In the 2018 NFL Draft, the Texans selected a little known water polo playing tight end from San Diego State in the third round. I had no idea who he was, or what he was about, since I barely have enough time in my life to watch only the NFL. Then I put the tape on. I was smitten from the very beginning. This tight end could make combo blocks and move the first level, his hands were extended and caught every pass that came his way, he was a monster when running crossing routes in the play action boot game, and, most importantly, he could stretch the seam.
Going back to last decade the Texans have had exactly one competent tight end. His name was Owen Daniels. The Wisconsin tight end was an incredible receiver, and was the team’s number two wide receiver for several years, until he joined with his former head coach Gary Kubiak and the devil himself, and won a Super Bowl in Denver, thanks to his his two enormous catches in the AFC Championship game against New England.
Garrett Graham was the Keyston Light version of him. C.J. Fiedorowicz was supposed to be a true all around tight end, but he couldn’t block, if anyone tells you otherwise they are a liar, and in the passing game all he did was run into the flat and get tackled seven yards short of the sticks. It’s a difficult position to learn. Concussions derailed his career before we could ever really see what he was about. Stephen Anderson was a crappy slot wide receiver; he wasn’t even a tight end. Ryan Griffin was tough, smart, and dependable, but was a limited athlete, and one of the worst blockers you’ll see at the position, which wasn’t bad for a former sixth round pick. Darren Fells caught a lot of touchdowns, a lot of drag and flat routes, but couldn’t block, and has seen his touchdown numbers drop in a span of a season. Jordan Akins is a yards after the catch monster, has a lovely relationship with Deshaun Watson when he rolls out of the pocket, but he can’t block, and is already 37 years old. Pharoah Brown is the best blocking tight end in Texans franchise history, but can’t do much in the passing game. It’s been a miserable decade from this position for this football team.
Unlike this trebuchet that hurled rotting carcasses across the football field, Kahale Warring offered some glimmer of hope as a tight end who could produce in every way a tight end needs to, while showcasing a beautiful smile, and biceps that can get anyone off the couch to fulfill their New Year goals.
He spent the entirety of last season on injured reserve for being too HOT and too COOL and making it impossible for Bill O’Brien to coach, because he was constantly flustered by how beautiful Kahale was, and he probably didn’t know the playbook, because reading is for dorks and nerds, and there are too many babes in the world, too many curls to do, too much protein powder to drink, shots to take and frozen pizzas to bake, to sit around and read. The ‘C’ gap is for losers. Running angelic post routes and spiking the football to create divots in the turf are what actually does.
This season he was active week one. He played zero snaps. And was moved to the IR again. Then he rose from the tomb. He was activated against Detroit. Sideline bicep shots that make your heart pound. A really cool half sleeve protecting his forearm. Towel attached to his belt that flies like a kite as he runs. Playing Where’s Kahale (?) on every snap. He’s been stealing our hearts ever since.
Yesterday he caught two passes. One was a nifty out route from the tight end position. He ran over the first level of the defense and curled out to the sideline to make the catch. First down. Pop the champagne. Jam a key into the side of a Bud Light Platinum seltzer. It’s party time.
The second was even more beautiful and grander. In 11 personnel he was the tight end lined up adjacent to left tackle Laremy Tunsil. This time he ran a post route. He galloped past the first level. He sprinted away from the man-match cornerback Xavier Rhodes. Denico Autry in Deshaun Watson’s face. A cute little jump pass. The ball flying high and wonderful into his extended hands. Carrying the tiny cornerback past the 30 yard line. A long enriching huff of his finger guess what I did last night to signal the first down.
For years I envisioned what it would look like once Kahale Warring made it to the field, and made catches and plays like he made yesterday. I did more than think about it. I could see it. I could feel it. The actual reality of it is even more beautiful and spectacular than the hyper idealized version of it I had in my mind.
Kahale had the first two catches of his career yesterday, each one is sublime, and the lesson is as true as ever: reality is always more wonderful than the things we imagine it to be.
GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME:
Coming into this game, I didn’t have a lot of hope that the Texans would:
A.) Keep it competitive
B.) Actually fight to the bitter end, especially if they fell behind early
C.) Manage to play an entertaining game.
Consider me wrong on all accounts. When the Colts jumped up 14-0 and were doing whatever they wanted against the Texans whenever they wanted, I had a feeling that we might have looked fondly upon their performance against Chicago. That did not turn out to be the case. The Texans actually decided to show some pride and fight back. Deshaun Watson proved that he is one of the best in the business. David Johnson was an overall weapon, especially in the passing game and the defense, which wasn’t perfect, did just enough to keep the team in the game. The fact that the Texans fumbled again on the last offensive snap at the 2 yard line seems appropriate for this team, but I wasn’t mad. I found it entertaining, the way that any long-time Houston sports fan would be in the creative way the team lost the game. I was laughing out loud at the end. Such is life as a Texans fan.
If I was a Colts fan, this game should both infuriate and concern me. The Texans are not a good team, and when the Colts jumped out early in the game, it felt like they started to get a little too cute. That it came down to the final two minutes and a last second fumble recovery in the end zone is bad news for a team with aspirations of winning a division championship and making noise in the playoffs. Also, they all but ignored T.Y. Hilton until it was nearly too late. Hilton has made a career as a Texans killer. His 4th quarter reception that put the Colts on the 3 yard line was the play of the game. Still, the Colts should have put this game away long before that play.
I don’t know what to make of the Texans for the end of the season. Perhaps they win the next two, perhaps they lose out. It makes no difference what they do on the field, especially they have assured Miami two quality spots for the 2021 draft. The bigger game, and far more important, is what will happen outside the painted lines. Who will they hire as general manager is the biggest game left to play for the team.
This will have significant bearing on the next head coach, free agency and the course of the next couple of drafts. This is a critical time for the franchise. Score a touchdown on the GM position, and the 2020 season is an aberration. Whiff on the GM hire, and the future, even with Watson under contract, looks very, very bleak.
THEY WILL DO IT AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN:
Just when you thought the Texans have lost in the dumbest fashion possible, they come up with a way to out dumb even the dumbest thing the world has ever seen.— Matt Weston (@Matt__Weston) December 20, 2020
God bless our favorite football team.
The Texans don’t care and neither do I.
LIVE FROM INDY:
If I drink enough over the holidays, can I hallucinate that Kyler Murray is Deshaun Watson and that the Cardinals are the Texans? That’s what we’re about to find out.
Deshaun Watson: "I'm not going to lose my spirits in this organization and what we can do. My confidence in my level of play and leadership is going to continue to grow ... nobody wants this to happen but you gotta go through tough times before you get to the brighter ones." pic.twitter.com/SRcvDaBMj0— Rivers McCown (@riversmccown) December 20, 2020
If the Texans are a Divine Comedy, Keke Coutee is the Inferno. I stayed up all night replaying that 4th down play, hoping that otherworldly forces would eventually cast me onto a different plane where Coutee held onto the football and scored a touchdown.
It never happened, and all I got from Hell was this stupid t-shirt.
THE BAD THING IS STILL BAD BUT NOT AS BAD AS THIS:
Remember when Texans fans complained that Bill O'Brien could just win the division and maybe a wild card game and nothing more? That was last season. Winning the AFC South again would look pretty good compared to this pathetic performance.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) December 20, 2020
Keke Coutee. Poor kid. He’s got to be reeling right now. That was his opportunity to elevate himself and drive home the point to the new staff next year that he belongs.
This defense is atrocious. Top to bottom, the only good player is Zach Cunningham. Without him this defense would go from second to last to last. Imagine thinking that we’d have the 31st defense in the league heading into the season...you could imagine it, but you wouldn’t believe it.
The fact that this team is even competitive in these games (excluding the Bears game) is all due to Deshaun.
CLICK, CLICK, BOOM: