Football isn’t a contact sport. It’s a collision sport. No matter how much the NFL tries to make the game safe by limiting head-to-head hits, blindside blocks, and punishment that isn’t required to play the game, football will always be a violent, physical affair. Nothing can change that. It’s what makes football football.
For today’s GroupThink, the masthead gathered around and discussed their favorite hits in Texans history.
In 2012, both the Texans and the Bears started the season 7-1. Houston suffered a loss to Green Bay earlier that season on Sunday Night Football and were making another prime time appearance against a NFC North team.
In prior seasons, the Texans were known as a mentally weak team. They would play well when the going was good, but they would fold under pressure and didn’t have the toughness to take on physical football teams like the Chicago Bears. Poor gang tackling. Late game miscues. Bad run defenses. December misery. “Typical Texans” was the narrative.
All that changed in one play on a Sunday night. On Chicago’s first drive, Jay Cutler dumped the ball off to Kellen Moore and former Bear Danieal Mannin, caught him under the chin and pile drove him into the metaphorical grave immediately after the catch was made. Goodbye, soul. Tim Dobbins scooped up the fumble for a modest return. Houston would get three points after the fumble recovery and go on to win 13-6, winning a game they typically didn’t win.
After this hit, after this game, the narrative was torched and tossed away. These weren’t the typical Texans. It was an entirely different team. Well, at least it was until Matt Schaub’s arm fell off.
It was Sunday, September 29, 2013. The Texans were up 14-3 with 6:11 remaining in the second quarter. Brian Cushing shellacked Marshawn Lynch with a perfect form tackle that caused a fumble that the Texans recovered. Houston would notch a field goal out of that, force a punt, score another field goal, and were up 20-3 at halftime. Then Matt Schaub surrendered another one of a plethora of pick-sixes in that miserable 2-14 season. The Texans would go on to lose in overtime 23-20.
Is there any positive or fun history of this bloody franchise that isn’t equally mired by pain and misery?
Here’s what I can (partially) remember. Not so much of a hit as a lack of a hit. The victim was Chance Warmack. I believe the game was in Nashville and leading up to said game, Warmack was talking about how J.J. Watt is nothing special, how he was “just a guy”. This of course was in Watt’s prime, which is the single most incredible prime of any player I’ve ever witnessed.
The Titans had just scored a touchdown and lined up for a two-point conversion. At the snap, these two 300-pound men were lined up inches across from each other. SOMEHOW when Watt unleashed his greatness, it spun Warmack like a top and despite their close proximity, they barely touched each other - if at all. Watt embarrassed Warmack and obliterated the play on the way to, for my money, the sweetest of all Texans wins - a win in Nashville.
I would add the time Mario Williams ragdolled Jamal Lewis. Sure, it was the Browns, but I jumped way the hell out of my seat on that one.
I know this might not necessarily qualify, but does Andre Johnson demolishing Cortland Finnegan count?
It sure does.
When Jadeveon Clowney blew up the Falcons running back on back to back plays (I think it was preseason?) that looked just like his infamous hit in college.
And when J.J. Watt speared the offensive lineman when the opposition was doing the whole pitch the ball all over at the end of the game thing.
What say you? What was your favorite hit in franchise history?