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Incompletions: Texans-Cowboys (Be The Cowboy)

With so much to write and talk about after every game, and not enough time for one person to write about it all, the masthead joins together and writes about the TEXAS-TEXAS-TEXAS-TEXAS Bowl.

Dallas Cowboys v Houston Texans Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Matt Weston:

Whenever you meet an alien or go to a new land and different place outside these man fabricated boundaries, as a TEXAN, it’s a civic duty to talk up this errant southern sore protruding out in the center of the country. Oh, it’s the best place in the world, you have to go sometime. If you enjoy the heat the weather is great, the sky lasts forever, everyone is friendly, the landscape is diverse and offers a bit of everything; hills in the center, plains in the north, mountains and desert in the west, beaches, and swamps and big trees in the east, the people are a stew of brazen audacity brewed from all those people who left all those other places to come here, and football, football in Texas is unlike sport anywhere else. Take hockey in Canada, soccer in Brazil, or I don’t know, cross country skiing in Switzerland, and magnify it.

Now I don’t necessarily know any of this is to be absolutely true. TEXAS is a fine place to live. It’s inexpensive, the people who gave me these bones live around here, I love the heat and can tolerate three months of grey inconvenience, but is it any better to always be here then say, California, or New York, or Montana, or Washington, or Virginia, I don’t know. Every place gives and it takes. Here, I feel nothing more than content, but this fabricated idea of what TEXAS is, bold and independent, superior and enormous, has to be communicated to the rest of the world at every opportunity. It’s an obligation of citizenship.

This past weekend TEXAS was the cultural center of the football playing world. The state fair was wrapped its fried fingers around the Cotton Bowl in Texas’s win over Oklahoma. And last night, Sunday Night Football broadcasted the TEXAS-TEXAS-TEXAS-TEXAS Bowl. The highest rated show on television was inside this red white and blue, silver and gray place. The sidelines were ordained with men in cowboy hats. The crowd was hellacious. “Now AL,” even sounded like it came out with a twang. A spectacle occurring every four years to showcase that yes, people from TEXAS, really do love football.

It was rough and tough like the idea the state permeates about itself. Ezekiel Elliot hobbled around after Kareem Jackson sliced his legs off. Deshaun Watson lowered his shoulder three times to cross the line in the sand only to splatter in a symphony of helmets and shoulder pads. Joel Heath suplexed DeAndre Hopkins at the goal line. Dak Prescott wrangled out of sacks after J.J. Watt swam and Jadeveon Clowney ripped inside of a creaky Tyron Smith, and Prescott did it with brute strength and TEXAS fortitude, not because penalties have neutered defenders and forced them to pick sides instead of hit players head up. It was hard fought and exhausting. A gladiator fight. Football like this can’t be found anywhere else.

Now, I don’t know if this is true. This game wasn’t anymore ruthless and interesting or better played than any other football game. Each side deserved to lose, each coach confused and tic-tac-toeing his way into what was expected to be a draw. Slightly more talent, and Hopkins hitting the circle button, closed the borders to manifest destiny, and Houston won, kind of sort of saving its season once again. But what’s important here isn’t who won or lost, and what the standings now show, it’s that the idea of what TEXAS is and TEXAS football is, was aired by Al and Chris, and shown with bruises and hoarse voices and brutal faces, stayed close and interesting throughout, end ended in some myth creating way that can be stretched out forever into legendary campfire hyperbole.


You ever watch one of those pimple-popping videos on YouTube?

This game was like watching the nastiest one of those you can imagine, but in super slo-mo.


We haven’t mastered the all field goal offense until we score 28 points by means of one touchdown and seven field goals. I hereby name this work of staggering offense mastery the O’Brien.

We will not rest until we achieve the exalted O’Brien!

Mike Bullock:

When you go into someone else’s house and try to beat them at their own game, you better be ready to bring it and bring it next level. Well, when that house is NRG and the game is the All-Field Goal Offense, defined by terrible play calling, apparently no one beats Bill O’Brien.

Hard to believe that Houston is now 23-1 under B’OB when leading at halftime.

Even harder to believe that there are not one, but two teams in the NFL that got beat by the AFGO in consecutive weeks. Imagine what this team could do with better play calling.

Diehard Chris:

Well that was stupid, ugly, and maddening, but the GREATNESS of DeAndre Hopkins near the end of the overtime period ultimately gave us an exhilarating finish.

The Texans’ defense keyed in on Zeke Elliott and contained him about as well as you can realistically expect. Of course Houston is fortunate that the Cowboys don’t have much in the realm of a passing attack or plus-talent receiving options. So they did what they needed to do to win this specific game. There were still some infuriating lapses in the secondary but it (barely) got the job done.

On offense, this is a tough one to evaluate. The Texans were GREAT with the passing attack between the 20s. Actually, between the 5s. They basically OWNED 90 yards of the field but then lit themselves on fire in the goal-to-go game. I’m not sure what to make of this. I think if you say this is a constant problem for this version of the Texans, you are reacting as someone who has suffered the mental anguish of being a Texans fan. In truth, the goal line offense hasn’t been terrible with Watson at the helm last year and after week three of this year when O’Brien figured out he should go back to what was working last season. So it was SUPER ugly and terrible last night, but you have to give the Cowboys some credit in that respect.

Sure, O’Brien knows he can’t trust his offensive line, but hell - if you start every drive between the 20s with a run up the gut to continually set yourself up for 2nd and long, why not also try to run it up the gut at least once when you’re at the goal line??? Alfred Blue is not a plus RB, but he is an NFL RB - give him and the line at least ONE chance to score in that scenario.

It was ugly, but the team survived and here we are with another winnable game coming up in week six... assuming they don’t discover this week that Deshaun Watson’s sternum is now lodged inside one of his lungs.


20. 17. 22. 23. 19.

That’s the Houston Texans offensive output in their five games this season with Deshaun Watson under center. It seems that the only thing Brain O’Brain is worse at than head coach is offensive coordinator. That’s 13 field goals and nine (9) touchdowns for the offense. That’s beyond pathetic.

The Texans are field goaling their way toward another 9-7 or 8-8 season, and we’ll be stuck with the worst head coach and offensive coordinator in football for another season. But, hey, we’ll still have those valuable two yard challenges.