clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Hair of the Dog: Cleveland Browns @ Houston Texans

Wait? A playoff game...in Houston...with the Texans overcoming the Browns? Oh, [KITTEN] yeah!!!!

NFL: JAN 13 AFC Wild Card - Browns at Texans Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Let’s be honest. How many of all y’all Houston Texans fans pictured that Houston would hosting a playoff game (even in its NFL-mandated Saturday afternoon slot) at the start of the 2023-24 season? I, for one, did not. Figured they would be better than what they showed the previous three seasons, but I really could not, even in the best-case scenario, see Houston winning its seventh division title and hosting the Cleveland Browns. That being said, you will get no complaints from me. Especially after Houston unleashed its biggest beatdown (31 point win) in the franchise’s playoff history.

It was quite the game. The offense led the way in the first half, with C.J. Stroud setting the rookie record for passing yards in a half from a QB (236 yards), and tying the NFL rookie record for TD passes in a half (three). They left some points on the board (see the curious playcalling in the Texans first red-zone trip and Stroud missing a wide-open Collins on a third down pass that should have been a TD). Still, a 24-14 lead was nice. Then the third quarter belonged to the Most Interesting Defense in the World. They saw Cleveland dominate the quarter in time of possession, plays runs and yardage gained. Yet, they also contributed to swelling the lead from 10 to 24. Consecutive pick-sixes on back-to-back possessions will do that. Throw in the Singletary fourth quarter TD, and this game was such a laugher that Davis Mills came in for clean-up duty in the fourth quarter.

As always, your Battle Red Blog Masthead had their real-time takes on this playoff matchup. Given that this was the first playoff game in four years, a generous amount of not-quite-suitable language was used. In classic HOTD tradition, we edited that language out for viewing at the office or a more professional setting.

With that, on with the ‘Dog:

HAIR OF THE DOG SUPER WILD CARD WEEK: CLEVELAND BROWNS @ HOUSTON TEXANS (Wait, did you say “Texans” and “Super Wild Card Weekend” in the same sentence, and really meant it??? You’re [KITTEN] right I did!!”)

vballretired

Ladies and gentlemen we are playing with house money. Not only do you get a bonus football game but you get a bonus day to recover from the extra vibations #Bartesian can make for you during this one. We might even need to add a sponsor for good hangover remedies. Maybe #Bartesian can lend a hand there as well. Either way this will be a great day. Enjoy Texans fans. You’ve been waiting awhile for this one.

FizzyJoe

Today is the big day. Today, the Texans will suit up for a playoff game just a year after having the 2nd overall pick. CJ Stroud and DeMeco Ryans have already smashed plenty of records, but today they can make history and force every NFL fan to either love them or hate them. This is the game the Texans can make a permanent mark on millions of viewers worldwide. This has already been a historical season, but a playoff win would cement them as one a team for the ages

vballretired

Well let’s be completely honest. The Jaguars were in the exact same position last season. They had the number one overall pick and then won the division. They won a wild wild card game and gave the Chiefs all they wanted in the divisional round. We saw what happened to them this year. I don’t say all this to be a Debbie downer, but we need to keep things in perspective. Competent coaching and good quarterback play can cover a lot of warts. The key will be what happens from here. Today starts the harder work. Getting to the playoffs is hard. Staying there and advancing is harder. I have faith in DeMeco and C.J. And that goes a long way.

FizzyJoe

I have faith in them too, which is why I have more trust in them than that jaguars team. I think Stroud has already shown he can be better than Trevor Lawrence, I don’t think the Texans have had to make a 25 point comeback or whatever the deficit was last year. I feel like this year was a baseline for the Texans. Whereas the 2022 Jags had a 2nd year quarterback, spent heavy on offense, and had a coach experienced in the playoffs. I think the fact that this team is already approaching the level of success that Jags team had last year bodes very well for our future

vballretired

True. Let’s just be very fair. Every year one of the divisions has a team go worst to first. It could very well be the Chargers next year depending on who they get to coach them. For me, that means two things. First, you capitalize on the opportunities when you get them. There is no guarantee of tomorrow. In the NBA and MLB teams usually have a three to five year window. The Astros have had a longer one. The Warriors have had a longer one. The NFL doesn’t operate the same way. That brings us to the second point. How you take advantage of Strouds rookie deal is paramount. They have 75-90 million (depending on potential cuts) to spend. How they do this is huge. I don’t have quite the faith in Caserio that I have in Ryans. His record is more hit and miss. We will see.

Patrick

I’m about to head down to the stadium.

l4blitzer

NFL is going to give the NBA a complex. First, the NFL crushes the NBA Xmas lineup, now due to wx, the NFL playoff doubleheader will overshadow the NBA’s MLK matchups

vballretired

No kidding. The NFL is king. Now, Fubo is going up six bucks a month

FizzyJoe

You’re going to the game, Patrick!

You gotta let us know what it’s like!

It’s gonna be wild

vballretired

Hmmmmm

Patrick

The line at the merch store.

My chariot for today.

vballretired

Holy Birmingham

Patrick

We’re so back y’all.

vballretired

It’s party time

Tailgating must be off the chain

Kenneth L.

LETS GOOOOO

boys, it’s time

Patrick you’re there early

Patrick

I’ve been here since almost noon.

Kenneth L.

[KITTEN] yeah

Patrick

This is easily the loudest I’ve heard this stadium all season and it’s only starting to fill up. Guess the traitor Deshaun Watson will help with that.

Kenneth L.

I’m pacing in my apartment

l4blitzer

Say what you will about the guys on NBC, but don’t envy their gig tonight in Kansas City. That’s going to be a special kind of painful cold.

FizzyJoe

ITS ALMOST TIME!!!

l4blitzer

Fairly split for all the picks…sounds about right. This game has a “flip-a-coin-to-pick-a-winner” vibe.

Sounds loud as all get out. The commentators seem like they are having to yell just to be heard.

Patrick

The stadium looks really full. Maybe we’re believers this time.

FizzyJoe

let’s go!!! that’s good to hear

it sure looks full!

Patrick

Texans win toss will defer.

FizzyJoe

here we go!

FIRST QUARTER

CLE POSSESSION

FizzyJoe

Let’s see some good plays from stingley and cashman to get the game started!

Patrick

SHOOOOOOOOOOWTIIIIIIIIIIIIME!!!!!

l4blitzer

Let’s see if the defense can do better on this drive vs. the 1st drive on Xmas Eve

FizzyJoe

alright well

l4blitzer

Great…another defensive injury to start…

FizzyJoe

Rankins going off

l4blitzer

Wonder if Cleveland will go with quicker passes since Greenard and Anderson are back today.

FizzyJoe

PERRYMAN!!!

l4blitzer

Perryman with a torpedo of a TFL

Very nice 3rd down pressure

FizzyJoe

WOOOOOO

They’re in the game now!

l4blitzer

Greenard treated the Right Tackle like a mere tackling dummy

Kenneth L.

YOUR GOING THE WRONG WAY

vballretired

There you go

l4blitzer

If he had blocked that…I would have heard the roar from here in Maryland

HOU POSSESSION

FizzyJoe

It’s stroud time!

NICOOOO

l4blitzer

NRG Nico…yes please

Schultz…you aren’t with the Cowboys for the playoffs…gotta catch that

FizzyJoe

oh shoot

well at least its happening at the beginning of the game instead of later

Kenneth L.

CMON

Dalton you gotta haul that in

l4blitzer

Cleveland with a gift…thank you

FizzyJoe

wooooo!!!!

thank you very much

Kenneth L.

Woot

vballretired

All penalty offense

l4blitzer

Stroud got away with that one.

Patrick

[KITTEN] Schultz should have had that.

Kenneth L.

No one was open

CLE POSSESSION

FizzyJoe

alright good special teams play!

l4blitzer

The punt returner made a dumb call there. Should have fair caught that…

But if Cleveland wants to take the lead in dumb plays, I won’t stop them

Patrick

I like what the defense is showing early, they’re amped.

l4blitzer

Should that be an illegal touch?

FizzyJoe

alright, great pressure by perryman

l4blitzer

Never mind…it hit the ground first

King with the solid tackle. Houston needs to limit those broken tackles today

FizzyJoe

this defense is COOKINGGGG

vballretired

Make them punt

HOU POSSESSION

Patrick

Terrific field position to start.

l4blitzer

Horrid punt for Cleveland

FizzyJoe

Oh wow are you right about that

fantastic field position

l4blitzer

Smart throw by Stroud…no dumb play today, please Houston

Patrick

CHUM

l4blitzer

If they get inside the 40, might be worth going for it

FizzyJoe

you got to see a CHUM in person, patrick!

Patrick

WOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

FizzyJoe

nothing like giving stored 3rd and 7

Patrick

Nico [DURGA][KITTEN] Collins.

l4blitzer

Or you can do that to Nico

FizzyJoe

OH MY [DURGA]!!!!

AAAAA

l4blitzer

And Cleveland got the hit before he could step all the way in to the throw

Kenneth L.

Wild ball

Great throw

Patrick

Timeout already for Houston.

l4blitzer

Was it a play clock, or something else?

Patrick

Wrong personnel is my guess.

l4blitzer

Fair enough…it is the 1st half

Patrick

Stroud being awful loose with the ball early.

FizzyJoe

well that wasn’t so hot

l4blitzer

Ummm…letting Garrett go unblocked…yeah, let’s not outsmart ourselves, shall we Slowik?

Not quite liking the Stroud keeper there…would like to limit those hits

Kenneth L.

Weird call on 2nd too

Patrick

Argh!

l4blitzer

Good coverage by the Browns

FizzyJoe

shoot!

dang it!!! ugh

l4blitzer

Eh, take the early points

Patrick

I was two yards away from hitting my most unlikely prop bet today.

FAIRBAIRN WITH THE 21 YD FG: HOU 3 - CLE 0; 5:29, 1st

Kenneth L.

That was a fairly good stonewall red zone defense

vballretired

This will be nip and tuck

l4blitzer

We all know the rules. Houston will be in a battle royal, with the game coming down to the final 2 minutes, with Cleveland driving on the Houston defense, and Cleveland getting inside the HOU 25, with Houston holding on for dear life with the lead.

vballretired

Indeed

CLE POSSESSION

FizzyJoe

NOOOO

l4blitzer

What is it with the Flacco/Njoku connection?

Kenneth L.

Steven Nelson sucks

Patrick

[KIIITTTTTEEEENNNN].

WHAT THE [KITTEN] REF THAT WAS HOLDING.

l4blitzer

Some sort of coverage gap there.

FizzyJoe

5 got spooked by njoku and stopped rushing flacco

l4blitzer

Of course, it would be super funny if Flacco rushed for the 1st down there

FizzyJoe

oh man that was too close

texans defense really on their heels

l4blitzer

time to test that bend-but-don’t break D on the goal-line

FizzyJoe

alright!

Patrick

Ooookay, still plenty of time.

Kenneth L.

Welp

Game on

FizzyJoe

shoot

HUNT WITH THE 1 YD TD RUN: CLE 7 - HOU 3; 2:09, 1st

FizzyJoe

it was gonna happen eventually

l4blitzer

Trailing in the 1st quarter…this is also part of the script

HOU POSSESSION

FizzyJoe

Stroud MVP sleeper activated

Patrick

SINGLETARY!!

l4blitzer

That’ll really work

Looked like it was almost a horse-collar there

FizzyJoe

SINGLETARY!!!!

l4blitzer

Metchie with the best catch of his career in the NFL

FizzyJoe

OH MY GOODNESS!!!

Patrick

Oh we’re pulling out ALL the stops.

l4blitzer

Did Nico just truck a LB?

Patrick

TOUCHDOWN COLLINS!!!

FizzyJoe

AAAAA

COLLINS!!!!!

STROUD WTH THE 15 YD TD PASS TO COLLINS: CLE 7 - HOU 10; 0:11, 1st

vballretired

No whammies no whammies no whammies

l4blitzer

Is Tunsil hurt?

Patrick

Oh [KITTEN].

FizzyJoe

something is up with tunsil

vballretired

[KITTEN]

Kenneth L.

Ugh is Tunsil hurt?

l4blitzer

Jones rolled into Tunsil’s leg…that sssssuuuuucccckkkkkkssss

Patrick

He’s walking off on his own at least.

Kenneth L.

That’s a meniscus

Patrick

Yeah he’s probably done today.

l4blitzer

All the same, there better be a TE, or 2, lined up next to the backup LT

FizzyJoe

oh thank goodness he’s up

Kenneth L.

My roommate: give him a Torodol shot

Patrick

Thank you Dr. Kenneth’s roommate.

l4blitzer

Why is Heck sporting what looks like an “Adolf” mustache?

CLE POSSESSION

FizzyJoe

here we go

Patrick

[KITTEN] play defense in the secondary I beg you!

FizzyJoe

oh my [DURGA]

l4blitzer

What is it with these TEs exploiting the middle of the defensive secondary? Stingley can’t cover everyone!

Kenneth L.

We need to draft a safety

FizzyJoe

absolutely

END OF THE 1st: HOU 10 - CLE 7…BUT THE BROWNS ARE IN SCORING POSITION…AGAIN

FizzyJoe

i think we’re officially off to the races

Patrick

The lack of Jimmie Ward is really showing.

And do we need to talk about Jalen Pitre?

l4blitzer

Pitre seems to be morphing into more of a in-the-box safety…but if we can’t cover TEs…and Flacco loves him some TEs (so to speak)…yeah, this will have to be a 39-37 game…gulp…

2ND QUARTER

l4blitzer

Perryman was on an island on that pass play

FizzyJoe

3rd and short now

come on, let’s get some pressure on flacco!

l4blitzer

Lineman out for Cleveland

Geee…a team with a revolving door at LG…wonder what that is like?

Really…Flacco on the sneak…joy

FizzyJoe

My goodness

i hate him

l4blitzer

Pitre recovered enough to mitigate the gain

Patrick

It can never be easy can it?

FizzyJoe

NOOOO

ugh!

Kenneth L.

This is going to be high scoring

FLACCO WITH THE 11 YD TD SHOVEL PASS TO HUNT: CLE 14 - HOU 10; 12:18, 2nd

l4blitzer

Gonna need to get some real pressure on Flacco

Patrick

Let’s try this again.

HOU POSSESSION

Patrick

Any word on Tunsil?

FizzyJoe

it might be shootout time

questionable to return

l4blitzer

Fant on an island…gulp

FizzyJoe

fant in at LT

Patrick

OH MY [DUUURRGGGAAA]!!!

Kenneth L.

Brevin Jordan you [DURGA]

STROUD TO JORDAN FOR THE 76 YD TD: HOU 17 - CLE 14; 12:00, 2nd

FizzyJoe

AAAAA

THIS GAME IS INSANE

vballretired

What the [KITTEN]? In January?

Patrick

Brevin Jordan the Sex Panda!

I don’t know what any of that I just wrote means.

l4blitzer

#1 defense vs a team with its 2 best pass rusher back? Of course it was going to be an offensive shootout

FizzyJoe

Brevin Jordan outrunning former texan okoronwko for 75 yards!

vballretired

Mr. December in January

FizzyJoe

hahaha

Patrick

Noted Tennessee Titans legend Bruce Matthews in the stands.

l4blitzer

The running form of the Cleveland LB was quite hi-larious.

CLE POSSESSION

l4blitzer

Nice timing on the hit by Nelson

FizzyJoe

LETS GOOOOO

l4blitzer

Or…an NRG call

FizzyJoe

get [KITTEN]ed snake eyes!!!

sorry

l4blitzer

I think that the crowd caused that TO

Good job Patrick

Harris on the clean up…but really helped that Anderson was bull rushing the LT

Patrick

There’s a Browns fan standing right in front of my seat and I’m ready to kill him.

l4blitzer

Barnett with the yyyyuuuugggeeee sack

HOU POSSESSION

Joe

SAAAACK

l4blitzer

Would be nice if Houston could take strategic control of the game with another score here

Tunsil back

Patrick

Wow I’m surprised.

FizzyJoe

poor dameon pierce

alright!

l4blitzer

Ok…Cleveland now showing why they were the best defense in the league

FizzyJoe

not having success with the running backs at all

Patrick

You’re going the wrong [KITTEN]ing way.

That hurt.

l4blitzer

Just misssseeeedddd

FizzyJoe

AW MAN

so close!!!

CLE POSSESSION

l4blitzer

Can we stop them for a second straight drive?

FizzyJoe, can you call for another turnover please?

Patrick

vballretired

I’m stuck in a crowded room and can’t see the TV

l4blitzer

Now the ceaseless promotion of the Olympics…joy

FizzyJoe

Thank goodness christian harris grabbed him before he got away

l4blitzer

I’d almost rather see Cleveland run the ball more…the big pass plays from Flacco have been way more painful

FizzyJoe

if that was nick chubb we would’ve been in real trouble there

l4blitzer

Shocked…shocked that Flacco went to Njoku

Good no flag there refs

FizzyJoe

greatest tackle in nfl history

the spinning tackle

Patrick

Here we go.

Hey, they CAN call penalties against the Browns.

l4blitzer

We don’t need ref ball here…even if Cleveland wants all the flags

Kenneth L.

Patrick how loud is it?

l4blitzer

Nelson with the nice 3rd down tackle

Patrick

I can barely hear myself think and I have a headache. It’s fantastic.

FizzyJoe

4th down!!!

hahaha

HOU POSSESSION

FizzyJoe

okay lets make good on that miss on the last possession

defense is looking good again

l4blitzer

Stroud hits another long TD pass…we forget about the miss last possession

Did we really need the medieval graphics NBC?

FizzyJoe

Devin Singletary!!!

Patrick

[DURGA] I love watching this offense.

l4blitzer

Play action to Collins….I like this

FizzyJoe

Nico Collins is making his case to be the next davante adams

Patrick

To Hutchinson now. Everybody’s getting involved!

l4blitzer

Is it just me, or does it seem like our receivers are out-muscling their DBs?

Patrick

Why?! Why that play call?!!

FizzyJoe

hahaha

l4blitzer

Well, Cleveland does have a good defense…in theory…so that is bound to happen from time to time

FizzyJoe

they gotta throw some [KITTEN]y plays in there so the audience doesn’t go too wild

Patrick

FLAG!!

l4blitzer

Not sure the Browns needed to do that, but I am not complaining

FizzyJoe

LETS GOOO

Patrick

That’s coming back.

FizzyJoe

refs working out tonight

l4blitzer

Yeah…33 didn’t need to do that. But thank you

Kenneth L.

The calls are on our side

l4blitzer

Ah well…it was bound to happen to us…negate the awesome run

Kenneth L.

Okay Stingley

Flag on us

FizzyJoe

well, canceled out the last flag

TWO MINUTE WARNING

Patrick

¡Los Mariachis!

l4blitzer

Mariachis in the end zone…sure

Cleveland has the range on those outside pitches

Patrick

I just high fived two strangers!!!

STROUD TO SCHULTZ FOR THE 37 YD TD: HOU 24 - CLE 14; 1:11, 2nd

Kenneth L.

[KITTEN] YEAH

FizzyJoe

OH MY [DURGA]!!!!

LETS GOOOO

ITS’ AHPPENING!!!

Patrick

SCHULTZ!

vballretired

Have that one back to Nico and this would be quite the half

l4blitzer

…and Schultz nearly bobbled that one…but he held on…that would be a drop in Dallas

FizzyJoe

Made good on that drop from earlier!

vballretired

He almost dropped that one

l4blitzer

I fear that Cleveland will unleash the 46-blitz scheme in the second half to try to kill Stroud…Oline better be ready to block

CLE POSSESSION

vballretired

PASS defense sucks

l4blitzer

Stingley won that round

Nice DL pressure

Greenard/Anderson sandwiches…great for dinner

FIzzyJoe

sack again!!!!!

lets goooooo

vballretired

Will Anderson enters the chat

HALFTIME: HOU 24 - CLE 14

HALFTIME REACTIONS

Patrick

Soooooo, how we feeling?

vballretired

What a half by Stroud. I’m speechless. He had one or two overthrows and that’s it. PASS defense needs to tighten up but otherwise this is a better brand of football than we are used to.

FizzyJoe

I’m going crazy!!! I just ran around my house running and screaming and high fiving everyone!!! CJ Stroud is an MVP candidate and he is BALLING against the number two defense in the league?? Number two??? they stink tonight!! defense has given off some big plays but they’ve tightened up in the past several minutes, and they sacked Flacco! Greenard and Anderson are back to their old ways, and thank goodness for it. What a half, I was nervous going into this game, but I am FEELING IT now!

I think it’s happening, basically!

l4blitzer

Hey, this CJ Stroud fella…he might be kinda good. Like, he might be one of those potential franchise QB types….if he keeps playing like he did in the 1st half, that might be the biggest understatement in Houston sports history. However, having Anderson and Greenard back has been huge as well. Aside from a period between the late 1st quarter-early 2nd, the defense has more or less held Flacco and the Browns in check. Flacco can get to the TEs and the middle of the secondary is very concerning. Still, if the Oline can hold off what should be a ferocious 2nd half pass rush from the Browns and Houston can avoid too big of a 3rd quarter lull, this might end up in a very, very nice ending for the Houston fanbase

I am not sure the refs will want to use a metal whistle in Kansas City tonight. They need some plastic/rubber coverings…otherwise, they will literally rip their lips off

vballretired

Just wildly wave your arms

l4blitzer

If I recall correctly, didn’t the refs in the Ice Bowl in Green Bay just have to shout, cause the first whistle blown took like half the skin off of the ref’s lips?

vballretired

Sounds right

l4blitzer

They gonna have to use airhorns. That being said, even if I am die-hard Chiefs fan, I am not at that game. I’ve lived in those temps, and cold where it is -30 wind chill, or worse, just hurts all over. When you can feel the moisture in your lips immediately dry up and freeze within 15 seconds…real pain folks

vballretired

100 bucks for 35 yard line

l4blitzer

Throw in some hand warmers and a parka, and we can talk

THRID QUARTER

Patrick

Texans get ball to start second half.

HOU POSSESSION

l4blitzer

At least Cleveland is not going to let Dameon Pierce beat them on kick returns today

FizzyJoe

here we go!

time for the 2nd half! Noah brown has been downgraded to out

l4blitzer

Time for Metchie to really step it up and earn that 2nd round status

FizzyJoe

you said it!

l4blitzer

…and there you go. More of that Metchie please

FizzyJoe

keep saying things about metchie

l4blitzer

Showing Slowik vs. Ryans in their sideline shirts is giving me a complex about my upper body workouts

Ok…didn’t like that pass hanging up, but it got the team into 3rd and manageable

FizzyJoe

man stroud can make all the throws

i thought that play was over immediately

JOK having a great game

l4blitzer

Not lost yards, but gotta run a route past the line to gain

Flag..on who?

Probably on Houston there

Or, off-setting

FizzyJoe

I’d rather take the penalty than the block

okay well do-over play

l4blitzer

Time for a turnover

FizzyJoe

oh boy

l4blitzer

…and ref ball taking over…are they paying the refs by the flag?

Kenneth L.

Sloppy start

CLE POSSESSION

l4blitzer

Was it 50 years ago that Super Bowl VIII was played in Houston? Ok…old

vballretired

Hoping to keep my Specs gift card in the gift exchange

l4blitzer

Harris may have gotten dinged on that last play

FizzyJoe

oh man hope he’s alright

h’es been on a tear recently

l4blitzer

Maybe got the wind knocked out of him…or a low shot?

FizzyJoe

3rd down!!!!

l4blitzer

Need the pass rush to turn it up

Too easy

FizzyJoe

i hate amari cooper

l4blitzer

Pretty good defense on the screen

FizzyJoe

come on holding on cleveland

l4blitzer

Even with holding by Cleveland

Kenneth L.

Their offense is starting to cook

l4blitzer

Yep…you grab the jersey, you getting the flag

Patrick

Noah Brown is hurt.

l4blitzer

Greenard with an injury issue now?

Patrick

[KITTEN] us.

FizzyJoe

yeah what’s going on with greenard

oh my [DURGA]

l4blitzer

Unfortunate…but it is what we are coming to expect. The 3rd quarter lull…unless we can get a turnover here

Kenneth L.

They are churning

Patrick

OH MY [KITTEN]ING GOOOOOOD

LETS [KITTEN]INGGOOOOOOOO

FizzyJoe

AAAAAAA

POHJASDJFLK JKALEGRJKAER

NELSON WITH THE 82 YD INT TD: HOU 31 - CLE 14; 6:05, 3rd

vballretired

[KITTEN] yeah boys!

Kenneth L.

WOAAAAAAAHHH

Patrick

I was trapped in the concession lines and just got back in time to see the pick six.

FizzyJoe

i can’t believe he ran it back all the way!!!

what a perfect time to come back haha

l4blitzer

You only missed the methodical Cleveland offense…then the real action after you got back to the stands

vballretired

What a momentum shift

l4blitzer

Hmmm…Goodell could be in a place where there is not significant wind chill or anything, or go to one of the coldest games in history…even he wouldn’t be caught on Peacock

CLE POSSESSION

vballretired

I think I’d watch Stroud

l4blitzer

Would have liked King to wrap on those. Nice lead, but we are in Houston and this is the playoffs. Can’t give up anything here

FizzyJoe

3rd and short again

Patrick

Will. Anderson. Jr.

l4blitzer

Great 3rd down stuff

Maybe too early for Cleveland to go for it here

FizzyJoe

BLAKE CASHMAN!!!

l4blitzer

Or not

Patrick

I think I’m going to cry from pure happiness.

FizzyJoe

WOOOOOO

HARRIS WITH THE 36 YD INT FOR A TD; HOU 38 - CLE 14; 4:06, 3rd

FizzyJoe

THIS IS A DREAM!!!!

THIS CANT BE REAL!!!

vballretired

Party is on now boys. Let the Bartesian flow

FizzyJoe

IT’S TIME!!!!

l4blitzer

The Houston fan is happy as can be…but not sure Cleveland needed to go for it there. I would have still trusted my defense at least for the rest of the quarter

Kenneth L.

My roommates: we are up by 24. Last time we were up by this much it didn’t go well

l4blitzer

That is how we know we are long time Houston fans…24 point lead in a playoff game, and we are nervous as [KITTEN]

If any commentator says “the lights have been on since this morning, but you can pretty much turn them off now.” You are authorized to run into the booth and chokeslam them through the floor multiple times

CLE POSSESSION

FizzyJoe

Here we go again haha

lets see if the defense can score as many points as the offense lol

Patrick

I’ve completely lost my voice.

FizzyJoe

hahaha

that’s a good thing!

l4blitzer

Crazy…Flacco has only 7 incompletions, but 2 of them are pick-sixes

Patrick

I’m calling the police.

l4blitzer

Flacco delivered, but he got rocked on that play

No score before the end of the 3rd please

Patrick

Injured Brown.

FizzyJoe

at least njoku was inbounds

l4blitzer

Another Cleveland lineman injured. They are having worse luck than we are with OL injuries

Patrick

[KITTEN]!

Kenneth L.

Their backup tackle is hurt

l4blitzer

Sheesh…another big hit on Flacco, but they still get the conversion

It looked like the pass went right through the hands of 41 on that pass rush

FizzyJoe

shoot

in bounds again

l4blitzer

Pitre just missed his INT

He makes that pick last season

Nice play by Stingley

Patrick

Going for it on fourth down.

CHRISTIAN [DURGA][KITTEN] HARRIS AND I UNDERSTAND THE IRONY!

HARRIS WITH THE 4TH DOWN SACK. HOU POSSESSION

FizzyJoe

Great play by Stingley!!!

LETGS GOOOO

vballretired

Take a knee

Run the Waterboy offense

FizzyJoe

IT’S HAPPENING!!!

Patrick

This is how we do it…

FizzyJoe

THIS IS HOW WE DO ITTT

Patrick

This is better than the Bengals playoff game.

l4blitzer

Time for a big TD/Kill shot from Houston

But a good 1st down pass will work just as well

Joe

browns defense lm[K]o

l4blitzer

Do not dumb here Texans…that is all

Patrick

Denzel Perryman injured.

l4blitzer

Because it can never be easy for Houston, can it?

END OF THE 3RD QUARTER: HOU 38 - CLE 14. THINGS ARE LOOKING GOOD, BUT AS A HOUSTON FAN…

Patrick

One more quarter.

FizzyJoe

15 minutes to history

this is absolutely unbelievable

l4blitzer

Massive play by the defense in the 3rd quarter. Cleveland outgained and out possessed Houston, and saw the deficit increase from 10 to 24.

FizzyJoe

alright first down!!! that might be it!!

l4blitzer

FizzyJoe…remember your Houston history…

Patrick

FORTY BURGER!!!

THIS GAME IS OVER

SINGLETARY WITH THE 19 YD TD RUN: HOU 45 - CLE 14; 13:27, 4th

l4blitzer

31 point 4th quarter lead…feeling a little less anxious now. Need about 6 more minutes to run off with that margin still intact to feel really confident

FizzyJoe

Devin singletary showing up at the perfect time!

yeah i’d once we get under 10 minutes and nothing wild has happened…i think we can celebrate

i am going out tonight!

l4blitzer

Cleveland’s D can’t be physically exhausted. They haven’t seen the field all that much in the second half. Mentally…might be a different story

CLE POSSESSION

FizzyJoe

heck at this point ill take any team next week, this team can beat ANYONE

Patrick

Throw a [DURGA][KITTEN] flag.

l4blitzer

Flacco stumbled for a long 3rd down conversion…keeps the clock rolling, so that is ok

FizzyJoe

yeah really

l4blitzer

I get that Cleveland might be a little shell-shocked, but you are not even pretending to throw here? Last play excepted

FizzyJoe

houston only has only had possession for 20 minutes?? that’s wild

l4blitzer

Interesting how back-to-back pick-6s will skew some stats

HOU WITH THE 4TH DOWN STOP; HOU POSSESSION

Patrick

FizzyJoe

that’s a turnover on downs!!! this game is over!!

what a dream come true

i’m glad you got to be there for this, patrick

you have to go to every texans game ever now

l4blitzer

Cleveland has dominated everything about the 2nd half except the turnover margin and the score…aside from that.

Patrick

Other than that Mrs. Lincoln…

vballretired

John Wilkes Booth for best actor

Patrick

They put in Mills. This [KITTEN] is over.

FizzyJoe

SUPER over

vballretired

The fat lady is on her third verse

We are driving back so I’m flying blind

Patrick

Smart delay of game there.

CLE POSSESSION

FizzyJoe

CJ Stroud is like the best quarterback ever i think

and christian harris becoming a great linebacker over the last few weeks??? Like it just keeps getting better

vballretired

Ok, let’s settle down there

FizzyJoe

hahaha

sorry im just happy as a clam right now

vballretired

Great game absolutely

Patrick

Four and a half stars.

