At what point do you say its over, and finally move on?
Is it when the shoulder and arm tied together my sinew and ligaments deteriorates and the ball arrives to the sideline panting, exhausted, with labored breath, only to fall softly in front of the receiver, or out bounds, in fear of being intercepted, and ending up like the Matt on the bench watching?
Is it when the hits become too much, the clattering of 345 pound men smashing and squishing guts, this is what drowning feels like, and any sight of different color escaping through your own fleshy fence sends you scrambling right, the consistency of water through a flat land, attempting to pick up the mandatory five yards, and do things impossible to do five years ago, because you don’t want to be plopped on by a shaken vending machine again?
Is it when the carrying of everything becomes too overwhelming and exhausting all at once, and you bellow for someone else do everything for once, desiring to be a bit player, a supporter, instead of the lead?
Matt Ryan is 34 years old. He was spectacular last season. The Falcons, with an injured defense, and a run game splattered by injuries and an offensive line broken by attrition, relied on him to do everything. He was the sole creator. Everything went through him. Ryan threw 608 passes. Atlanta attempted the 5th most passes, Matt Schaub threw 7, Mohamed Sanu threw 2. He threw 35 touchdowns to 7 interceptions and completed almost 70% of them. They ran the ball 351 times, 30th. They allowed 26.4 points a game, 25th. The Falcons won 7 games.
This season is just like last season. The defense is terrible after Keanu Neal’s Achilles snap. The secondary doesn’t know who to cover. The pass rush is nonexistent aside from Grady Jarrett. The Falcons are fast, they’re young, they’re multidimensional, it’s always bad. Devonta Freeman can only run in straight lines. He makes Frank Gore look like a TikTok star, Fortnight gesturing, airpods in, covered in neon. James Carpernter and Jamon Brown were terrible signings this summer, and its been even worse than it was imagined way back over there. Chris Lindstrom broke his foot. Kaleb McGary has been kind of crappy as a run blocker. It’s all on Ryan again. He’s attempted 222 passes, tied first with Jared Goff.
The difference is Ryan hasn’t been up for it this season. Unlike last year, when he was a top quarterback if you don’t look at the record, Ryan has been pitiful to watch. If you feel anything still, it’s impossible to not feel bad for him, laboring to the right, no one open, and deathbed wheezing to try and make something happen outside the structure. The ball placement isn’t there. Toasty defenders play the ball when they shouldn’t be. He isn’t throwing the ball +20 yards. Living from zero to fifteen. Somehow, Julio Jones, is the 50th ranked receiver in every vital category.
It’s all so exhausting to watch. The wrinkles at the side of his mouth are stretching to his chin with each pass attempt, like some fleshy gothic flower in the sun. His screams are louder. His elbow pops when he extends it. The internal dialogue grows more and more maddening, and the external dialogue questioning “It’s tough to find positives when you aren’t getting results.”
The cold brutal numbers say quarterbacks peak at 31 and tend to drop off from there. The curve probably needs to shift to the right with so many of those mid 2000s stalwarts still playing, and playing pretty well, but even then, they are starting to disappear: Eli Manning becomes Daniel Jones, Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees are injured and mentoring backups, Tom Brady doesn’t have a soul protected in some invisible concrete sheen that allows him to walk in the day, and others, like Tony Romo and Peyton Manning, have already have enough.
In this NFL setting it shouldn’t be the end for Ryan. The rules, superfood smoothies, hyperbolic sleep, and an understanding of the skeleton, have elongated careers. There should be more seasons of above average play until he’s taken to the backup quarterback farm upstate. His brain works. Philip Rivers shows intelligence and tenacity can pull the arm past its limitations and make up for what used to be. If he complemented a talented and complete team, where he only had to do enough, maybe then, he could resuscitate those 28-3 nightmares and brandish sword and football and take them on again. This season isn’t it. The Falcons, an old expensive sock, probably isn’t the city for him if things were to get better. It would be time to torch everything if Arthur Blank had more of it.
