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Hair of the Dog Week 18: Houston Texans @ Indianapolis Colts

Where the playoffs began, and it was the start of the best weekend this decade for the Texans.

NFL: JAN 06 Texans at Colts Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

One could argue that this might have been the best weekend in Houston Texans’ football history. Certainly this was the best weekend since 2020. Saturday night, the Texans and Colts battle it out in a winner-goes-forward-loser-goes-home slugfest, which the Texans prevailed, 23-19. Then, the next day, the Jags complete the biggest collapse of the season, losing to the Titans 28-20, giving Houston its seventh division title in franchise history, and perhaps its most unexpected. For a team that had won a total of 11 games over three years, and made more headlines for off-field drama and organization dysfunction, the Texans are back in the playoffs.

Of course it would not be easy. What about the 2023 Texans has been mundane/routine, other than heart-stopping drama? For the 10th time this season, the Texans played in a game where it came down to the final minute. The defense bent (especially against the run), but ultimately did not break. Fairbairn and Johnston made things a little more interesting than usual. CJ Stroud did CJ Stroud things, and the team moved to 7-3 in such situations. Sheer madness, and the fun is far from over. Houston is playing with house money here, and they get a rematch with a Cleveland team that throttled them earlier in the season at NRG. Yet, bet against this Houston team at your peril. At least, expect it to go down to the wire, ‘cause that is just how this work this year.

As always, your Battle Red Blog masthead had their real-time takes on the biggest game of the decade for the team (so far). Given the roller-coaster of emotions/passions, plenty of not-suitable-for-work words were used, so in classic Hair of the Dog fashion, we have edited those out. This should help you maintain that New Year’s Resolution to be more professional at the office.

With that, on to the ‘Dog:

HAIR OF THE DOG, VOLUME 21, ISSUE 18: HOUSTON TEXANS @ INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (Or where the playoffs begin here and now, even if the NFL says it is still the regular season)

vballretired

Okay, it’s the final version of this one for the 2023-2024 regular season. Here’s hoping there will be at least one more. Either way, fire up the #Bartesian and mix yourself a celebratory drink. You’ve navigated friends, family, angry shoppers, and drunken idiots to survive another holiday season. Similarly, your Texans have clinched a winning season. All possibilities are in play. Division title? It’s improbable, but it’s possible. Wild card? Win and you’re in. Embarrassing letdown? We’ve seen this organization do it before. Either way it’s bound to be entertaining. Vodka? Check. Rum? Check. Gin? Check. Whiskey? Check. Tequila? Check. #Bartesian has mixers for all of those and probably some I haven’t thought of. Let it do all the hard work for you. All you have to do is set it up and knock them down. As per usual, Battle Red Blog and its parent company SBNation remind you to never drink and drive while enjoying #Bartesian.

l4blitzer

Something to be said for domed games. The PIT-BAL wx is ooogly

Joe

I’m rooting for the chance that both the Steelers and Texans make the playoffs

Not entirely sure how exactly that happens but I hope it happens

vballretired

Not a chance.

l4blitzer

That would work…likely if the Steelers win and the Glitter Kitties lose…plus some other convoluted tie scenarios

Probably some other variables with the Bills, the. Broncos and the position of Venus vis-a-vis Saturn and the moon factored in

Joe

It can happen!!

If the bills lose and broncos win there’s a chance for the Steelers

I’m so nervous about tonight’s game though

I’ve been anxious about since yesterday morning

vballretired

We are playing with house money

Joe

I’m so excited for the Texans to play on prime time in one of the biggest games in recent history, and I think Stroud can really do it, but I’m just so nervous about it haha

You’re right! This has been a miracle season, I just want the ball to keep rolling

vballretired

Hard to say. I say this half jokingly but I don’t know if they can figure out how to play other than noon on Sunday

Joe

Hahaha

If they win this game they’ll def has some prime time games next year

vballretired

They will either way

Joe

We gotta beat the freaking colts I don’t want to lose to the stinky colts to end the season

Ur right about that too

vballretired

Honestly the league loves teams like ours. When you can market around a QB you can make it happen

Joe

Which means if we go on a win streak into the playoff like Nick Foles we’ll be on top of the world

I can see stroud going 2017 Foles mode with this team

lol

Clowney with the sack and fumble on Rudolph

it’s 2019 again

vballretired

Really glad they made this one a national game

I think I’ve seen more offense at a 7B game when my daughter was a cheerleader

vballretired

Mason Rudolph is a free agent after the season….just saying

Joe

i dont like him at all

absolutely do not trust him at all

he’s been alright the past few games but i still remember 2019

vballretired

As a backup?

Joe

as anything

Patrick

Have I missed anything?

Joe

hey patrick!

vballretired

Ryan Tannehill is obviously likely available too

Joe

steelers are winning and have the ball with 6 mins left

vballretired

Just pregame commentary

Joe

tannehill wouldnt be bad

or drew lock

vballretired

Maybe Lock could work

I want someone that can physically throw every route and has an ounce of athleticism

Joe

me too haha

but sometimes its hard to find that in a good backup

mariota?

vballretired

Keenum has the second but really can’t make all the throws anymore

Joe

idk about mariota

which is too bad cuz i like him

he was even pretty alright in his season starting for denver in 2018

vballretired

Mills is just damaged goods

Patrick

To be honest, Keenum couldn’t really make all the throws even in his prime.

vballretired

Probably true

Joe

yea i think ur right

that minneapolis miracle play was amazing though

vballretired

Mariota could work for cheap

Patrick

And I say this as someone who watched him play at UH while I was at UH.

vballretired

Yeah, he reminds me of our (TCU) QB from last season

Patrick

Duggan?

vballretired

Yup

Patrick

I can see that.

vballretired

Good athlete. Tough. Smart. Weak arm.

Joe

Would you like tyrod taylor coming back as a backup?

vballretired

No

Patrick

We could do worse than Taylor. We could do better too, though.

vballretired

You can do better

Joe

yea haha, but he’s had a few good games for the giants this season!

vballretired

Someone like Tannehill would be perfect if he doesn’t find a starting gig

Joe

he’s got something left in the tank

see idk about tannehill cuz he hasn’t had a good game in a long while

even taylor has looked better than tannehill this season

vballretired

Why did the Giants go away from Danny Devito?

Patrick

He turned back into an Italian pumpkin.

Joe

he wasn’t playing well for a little while

hahaha

Patrick

Or would that be a zucchini?

vballretired

Sure but I know what Taylor is. In their spot play the young guy and see.

It’s like us and Keenum in 2013

Carson Wentz? (Ducks oncoming tomato)

Patrick

I don’t hate it but I’d prefer a backup with a little more athleticism.

Joe

yea i dont want carson wentz anymore

sam darnold maybe

vballretired

I’d handle the QB spot differently. Sign two guys and let Mills and Keenum go. Sign a solid veteran closer to his prime as the backup and a more athletic guy you want to take a flier on as QB3

Darnold, Tannehill, or someone like that to backup and another guy like Wentz/Mariota if they come cheap as a kind of what the [KITTEN] kind of play.

I mean if your QB3 is getting serious reps then your season is likely kittened anyway.

Joe

it’s almost time!!!!

i see what you mean

that does make sense

we could take mcsorley!!!

lol hahaha

current steelers practice squab qb

vballretired

I wouldn’t spend a draft pick on a guy but an undrafted free agent with athleticism makes sense

Joe

i like that idea too

i always like the weird athletic qbs that fall in the draft

frank harris from utsa could be one in this year’s draft

vballretired

I just felt like Mills was a wasted roster spot. Either you have a guy that may develop into something or you move on

Like what the Cowboys did with Trey Lance. He likely won’t play but has raw skills that could pan out.

Patrick

And we’ve had, what, three years now to see what Mills is? If he’s got something to show, his window to show it is closing fast.

vballretired

That horse done left the barn a long time ago

Patrick

Overture! Curtain, lights!

On with the show this is it.

No Robert Woods tonight. Let’s see if we can light a fire under Metchie and Hutchinson.

So for tomorrow, our interests (if we win) and the Steelers’ are one and the same.

vballretired

Will we miss Robert Woods?

Patrick

Only one way to find out.

vballretired

There is always Noah Brown

Joe

It’s almost time for the big game!!! This is by far the biggest Texans game I’ve had the pleasure to watch since I started writing for Battle Red Blog. This can be the moment the Texans show the entire country that they’re ready for the big show, and even if they lose, a potential juggernaut for the next few seasons. I’m so very, very nervous, and now my hearts already racing and the game hasn’t even started yet. I’ve been waiting for this moment for so long, to be preparing for a game like this with you guys, all sitting on the edges of our seats, anticipating every play. Finally, the Texans have made it!

Since I started writing here, all we’ve had to talk about is how the Texans stink! Finally, there’s now overwhelming proof that we have entered a new era. My heart is fully feeling the effects of that right now

vballretired

Honestly I don’t know how it will turn out and don’t care. Anything is possible and that by itself is satisfying. I’m not particularly nervous yet because we are in that in between zone between expectations and zero expectations

Patrick

Ever burp so loud that the dog sitting next to you gets up and goes to a different part of the house?

Joe

IT’S TIME!!!!

Patrick

Er’rybody coming out of retirement today.

FIRST QUARTER

COLTS POSSESSION

Joe

good start!!!

BOOOOO

Patrick

Ugh.

Joe

refs already working against the texans

Patrick

Oh goody, the refs are getting involved early today.

Ugh. Again.

Joe

there’s that crummy pass defense near the line of scrimmage

Patrick

Un-[KITTEN]ing-real.

Joe

this isn’t the defensive start i was hoping

Patrick

Sigh...

Joe

come on, d-line!!! lets get going

Patrick

Wake the [KITTEN] up please.

Joe

im hoping we dont see good jonathan taylor tonight

good time for a turnover

4th down!!!!

let’s gooo

thank goodness minshew can’t throw on the run

Patrick

Bloody [KITTEN] you’re way ahead of me.

Joe

i got it on abc right now

Patrick

Phew.

I have it on Fubo, I’m sure that’s the reason. It’s always a bit slow.

Joe

ohh i see

how about a blocked kick?

will anderson?

Patrick

I’ll take it if it happens.

Joe

it didn’t happen :(

it’s c.j. stroud time

COLTS FIELD GOAL. COLTS LEAD 3-0

TEXANS POSSESSION

Joe

Here we go!!!

if he has a good game its time to get the mvp chants going again

Patrick

Okay Stroud, let’s dance.

Joe

AAAAAA

OH MY [DURGA]!!!!

WERE DANCING!!!!

Patrick

HOLY [KITTEN]ING [KITTEN]!!!

STROUD TO COLLINS ON FIRST OFFENSIVE PLAY OF GAME FOR THE TEXANS

TEXANS LEAD 7-3

Joe

PH MY GOODNESS

HOLY [KITTEN]!!!!

I JUST REPLAYED THAT LIKE 10 TIMES!!!

Kenneth L.

LETS RIDEEEEE

Joe

CJ Stroud is it. We’ve made it. This is heaven

Kenneth L.

THAT WAS MASSIVE

Joe

That was like a 60-yard pass!!!

Patrick

Game [KITTEN]ing on, y’all.

Joe

WERE OFF TO THE RACES

Kenneth L.

RUN NICO RUN

COLTS POSSESSION

Joe

OH!!!!

almost had an interception there!

SAAAACK!!!

Patrick

Anderson was in the tent for a moment and now he’s back on the field.

Don’t scare me like that ESPN.

Ladies and gentlemen, Christian Harris.

TEXANS POSSESSION

Joe

I think I like him haha

It’s time to see stroud again!!!

the world is seated now

Kenneth L.

Good gawd Charlie heck is our tackle

That means George Fant is hurt

Joe

here we go!

CJ STROUD GOT IT!

Patrick

No wonder they went deep bomb early.

Joe

yeah i didn’t know fant was hurt?

Patrick

Craaaaap.

GO FOR IT YOU COWARD

COLTS POSSESSION

Joe

it’s okay, we still have the lead so i wont complain too much

man we could use robert woods or noah brown right now

who knows though maybe xavier hutchinson is ready for the moment

I don’t like jonathan taylor!

Patrick

He was the worst part of Home Improvement.

Joe

nice play by Houston-Carsson!

hahaha

WOOOOOO

vballretired

This is better….not yet Joe

Joe

Texans looking good on defense!!

Patrick

Oh [DURGA], what now?

Hey, they DO penalize other teams!

vballretired

MOAR flags

Joe

yeah can you believe it haha

vballretired

When they tout the line judge you know ref ball has gone too far

Joe

AUGHHH

l4blitzer

Still just shocked that we have Aikman and Buck commentating our game…or rather, I can mute Aikman and Buck

HOU POSSESSION

Joe

that was so close to being another big play

l4blitzer

Just a bit outside there Stroud

vballretired

Could you imagine V chip tech but for specific announcers?

l4blitzer

Did Nico just truck a defender…I’ll take it

Patrick

Durga love him.

vballretired

Give me the Collingsworth chip

Joe

Nico Flexing on them too!

l4blitzer

Are all the Texans coaches required to wear long sleeve form fitting shirts that show off their guns and make me feel inadequate on my physic?

Joe

3rd and short across midfield…a lot of options here

Patrick

[KITTEN] that, I’m strapping Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith to the Clockwork Orange chair and installing it in them first, without anesthetic.

vballretired

My under got blown up on the first play of the game

Joe

[DURGA] [KITTEN] TUNSIL

l4blitzer

The Tunsil false start on 3rd down…right on cue

vballretired

Luckily they aren’t in game commentators

Patrick

Bull[KITTEN], that was offsides.

I don’t care if it wasn’t, it was offsides.

Joe

you can go for it!

you can do it!!

l4blitzer

Hmmm…decision time on 4th down.

vballretired

Y’all are a play ahead

END OF 1ST QUARTER: HOU 7 - IND 3…and the playoff drama will only magnify

Joe

oh man im nervous

i mean they can punt

i wouldnt be super mad

but this offense is moving

vballretired

Hard decision. I’d pin them back but that’s me

Patrick

Fake the punt. They’d never expect it this early.

Joe

faking wouldn’t be a bad idea!

l4blitzer

Only if we are inside our own 30…oh wait, BO’B isn’t coaching

vballretired

Kittens

l4blitzer

Welp, if you are going to punt it…pining them on the 1 will do ok

Joe

okay well the punt is justified now

perfect punt

IND POSSESSION

Patrick

You know what, I’ll allow it.

vballretired

Perfect

l4blitzer

Hmmmm….that is NOT how to play one

Joe

whoops

vballretired

I’ll be the instant replay all game

Who is that guy?

Joe

sack em!!

Patrick

Oh [KITTEN] us, THE COLTS DO NOT NEED YOUR HELP!

l4blitzer

60 yards on the ground already….oh, that has shades of 2022

Joe

nooo

don’t say it!!!

l4blitzer

Of course, you know what the 2022 Texans did at Lucas Oil…

vballretired

Bend but don’t break

Joe

oh boy 3rd and short

man it would be nice to have greenard for this game

he made an impact after coming back from injury last year

vballretired

Stop that Zachary Taylor dude

l4blitzer

I think we got an assist from the Colts offense on that tackle

Joe

WOOOOO

l4blitzer

I don’t play NFL football, but an offensive player going in motion should probably not run into a running back

HOU POSSESSION

Joe

Dang one of the spiciest returns i’ve ever seen haha

vballretired

That seems like sound advanced strategy there

Patrick

That’s the kind of [KITTEN] the ‘21 Texans would have done.

(The running into his own player thing I mean)

vballretired

Going back in the annals of suckdom

Somewhere David Culley is smiling as he sets his tee time for tomorrow’s

l4blitzer

Crazy…I can actually have a drink while following the game…don’t know if that will be a good thing or bad?

vballretired

Bartesian baby

Patrick

And I salute [Culley].

Can I get a brief moment of silence for Cindy Morgan who played Lacey Underall on Caddyshack.

vballretired

[KITTEN]

Joe

come on, singletary!

l4blitzer

…and apparently we lost the actress who played Mrs. Banks in the original Mary Poppins

Joe

metchie time

l4blitzer

Hey, Metchie actually caught a pass

Patrick

Oh yeah, I saw that happened New Year’s Eve.

vballretired

[KITTEN], death sucks

l4blitzer

Ok…missed that headline in the midst of all the international news…

Patrick

There’s Metchie’s one catch of the game.

Joe

i think schultz just barely got it

Patrick

He got that.

l4blitzer

Barely = conversion = moving the football

vballretired

He got it

l4blitzer

Just a bit outside by Stroud…maybe DPI, but not gonna get that call at Lucas Oil

Joe

man they love giving cj stroud 3rd and long

vballretired

Should’ve caught that

l4blitzer

Colts are going to take the run away…of course, if you want to force Stroud to beat you, be my guest.

Kenneth L.

This drive is stressing me

Joe

UGHHHH

GO FOR IT

GO FAST

Kenneth L.

That was a run the ball to get closer

l4blitzer

They gotta go for this one.

Half a yard…DO IT

vballretired

Roll the clock

Patrick

Yeah, I thought it was third down when I said it.

Joe

NOOOOO

Patrick

Now you better go for it.

Kenneth L.

Booooo

Womp

vballretired

Kittens

l4blitzer

Tunsil…you already had your one False Start…Knock it off…they are going to call that all night at Lucas Oil

IND POSSESSION

vballretired

Pro Bowler my [KITTEN]

Kenneth L.

Haha

l4blitzer

Well, if Johnston is going to force the Colts to go 90+ on every drive, that’ll suffice.

Patrick

Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiigggggggggghhhhhhhhhh..........

Joe

The defense is balling, though! it’s hard seeing the offense slow up like this but the defense is handling it

vballretired

Eventually you have to put more points on the board

l4blitzer

Suspect they’ll try some play action…but yeah, it may be that type of game where Stroud is going to have to put the ball in the air 35-40 times at least.

vballretired

There’s always Dameon Pierce (ducks oncoming tomatoes)

l4blitzer

On kick returns…sure

Joe

DEREK STINGLEY!!!

l4blitzer

Nice by Stingley, but the Ponies gotta hang on to that one

vballretired

Waiting…..

Patrick

Stand by...

Noice.

l4blitzer

This game is moving at a brisk pace, no?

Joe

LETS GOOOO

Patrick

When you’re under strict orders not to throw flags unless it’s really obvious or it’s against the Texans will speed things along nicely.

vballretired

I support any play that doesn’t involve Taylor

l4blitzer

Great 3rd down defense by Houston…now it would be nice to not sabotage our own offense, please and thank you

HOU POSSESSION

Joe

already nearly at midfield!

okay, time to get a field goal

time to take advantage of this great defensive play

vballretired

[KITTEN] with field goals

l4blitzer

Wait did we forget to Venmo the refs AGAIN!?!?!?

Patrick

I wonder if we have to resort to the “for every false start you commit, we will shoot a puppy on the sidelines” for these penalties.

Joe

hahaha

l4blitzer

Nah, it is “For every false start from here on out, we cut off a body part”

vballretired

Venmo? Is that what the kids are using?

l4blitzer

So I’ve heard

Patrick

Michael Dieter in the blue tent.

vballretired

What happened to old fashioned cash

Patrick

It’s all covered with cocaine.

l4blitzer

Well, you could do Bitcoin, but the value has not been very stable

Was that like a power sweep? The Lombardi fan in me is smiling

Joe

there’s a good run by stingley!!!

eric saubert sighting

saubert catch!

l4blitzer

Hey, that was nice playaction….do have to credit the Ponies with the coverage though

vballretired

You got a seal here and a seal here

Joe

another good run!

vballretired

Who in the [KITTEN] is that guy?

Joe

Deiter looks he’s back on the field

l4blitzer

Looks like we are going to ride Singletary in the backfield until he drops

Patrick

Not a bad run considering it looked like it was DOA.

Joe

NICOOOO

LETS GOOO

l4blitzer

Man, Nico is channeling his inner Mark Bavaro here. Trucking Colts left, right, and center

vballretired

Running behind Heck ain’t doing it for you?

Patrick

WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

Joe

how did singletary get out of that???

how did he do that????

l4blitzer

Man…I can’t think of a runner who is as slippery as Singletary

Joe

he’s nuts

Patrick

Somebody done gave Nico Collins a can of spinach.

Joe

oh man oh man

vballretired

They told him it was NRG

TWO MINUTE WARNING

l4blitzer

Hey, it is in a dome

Joe

WOOOOOO

LETS GOOOO

l4blitzer

Andrew Beck, please report to the end zone. Andrew Beck, please report to the end zone

Joe

Andrew Beck!!!

Patrick

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

STROUD TO BECK FOR THE 2 YD TD: HOU 14 - IND 3; 2nd, 1:57

vballretired

He was lost

Kenneth L.

RIDE WITH THE MOB

Joe

It’s happening!! It’s happening!!!

Kenneth L.

that’s a backup pro bowl fullback baby

vballretired

Who had Beck TD on their board?

Patrick

Only the most degenerate of gamblers.

l4blitzer

Apparently the Yinzers lost TJ Watt to injury? Only saw part of the 1st half of that game…sucks for the Steelers if that is case

vballretired

That was my 13th go to option on prop bets

IND POSSESSION

vballretired

Watt’s injury didn’t look serious

Patrick

I hope it’s not but even small injuries are severe when it comes to the playoffs.

Joe

I think watt has some kind of MCL sprain, so I think he’s done for the rest of the season if it were to continue for the steelers

l4blitzer

Great…another mental mistake

Joe

NOOOO

l4blitzer

Ryans so wants to piledrive somebody into the turf right now

Patrick

That was so dumb.

Joe

are you serious

vballretired

Time for one of them sacks

Joe

this is the penalty drive

there’s always at least one penalty drive

Patrick

Oh [KITTEN] you now what?

l4blitzer

Only a FG please…at worst

vballretired

Ref ball

Patrick

Oh get the [KITTEN] out of here illegal contact.

l4blitzer

Awww…the Colts wanted to get a flag too

My cat jumping off the counter couldn’t catch that one

Joe

It helps when minshew isn’t throwing well

hahahaha

vballretired

Don’t underestimate feline athleticism

Patrick

My dog is literally a horse and she couldn’t catch that.

*My nephew’s dog who I’m taking care of at the moment

Joe

whew

that was too close

l4blitzer

Wow…the Pony receivers are not helping Minshew

vballretired

It was intended for Joe Popcorn Vendor

l4blitzer

Not that I am complaining

With the Colts having all of their TOs, surprised that they didn’t run Taylor before 3rd and long

Joe

yeah really they’ve been running well

vballretired

I hate Taylor

Joe

me too

vballretired

MLBTR reported that Singletary wants to come back

GAY WITH THE 52 YD FG: HOU 14 - IND 6; 0:35, 2nd

vballretired

I wouldn’t mind an upgrade over Pierce for a second back though

l4blitzer

Two TOs, 35 seconds…let’s see if we can get a bonus FG

HOU POSSESSION

Patrick

And we get the ball to start the second half.

Joe

alright another penalty lol

l4blitzer

…and another false start

Patrick

Saw on Twitter ([kitten] you Elon Musk) that depending on how this game goes, this could be the last time we see these uniforms.

Kind of hit me right there.

l4blitzer

The commentators praising Stroud’s composure, but Stroud has put up huge numbers at Lucas Oil before

Joe

Okay i think it’s passing time

Patrick

Please. I’m begging you Houston Texans. Stop helping the Colts.

l4blitzer

Ponies playing the TO game

Patrick

WE ALREADY HAVE SEVEN PENALTIES AND IT’S JUST HALFTIME.

This is turning into a real problem.

vballretired

Ref ball baby!

l4blitzer

Those outside toss runs really seem to be working well….come on Slowik. Channel your inner Lombardi. Run to Daylight!

Joe

Stroud doing the whole variety show to prepare for the game

l4blitzer

Colts got a hand on that one

IND POSSESSION

Joe

colts lucky to have a chance here

l4blitzer

IF we can avoid a penalty, figure on going in the locker room 14-6

vballretired

Big if

l4blitzer

We did…for once

Joe

halftime!

HALFTIME: HOU 14 - IND 6. HIGH DRAMA AT LUCAS OIL

HALFTIME REACTIONS

Kenneth L.

I’ll take this

Good half

We still could be up by more

But the colts have flubbed several good chances

vballretired

Nice start to this thing. You get the ball first with an opportunity to really take control of the game. Stroud good as usual and the defense is really good. We need a running game and no more penalties but that’s nitpicking

l4blitzer

That Stroud is playing well is not a huge shock. However, the Texans 3rd down defense is the story. Colts, even as well as they are running the ball, have yet to convert a 3rd down. Houston likely could be up more, but way. Too. Many. Penalties….and most of them are the mental, pre-snap type. This is the most pressure packed game Houston has seen in years. The players will need to settle down a little

Joe

Overall, fantastic first half from the Texans, besides the penalties. C.J. Stroud is clearly ready for the moment and Nico Collins is hot. The entire defense is playing well, besides having some difficulty in containing jonathan taylor. Good coverage, good plays from Derek Stingley…some luck here and there…pressure from Will Anderson. If it weren’t for the penalties on defense and the false starts form laremy tunsil, this first half might have been perfect. Now, the real anxiety begins

l4blitzer

assessment on the second half:

vballretired

Second half? Am I that far behind

l4blitzer

No, that is just my assessment of what is in store for the second half

Patrick

Ahhhhhh okay.

vballretired

How about the Jonathan Gannon buckle up?

Joe

oh man im so worried

l4blitzer

I don’t know what to think about Wednesday night marquee NBA on ABC/ESPN. I guess it can work?

vballretired

Maybe

Patrick

I’m sorry but if you’re able to use those nasal enema machines without flinching in horror, you have to be some kind of sociopath.

Joe

here we go!

no turtling!!

vballretired

Oh [KITTEN] no

Patrick

Uh oh.

HOU POSSESSION

Patrick

I don’t like how the chat is foreshadowing here.

Joe

NICO COLLINS!!!

l4blitzer

Hey, that play action thingy kinda works…let’s keep that in mind

vballretired

That’s one of them fancy English terms we teach in school

Patrick

Oooooooo, purdy.

l4blitzer

Turf monster kinda got Singletary there

Joe

oh my goodness

l4blitzer

Saubert enters the penalty chart

Patrick

[KITTEN].

Joe

NOOOO

l4blitzer

Those penalties are such killers…especially there

vballretired

Barely any movement

l4blitzer

Scruggs…worst play of the game for him so far

Joe

he’s improving but still not great

vballretired

That kills that drive

Joe

yep

Patrick

[DURGA] [KITTEN]ing [KITTEN].

IND POSSESSION

l4blitzer

Risky play by the Indy punt returner there

vballretired

Bonus yards for Nico

l4blitzer

Houston needs to watch out for the play action pass here. Can’t imagine Minshew will suck for that much longer

Patrick

This is where we see whose halftime adjustments are gonna stick. At the moment, I’m not optimistic it’s ours.

l4blitzer

Eh, we always seem to have those 3rd quarter lulls…then turn it on in the 4th

vballretired

Well, stupid penalties have a way of killing a game plan

Joe

nooo!!

l4blitzer

Or, we might want to plug up the middle for those runs as well

Patrick

Maybe we do something about Jonathan Taylor Thomas running the ball, Iunno, just a thought.

Joe

there’s a good stop

[KITTEN]

l4blitzer

A balance…limit the run, but don’t get burned by the play-action pass

Joe

NOOOOOO

l4blitzer

Colts were due that sort of play.

Joe

noooo!

Patrick

Oh [KITTEN] me.

Kenneth L.

What just happened

Our secondary quit

Patrick

[KITTEN] me sideways.

Joe

[KITTEN]

TAYLOR WITH THE 49 YD TD RUN: HOU 14 - IND 14 (2 POINT CONVERSION GOOD); 9:35, 3rd

l4blitzer

CJ Stroud, please report to the end zone. CJ Stroud, please report to the end zone

Kenneth L.

Sometimes Blake cash man kills me

Patrick

KEEP PEARL JAM OUT OF YOUR [KITTEN]ING MOUTHS INDY.

Joe

Yeah im looking at my clock it keeps saying cj stroud time i think it’s actually cj stroud time now

AASJDL

vballretired

It was never going to be easy

Patrick

I didn’t want normal blood pressure anyway.

l4blitzer

Oh come now…like we were ever going to win this 35-6. This is the 2023 Houston Texans…everything will be the hard way.

Will be shocked if this doesn’t come down to the final possession with under 2 minutes left. That is the modus operandi for Houston all year

Cashman will get the rest of the half to make up for that missed tackle

HOU POSSESSION

Joe

yeah, you’re right. It would only be normal for this game to come down to the final seconds

vballretired

This looks like first half of the season Texans football

Joe

NOOOOO

oh no!!!

Patrick

[KIIITTTTEEENNN]!

Joe

it’s scary time!!! scary time!!!

l4blitzer

Uncle Mo with Indy right now. Right Tackle got busted on that one

IND POSSESSION

l4blitzer

Hewitt nearly took the punt returner’s soul with that hit

vballretired

Time for some battlefight

Patrick

I’m surprised that wasn’t a foul given how this game has gone.

l4blitzer

It feels like Houston could really use a defensive turnover here…

Patrick

After that last drive, they could use a defensive anything.

l4blitzer

145 yards for Taylor…sheesh…how are we even tied in this game?

Patrick

Because Minshew hasn’t been able to complete passes yet.

l4blitzer

Admittedly, some great blocking by the Colts on that play.

Kenneth L.

Oh man they are running

Patrick

[KITTEN], they figured out how to beat us.

Joe

oh my [DURGA]!

l4blitzer

Nobody is touching the backs until they are deep in the defensive backfield

Patrick

Dog[KITTEN]. Absolute dog[KITTEN].

vballretired

Hughes down

Patrick

Fine. Shoot your prisoner.

l4blitzer

The injury actually gives the defense chance to rest. Going to have to hope that we hold them to FGs, cause the Colts’ running game is Nuclear Hot right now

Patrick

I refuse to believe ESPN is taking money from a fourth rate Viagra delivery company or ESPN is in way more trouble than I thought.

l4blitzer

Iger needs to get those stock prices back up

Joe

alright there’s some good run clogging

l4blitzer

Houston selling out to stop the run…not shocked, but gotta watch a play action pass

Patrick

167 yards, that’s [KITTEN]ing embarassking.

l4blitzer

200 yards for Indy on the ground. Yeah, we are thankful that Minshew isn’t even close to hot, or this would be 28-6…them

Joe

ALRIGHT!!!!

Maliek Collins!

l4blitzer

Man did Houston need that stop in the worst way

vballretired

I think I lost that prop bet

Patrick

Whew.

l4blitzer

That stuff on 2nd down saved Houston 3 points

Joe

HE DOINKED IT!!

killed the colts mascot!!!

Patrick

DOINK!

GAY DOINKED THE 57 YD FG; HOU POSSESSION

vballretired

Momentum swing

l4blitzer

If nothing else, Houston needs a drive with at least a couple of 1st downs to rest the defense and put Indy back on their heels

Joe

This would be perfect right now

even just a few first downs would suffice

slow the game down

cj stroud running!!!

l4blitzer

Flea flicker to set up the run…sure, why not

Joe

the double triple option

l4blitzer

Colts down a corner…if only we could take advantage

Joe

he’s running again!

Patrick

Gotta say I’m not thrilled about the lack of contribution from Metchie and Hutchinson right now.

Of all non-Nico receivers that is.

l4blitzer

Seems strange to say, but Houston needs to go more with the outside running game. They can’t seem to cover the flanks

Stroud got away with that one

Correction…the Indy defensive back with the key play there.

Joe

come on, Fairbairn!

FAIRBAIRN WITH THE 52 YD FG: HOU 17 - IND 14; 3:39, 3RD

Joe

woooo!! 2nd half point party!!!

glory to the all fg offense!!!

Kenneth L.

Points points points

vballretired

Okay defense

l4blitzer

Showing the highlights of Anderson…man, if ever there was a game you would want Greenard on the other side…

IND POSSESSION

Joe

alright blake cashman tackle!

ughhh

turnover would great right now

l4blitzer

Minshew wanted that big play, but saw the pressure and got the 1st down

Joe

DUMPED BY KHALIL DAVIS!!

Patrick

Someone kicking Jonathan Taylor in the nuts so hard they come out his nose would be great too.

Joe

Preseason star Khalil Davis

l4blitzer

Gotta make the 1st tackle

Joe

NOOOO

l4blitzer

Another flag coming our way…joy

Kenneth L.

Goooooood bye Kareem

Patrick

Nine penalties.

Kenneth L.

lol that was funny

Oh that was Desmond

WTF is he doing wearing 24

l4blitzer

Unfortunately, that is the textbook helmet-to-helmet from King

Kenneth L.

25

l4blitzer

Any chance we can get one of them turnovers?

Patrick

Hard to do if they refuse to throw the ball.

l4blitzer

Yeah, and the Pony backs aren’t known for fumbling

Patrick

A stop. A stop. Give me a [KITTEN]ing stop, please.

Joe

oh man like 3rd and inches

Patrick

Wow, an assist from the refs.

Joe

yeah i thought he had the first down

Patrick

Must have a prop bet they want to save.

END OF 3: HOU 17 - IND 14. IND INSIDE THE HOUSTON 25…NOW IS THE TIME FOR THE MEDICAL WARNING FOR THOSE WITH WEAK CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEMS ABOUT WATCHING THE REST OF THIS GAME. PLEASE DO NOT DO SO UNLESS YOU HAVE BEEN CLEARED BY A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL

Patrick

This quarter is going to come with a warning from the surgeon general.

l4blitzer

Well, the NFL wanted playoff intensity for this game…they got it

vballretired

What happened to our run defense?

l4blitzer

I don’t know. I guess the Colts could, but 3rd and 1 with their running game. May as well save the potential TO

Joe

15 minutes left to make it to the big dance

Patrick

Jonathan Taylor, that’s what.

l4blitzer

Colts challenging the spot…please stand by…please stand by…please stand by

Patrick

Welp, now they’ll get that first down.

Joe

it looks like he got the first down

l4blitzer

Aikman with a Farve story…uh, I am not sure that is something I would throw in, even to kill time

Joe

[KITTEN]

Patrick

I [KITTEN]ing get it y’all they got the first down, let’s get on with it.

l4blitzer

Colts win the challenge. I might have saved it, but se la vive

Joe

jonathan taylor headed to the locker room

not sure what happened

vballretired

Excessive competence

l4blitzer

I would be happy, but the Colts’ other backs have feasted as well

Patrick

Don’t toy with my emotions Joe.

Joe

i think it was code brown

oh yeah i guess we’re gonna have to end the third quarter again

vballretired

Should try Whoops I [KITTEN]ped my pants

OK, FOR REAL, END OF THE 3RD: HOU 17 - IND 14. IND STILL INSIDE THE HOU 25

vballretired

Who is Tart

Patrick

Teart Tart, we picked him up off waivers from Methopotamia.

vballretired

Alberquerque?

l4blitzer

Apparently, he had a bad attitude with the BE-SFs. [Insert joke here]

Joe

starting to do some things against the run

3rd down!

Patrick

“But I’m not attracted to my sister, coach”

Vrabel: (cut)

l4blitzer

For all that has happened with the Houston defense…they have held Indy to 0-8 on 3rd downs

vballretired

0 for 9

Kenneth L.

Ugh

Tie game

I’m nervous

GAY WITH THE 35 YD FG: HOU 17 - IND 17; 13:33, 4th

Kenneth L.

This game gives me tragic ending vibes for us

Joe

dont say it!! it can’t be true!!!

l4blitzer

Official box scores still showing 0-8. However, the main number is….zero

Joe

CJ Stroud has the narrative-breaking magic to turn that tragic ending into victory

vballretired

Ugggg

Patrick

Taylor has an injured heel. Won’t be returning.

l4blitzer

Like 10 games have come down to the final minute with Houston. We can’t change the narrative now

HOU POSSESSION

Joe

here we go!

l4blitzer

Not a bad return by Pierce

Joe

funny to see him excelling at that instead of in the run game

catch by andrew beck

that might be houston’s first running first down

besides the stroud scramble

l4blitzer

Stroud never saw him..but the backside block has got to hold better

Joe

[KITTEN]

l4blitzer

That’ll help

Joe

pass again!!! dont run again!

schultz again!

vballretired

Deiter sucks

l4blitzer

Indy will rue that missed tackle on 2nd down

Patrick

Did he come back in? I wasn’t sure if he got back from the tent.

l4blitzer

Gotta be a facemask on that one

Joe

[DURGA] [KITTEN]

l4blitzer

Never mind…of course it will be against us

Patrick

I hope when they look back at this season, whenever that is, they take a big fat [KITTEN]ing look at all the penalties they committed.

Because this is unacceptable.

l4blitzer

Just like they drew it up

Joe

NICO COLLINS!!!!

Kenneth L.

Good golly Miss Molly what a catch

Joe

that was such a throw and catch

season saving throw and catch

i swear if this another flag

l4blitzer

….and another pre-snap penalty….maybe…or will it be on the Ponies

“We’re just gonna play it over” I never heard that as accepted ref language in any training I ever attended

Joe

eliminating the 5-yard run by the singletary for the do-over play lol

Patrick

Snort my [KITTEN] ref, you called that on Houston in the first [KITTEN]ing quarter.

vballretired

These refs suck

l4blitzer

And they get a 9 yard screen instead….I’ll take that trade-off

Joe

there’s a good CHUM

under 8 minutes left now

l4blitzer

…and the Rockets upset the Bucks, despite Giannis going for 48…anyway, back to the game

Bad news…lost yardage…good news…Houston gets another 2nd and long…seems to be our thing right now

Joe

AAAAAAA

Patrick

Glory to Texans’ yo-yo offense.

l4blitzer

I think we may benefit from a horse-collar

Joe

oh my goodness is he good at throwing the football

l4blitzer

Of course, it only cost the Colts like 1.75 yards

Joe

touchdown singletary!!!

Kenneth L.

TUDDY

yay

Patrick

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Kenneth L.

My heart

Can’t handle

vballretired

Drive of the year under the circumstances

Kenneth L.

[DURGA] [KITTEN]

SINGLETARY WITH THE 3 YD TD RUSH: HOU 23 (FAIRBARIN WITH THE MISSED PAT) - IND 17; 6:20, 4th

Joe

[DURGA] [DURGA]

always something weird

Kenneth L.

Vball you RUINED ME T

it**

If that costs us the playoffs….

I’ll never forgive him

l4blitzer

At this point, even if you have a medically sound cardiovascular system, get your doctor’s permission to continue watching this game

vballretired

What the [KITTEN]?

Now that’s a weird car commercial

Patrick

I think he was saying he’ll never forgive Fairbairn if that’s the difference between playoffs and no.

IND POSSESSION

Joe

taylor is back

l4blitzer

Play action from Indy…I think

Joe

i swear if that extra point is the difference i might die for real

Patrick

Of course he is. He was only doubtful to return which means usually they’re done for the day.

l4blitzer

That back-side hit on Taylor nearly drove him into the River Dis in [KITTEN]

Joe

NOOOO

l4blitzer

Bad tackling by the secondary on that one

Patrick

I hate this so much.

I hate this run defense so much in this moment.

Joe

why do all the games have to be so scary!!!

Patrick

I hate this whatever the [KITTEN] pass defense they just ran on the field.

l4blitzer

Taylor may not be 100%. Feel like they want to get the big play-action

Two down territory

Joe

its gonna be another penalty on the texans!

Patrick

Because this is the year they discover they have something. Next year should be when they make the leap to contender.

Joe

I CANT BELIEVE IT

i dont wanna wait till next year!

l4blitzer

Oh, of course another penalty on Houston….so much for the 0-fer on 3rd downs

Kenneth L.

Another penalty

11. Wow

l4blitzer

If there is any silver lining…it requires the Colts to score a TD….bend but don’t break has held them out of the end zone most of the time

Joe

3rd down again!!!

perryman is hurt

l4blitzer

A game of attrition for Houston

Patrick

Sure, why not. It’s not like we have a ton of injuries already.

Joe

2:40 left

l4blitzer

Now would be a good time for the 1st turnover of the game

Joe

oh my goodness

TWO MINUTE WARNING

Joe

oh man

oh man!!!

Kenneth L.

He got it

Patrick

OH [KITTEN] YOU REF.

Joe

the refs seriously have it out for houston in this game

l4blitzer

Where…oh, where, have we seen this story before? Houston holding a lead, on defense, with the opposing team now inside the Houston 25.

Joe

soon here if taylor breaks it open you might just wanna let him score

vballretired

2022 run defense strikes again

Joe

get stroud the ball back with over a minute left only needing a fg

good play by christian harris

l4blitzer

I am not sure that is great for Indy. They are going to have to throw it more than once. I get wanting to bleed the clock down, but Indy has to get the ball in the end zone. Even with Houston struggling on giving up yards, they tend to keep teams out of the end zone

Joe

i hate jonathan taylor

l4blitzer

Both teams with all 3 TOs…didn’t think I would see that

Joe

he didn’t get it!

oh [DURGA]

Patrick

If this were BOB we’d have blown them in the third and squandered the challenge just now.

l4blitzer

4th down….

Joe

oh my [DURGA]

my heart’

l4blitzer

Was Indy trying to draw us offsides? Actually, the way this game has gone, not a bad strategy

Patrick

Frankly, I’m surprised they didn’t give it to them there.

Kenneth L.

I’m not okay

Joe

AAAAAAA

AAAAAAA

LETS GOOOOO

HE DROPPED IT!!!!!

IND WITH THE DROPPED PASS; HOU POSSESSION

Patrick

YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSS!!!!!

l4blitzer

Can’t get too cute. Colts have 2 TOs

vballretired

Oh my Durga!!!!!!!!!!

Joe

HE DROPPED IT!!!! OH MY [DURGA]!!!!

l4blitzer

Texans run, Colts take a TO…Texans run again, probably gets it down to 15-ish seconds. Indy goes for the all-out punt block, but if we get it off, great chance to escape

54 seconds now…Texans can get it to under 15 seconds with a run

Even better…should get it to 7-9 seconds left

Joe

oh my [DURGA] the texans are gonna win!!! i cna’t believe it!!!

vballretired

Hold it right there

Patrick

Joe, no! Stop!

Wait!