FizzyJoe

they even got [redacted] on the sideline to witness his former team dunk on his new team

vballretired

Poetic

FizzyJoe

isn’t it beautiful

i tell you what i didn’t expect this year to be such a miracle, but i was wrong

vballretired

They hit on Stroud and Anderson for sure

TWO MINUTE WARNING

vballretired

Wow! Already

l4blitzer

Do you split a sack three ways there?

FizzyJoe

super deluxe supreme over!!!

vballretired

It’s 1.5 sacks

FizzyJoe

Texans win!! Texans win!!! it’s over!!

this texans team is TWO GAMES away from the super bowl

it is PARTY TIME!!!!!!!!!

vballretired

Bartesian around for everyone

FizzyJoe

best game ever

FINAL: HOUSTON TEXANS 45 - CLEVELAND BROWNS 14. SHEER DOMINATION BY HOUSTON AS THEY MOVE TO 5-2 IN HOME PLAYOFF GAMES. NOW THEY WAIT TO SEE WHO THEY PLAY AND WHERE THEY PLAY NEXT WEEK.

vballretired

Baltimore I’m guessing

Patrick

l4blitzer

Pending the results of the Steelers/Bills. If the Stillers somehow, someway upend Buffalo, then we get a Yinzer/Baltimore rematch.

Patrick

I don’t think so. I have a feeling we face whichever of Buffalo/KC that doesn’t move on because I don’t think both move on.

l4blitzer

Would be interesting if we get Baltimore. Probably no chance to go live, but it will be crazy here

GAME BALLS:

QB C.J. Stroud: This man is quickly entering the pantheon of most revered Houston athletes. Performances like the one this past Saturday will only add to that status. 16-21 for 274 yards, three TD, zero INTs...in his first NFL playoff game. Perhaps that playoff performance against Georgia should have told us everything about what this guy can do at QB. Also, stock in the S2 test will continue to plummet as Stroud goes forward. Yet, most impressive is that he did not seemed phased by the pressure or the moment. Let us hope that continues, and that he remains humble and hard-working.

LT Laremy Tunsil: At times, Tunsil seems to only make headlines when he screws up (see the near constant of 1-2 false start penalties a game). Yet, on this day, you see why he is regarded among the best LTs in the game, and why Houston has spent so much money on this man. Myles Garrett by all rights is among the best defensive linemen in the game, and is the money favorite for Defensive Player of the Year. Yet, in this game, he was a non-factor, as was much of the Cleveland defensive front. Tunsil helped hold Garrett to zero sacks and two pressures, and one of those was on a designed play where Houston left him unblocked. This was part of a solid OL performance from Houston, who led Cleveland’s defensive front maul them on Christmas Eve, but rendered them ineffective for this biggest of matchups.

LB Christian Harris: One candidate for most improved player on the Texans defense is this man. eight tackles (seven solo), one sack, two TFLs, one PD, one INT, one TD, which you have to call a great stat line for a LB. Yet, in the third quarter, it was his play that ended the Browns’ hopes. That pick-six came on a desperation fourth down by Cleveland, and swelled the lead to 24. On the next possession, his fourth down sack all but ended the competitive phase of the playoff matchup.

SHOULD BE FORCED TO READ AND DECIPHER THE MEANING AND REASONING OF ALL THE RECENT TWEETS FROM THE FORMER VICE-PRESIDENT OF FOOTBALL OPERATIONS FOR THE HOUSTON TEXANS:

First Quarter Read-Zone Play-calling: By all rights, Bobby Slowik’s offensive scheme for this game was about as strong as you can get. Yet, the series of play-calls on the Houston possession inside the Cleveland five yard line gave Houston fans a bit of a scare. A play where you leave Myles Garrett unblocked??? A QB sweep from your most important player, who is just getting over a brutal concussion? Fortunately, it did not factor into the final game outcome, but that was some curious decision-making from Slowik. Can’t get too smart or cute next week.

At the time of this writing, Houston does not know who they are playing or where they will be going, but they are assured of being the road team and they will play on Saturday afternoon (3:30 pm CST on ESPN). Whether they return to Baltimore or Kansas City, this team will be the underdog, but should also scare the living [KITTEN] out of either team with the way that they are playing. Granted, Houston will try to do what they have never done: win a road playoff game (0-4). Still, this team has done nothing but defy expectations, so why stop now?

UPDATE: Houston will return to Baltimore, where the season began. Hopefully, it will not end there.