Denver is nice. The cold sucks, but seasons are cool. Tampa Bay and Tennessee may want someone who has proved they can do it. Miami could use a young quarterback groomer again next season. Things may get dramatic in Chicago. There could be other new opportunities out there. And if not, being a backup sounds nice. Just ask the other Matt. He looks so much happier nowadays. Competitive spirit can be quenched with a change of attitude.
It’s getting clearer and clearer and clearer, last season wasn’t an aberration, it’s the norm, and it should be time to move on.
Shut Up And Play The Hits:
So at what point are we allowed to say Deshaun Watson is a top five quarterback without the masses coming at our throats? He has been better than Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz, Lamar Jackson, Dak Prescott, dare I say... Tom Brady?
Outside of Mahomes and Wilson, I’m not sure any quarterback has been better.
Point number two, I said a few weeks ago the Texans need more Will Fuller. They got it. He is so electric and his role is perfect when defenses have to zone in on Hopkins. If you miss a step, you’re burned. We saw that on his last touchdown. He also had two more catches where he was stopped at the 1 yard line. He could have legitimately had five touchdowns.
I liked the commitment to the run game. The Texans controlled the ball and wore the Falcons defense down. It wasn’t any complex formula, but they executed it perfectly.
The game had a little hint of “Here we go” on it, in reference to the muffed punt and letting the Falcons get points late. This game was a blowout and should have been even more of one. Mistakes like that will be costly against better competition.
Last point, it is amazing what happens when the offensive line gives protection, isn’t it?
Let’s not get too caught up with this game though. The Chiefs are next week and that needs to be their focus after today.
BIG PLAY MINGO:
The last two games are exactly why Bill O’Brien has so many haters: the Texans should look like this every week, not just once a season.
Deshaun Watson looked simply incredible today. The game plan was a pretty massive change from the first four games as the scheme forced Watson to get the ball out. Additionally, for the first time ever, it seemed like the offensive coordinator actually wanted to score a lot of points. Good things happen when Watson’s peacock soars.
That said, this was a rare great match-up for the Texans’ offensive line. Only Grady Jarrett is a consistent threat to get to the QB, and Watson is just too fast for him as we saw multiple times today. The Falcons’ secondary also leaves much to be desired.
Also, it was weird playing our mirror offense. Why Atlanta kept trying to establish the run was incredibly confusing. It was nice, however, to not be the team playing stupid football.
I Love What You Did With The Place:
Will Fuller was effective at all levels of the field, finishing with 3 deep receptions for 109 yards & 2 TD on targets of 20+ air yards.@Will_Fuller7 accounted for 49% of team yards (136), averaging 4.0 yards of separation when targeted.#ATLvsHOU | #WeAreTexans pic.twitter.com/fiZcu8lvrZ— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) October 6, 2019
I’m Not, But You Are Probably Into This Sort Of Thing:
This is the sort of game the Texans should be putting out there 10-12 times a season, not once a year. Deshaun Watson throws a perfect 158.3 rating, Will Fuller lights the opposing defense on fire. If J.J. Watt had racked up a few sacks instead of one and Whitney Mercilus contributed a few more, this might have been the single best outing under Bill O’Brien. Where was this offense when the Texans lost to Carolina? Or last year int he wild card round? When will we see this again? Hopefully soon...
Remember Oakland 2014?
Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson pic.twitter.com/ZBG8dcGte1— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) October 6, 2019
Everyone else has already said it but it’s worth repeating over and over again until all Texan fans understand it. The Texans should be doing this multiple games a year. DESHAUN WATSON IS A CHEAT CODE and Bill O’Brien better figure out how to unlock him every week.
I’ve been saying for weeks that Will Fuller is the key to this offense by providing a deep presence and forcing defense’s to account for him. This week, he made me look good for all the praise I’ve heaped on him. This is the type of game and offense I expect the Texans to be capable of playing every week. I’m pretty pumped but I’ll be even happier once Nuk starts showing up consistently as well.
Even though we played the Falcons who are terrible, this game served as a warning of sorts to the other teams in the AFC. If BOB decides to hit “up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A” before a game, then the Texans can play with anyone in the league.