Never mind.

l4blitzer

Frank Ross’ punt protection has to play their greatest game of all time on this one…Colts bringing the entire state of Indiana after this punt

Patrick

TEXANS GONNA WIN THE FOOTBALL GAME! TEXANS GONNA WIN THE FOOTBALL GAME!

l4blitzer

Was going to say to take the safety,….which they did

vballretired

There will be five more questions

Joe

funny way to end the regular season haha

HOU GIVES UP THE SAFETY: HOU 23 - IND 19; 0:01, 4th

l4blitzer

Ok, the Free Kick needs to be the greatest free kick in Johnston’s career

Kenneth L.

He should have punted the ball

Like why not?

l4blitzer

If he could have held the ball one more second….it really works. Still, I’ll trust Frank Ross and the kick coverage

Patrick

They ran time off the clock which is more important than the points right now.

FINAL: HOU 23 - IND 19; HOU MOVES TO 10-7 AND AWAITS SUNDAY’S RESULTS TO FIGURE OUT WHO AND WHERE THEY PLAY NEXT WEEKEND….YES, HOUSTON IS GOING TO THE MOTHER[KITTEN] PLAYOFFS!!!! (Update: By virtue of the Titans’ 28-20 victory over the Jaguars, the Houston Texans completed a worst to first story and won their seventh division title in franchise history.)

Joe

TEXANS WIN!!! TEXANS WIN!!! IT’S PARTY TIME!!! THEY’RE GOING TO THE PLAYOFFS AND THEY DESERVE IT!! I DON’T CARE IF THEY WERE LUCKY AND MADE TOO MANY MISTAKES OR WHATEVER ELSE THEY WANNA SAY, THE TEXANS HAVE MADE IT!!!!

Kenneth L.

playoffs playoffs

vballretired

Ok, week 19 of BRB coverage coming up

Kenneth L.

WE ARE GOING TO THE PLAYOFFS

l4blitzer

Wait, does this mean we have to cheer for the BE-SFs tomorrow? [LOUD RETCHING NOISES]…Ok, I guess I’ll allow it

Joe

CJ Stroud was fantastic again, the defense was good (except for the run), and they made big plays and got lucky when they needed it! they have everything a playoff team needs, and they’re dangerous!

screw the colts!

l4blitzer

Hey, Ryans has the best rookie season for a head coach since….that BO’B dude…eh, it is far superior

vballretired

But we play the Browns if they won. I’d rather not play them again

l4blitzer

Browns would be tough, but we will have Stroud back…and Anderson for that matter…maybe Greenard. If we can get those three back on the field, we might have a better shot.

GAME BALLS:

WR Nico Collins: Nine receptions, 195 yards and one massive TD would be enough of a stat-line for this honor by itself. Yet, the way that Collins played is what stands out. Along with the massive 75 yard TD to start the game, he was the primary offensive weapon for Stroud. Usually, Collins put up those numbers at NRG this season. On this night, he made Lucas Oil his home. Additionally, he had a couple of receptions when he channeled his inner Mark Bavaro and trucked a couple of Colts’ defensive backs trying to tackle him. His two long receptions on the go-ahead TD drive were perhaps his best receptions of the season. Understatement of the season: This was a breakout campaign for Collins.

QB CJ Stroud: At this point, what more can you say about the Offensive Rookie of the Year? 20 of 26 for 264 yards and two TD/zero INTs, which is a nice stat-line. However, just how he ran the offense in this most pressure-packed of games shows why there is so much optimism about him. Especially at Lucas Oil Stadium, which has been a house of horrors for Houston, he was as cool and calm as you can imagine. He even contributed some key scrambles, all while protecting himself. Historically, rookies don’t tend to do well in the playoffs, but Stroud is not your ordinary rookie.

Houston’s Third Down and Red Zone Defense: Maybe Ryans and Burke don’t want to call their defensive philosophy bend-but-don’t-break, but that is what it works out to, and it was super effective in that department. For all the rushing yards (227) that Houston surrendered, the Colts could only score 16 offensive points. The Texans held the Colts to 1/11 on third downs, and three Colts’ red zone trips resulted in only six points. Set aside the long TD run from Taylor, and the Texans’ defense held up incredibly well.

RB Jonathan Taylor (Colts): To paraphrase Churchill, “across the gulf of conflict, I salute you.” If you wondered why the Colts would pay Taylor $42M over the next three years, replay the game tape from this one. Taylor ran all over what up to this point has been a strong run defense in Houston. 30 carries for 188 yards. On a night when the Colts could not stop Stroud and when Minshew had significant trouble throwing the ball, Taylor nearly ran the Colts into the playoffs single-handedly. Even when he left for injury, he came back, and was not the explosive back that galloped for the 49 yard third quarter TD, but he methodically ran over Houston to get the Colts into scoring position. Why he wasn’t on the field for that fourth and one? Well, fortunately for Houston, that is a question the Colts will spend the off-season trying to answer.

SHOULD BE FORCED TO LISTEN TO JIM IRSAY’S GUITAR RIFFS AND WATCH HIS OLD MAN DANCING MOVES ON REPEAT FOR A FULL WEEK:

Texans Penalties: Sure, we can give the refs some blame, ‘cause why not? However, 11 penalties for 69 yards makes a game way more difficult than necessary. Unfortunately for Houston, many of them were self-inflected. Two false starts by Tunsil and a needless helmet-to-helmet hit by King did not help matters. First down penalties put the Texans behind the chains in the fourth quarter, only to see Stroud bail the offense out on the follow-up second downs. Some of that could be attributed to a young team in a pressure packed game, and Lucas Oil was loud. Still, if Houston wants to hope of moving forward, they can’t have a double-digit flag game in the playoffs.

The Entire Jacksonville Franchise: At one point in the season, the Jags were 8-3, and had legitimate visions of the top overall seed in the AFC. They finished 9-8 and out of the playoffs. They gifted a team that this time last year was thinking why they didn’t finish with the #1 overall pick a division title and a home playoff game. This, after they had practically the same thing happen last season with the Titans. Hopefully, Houston can break that trend, but this is going to be a loooonnnnggg off-season in Duval. However, y’all do get our thanks from Houston.

Thus, we conclude the regular season version of Hair of the Dog. Yet, the season is far from over. Houston gets another home game. This time, it is a return visit from Cleveland. In the finest NFL tradition, the Texans open the playoffs at home in the Saturday afternoon time slot, on NBC/Peacock this Saturday at 3:30 CST. See y’all there.