to Weston) Is this something you wish to share with the rest of the class?

Luke

I mean, calling a TO on 3rd and 16 seems a bit optimistic, right? I mean who cares if you give up another 5 yards. You're not going to get the 1st down anyway.

UT

Be reasonable, Luke. In Zeno's Paradox offense, he's getting eight yards there.

(Texans kick another field goal, trail 13-8.)

UT

GLORY TO ALL FIELD GOAL OFFENSE!

Mike

Third Coast Professional Kickball League scores!

BRC

Credit to Novak for making that kick. He doesn't look like a healthy man

(Marqise Lee runs a kickoff back 100 yards for the touchdown. Texans trail 20-8.)

UT

Ha. Haha. HahahahaHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

BRC

Nah ,just kitten my kitten up, Izzo

Weston

Hell yeah.

The only cool thing about this game is that next week doesn't matter and we get the AFC South ARMAGEDDON.

BFD

Osweiler goes Full Schaub. Special Teams unit goes Full Marciano in the second half.

We're now four field goals down!

Luke

Please keep Akeem Hunt on the team next year.

UT

This game is getting chippy.

Capt Ron

O'Brien would regain some respect from me if he also benched Izzo and Godsey.

BRC

Come on Savage, go lead this comeback.

BFD

The biggest difference between Savage and Os is Savage gives his receivers a chance to win.

Mike

Here's what I'm expecting:

Savage pulls a W outta this. He starts the rest of the season.

Savage can't bring it home, Brock back next week.

What do y'all think?

Capt Ron

Did I miss a rule change where the league rescinded the "no contact beyond five yards of the line of scrimmage?" The Houston receivers are getting mauled like they are going through TSA at the airport.

(Texans kick another field goal, now trail 20-11.)

UT

Only three field goals away!

Weston

I'm going to write a Tom Savage film room this week and end it with “LOL none of this means anything. It's been one game.”

Mike

Or 5 safeties!

UT

(to Mike) I suspect win or lose, we see Osweiler starting against the Bengals.

Mike

Bortles needs to throw that pick-six now...

Fourth Quarter:

BRC

Alfred Blue just killed a man with that block.

Hopkins looks like the Hopkins of last year with Savage back there.

UT

This must be our first of two good drives.

(Texans with another field goal, now behind only 20-14.)

UT

TWO MORE TO GO!!!

Luke

JUST KEEP THE SCOREBOARD TICKING OVER, BOYS !

BRC

10 straight passing plays?

What is this madness?

Luke

The mad part about it is that six of them were completions.

UT

Clowney TDLing all over these Jags.

BRC

Jadeveon, you are my hero

Mike

Bortles just threw a Hoyer playoff pass.

And,

Can we just put Clowney on ice now so he and J.J. can play together healthy next season?

BRC

COME ON SAVAGE, BE THE SAVIOUR.

UT

This is ideal field goal range!

Luke

TWO MORE FIELD GOALS, TWO MORE FIELD GOALS!

(Lamar Miller scores a touchdown! Texans now lead 21-20.)

Luke

WHAT DIS? A TOUCHDOWN YOU SAY?!?!?

BRC

SAVAGE, YOU KITTENING BEAUTY

Mike

First 300 yard passing game in over a year? Seriously, seriously sad. If I owned a team with that stat, I'd fire the offensive coordinator just so I could rehire him to fire him again.

BRC

Remember when we all hated Nick Novak?

The guy has earned a place my heart this last two weeks

Capt Ron

It's incredible how much officials let the defense get away with lately.

UT

I may need to see a doctor in four hours after that TD drive.

Capt Ron

Remind me next week to list him for the Balls thread. He's [carried this offense all KITTEN season].”

BRC

Blake, throw that pick-six man, throw it.

UT

I'll settle for an interception at this point.

Capt Ron

I'll settle for a sack.

UT

One more stop, Texans, c'mon, one more.

BRC

That was a good sequence of things to happen, a sack now would be a game winner

Looking at you again JD

(Jags turn the ball over on downs.)

BRC

THE NINJA!

Mike

Finally THE NINJA STRIKES!

(Texans on offense.)

UT

And Miller's hurt. STOP DYING, YOU COWARDS!

Luke

Please don't ruin this day by giving us the inevitable Lamar Miller injury we all knew would happen but hoped wouldn't.

BRC

Shane Lechler is game MVP confirmed.

(Blake Bortles finally throws an interception.)

Mike

Good pass, Blake. Well done (insert slow, sarcastic clapping)

UT

(to BRC) Over Nick Novak?!

BRC

Tom, enjoy this victory formation.

You deserve it.

Mike

Is that announcer really making tennis analogies?

Post-Game Thoughts

Capt Ron

Savage actually looked respectable out there. I'm completely comfortable putting Brock on special teams to see if he can block field goals and extra points for the rest of this season.

BRC

Luke, he was trying to make tennis analogies.

Key word being trying.

Hey! Let’s give out some game balls!

Offense: I don’t see how it can go to anyone other than Tom Savage. It’s the first time we’ve seen any kind of competent passing from the Texans all season. It’s also the only time this season the team has racked up over 300 passing yards. Coincidence? I think not.

Defense: This one’s easy too. Jadeveon Clowney was terrorizing the Jags in the backfield all day, finally showing us why he was taken first overall in 2014.

What do you think, Texans fans? Who gets the game balls? Is Tom Savage the answer or is it just one really good game against a really bad team? Let us know what you think!