Monday, September 27, 2010

Cowboys Break Texans

This was not the Dallas Cowboys' first rodeo, and they proved it by breaking the Houston Texans' quest to remain undefeated through its first 3 games of the 2010 season for the first time in franchise history. Dallas owned Houston with a 27 - 13 victory that was not as close as better than lapping the Texans might sound.

Desperate and 0 - 2, Dallas came to Houston for a contest that locals hoped would result in Texas Pro-Football little brother finally getting the best of the perennial relatively superior neighbor to the north. It was not to be, as the Cowboys for the better part of 59 minutes faced an opponent whose point total was less than its total number of possessions with a couple of measly field goals to show for an afternoon of missed opportunities and failed execution.

When that kind of stagnant production includes the inability to punch it in with First and Goal from inside the 1-yard line, it's pretty clear the mindset of the two teams on the field and who will win the game. Couple with that a Dallas offense that finally delivered on its potential with better than 75% efficiency, 284 yards, 2:0 TD/int ratio and a 127 QB rating for Romo...and Houston had no shot.

Specifically, a continuation of a porous secondary exploited by potent passing attacks made swiss-cheese of the Texans' defense as Dez Bryant was a beast for the Cowboys, and Roy Williams played like a superstar with 2 TD receptions. The defense could not get off the field, or be kept off of it by Schaub and the offense. This was in no small part due to the ineffectiveness of Rashad Butler, replacement for suspended Duane Brown, lining up across from DeMarcus Ware who notched 3 sacks and led a D-line that created havoc for Matt Schaub all day long.

Dallas came to play and win and Houston was an obliging host.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fans' Reaction to Texans' Suspensions Reveal True Sentiment: Just Win Baby!

Remember when the Houston Texans were pure as the wind-driven snow and losers? Then they were lovable and stuck in win-lose purgatory with two consecutive .500 seasons? Not 100 days after completion of the first winning season in franchise history, Brian Cushing illustrated that innocence is the first casualty of success in the NFL when he revealed he had tested positive for banned substances, and was handed down a 4-game suspension.

Now, not even 100 hours after the franchise's first overtime victory enroute to a 2 - 0 beginning to a promising season, Duane Brown is accepting and beginning sentence immediately on his 4-game suspension for banned substances.

I'm waiting to hear from a single Houston Texans fan that it will negatively impact either their feelings or allegiance to the team. Conveniently pointed out is that there were no victims or reckless behavior that potentially threatened people other than themselves. No DUIs, no domestic abuse charges, no drug dealing, etc.

But the team, if only because of a couple of players, is being reasonably identified as comprised of some who, at worst, will do whatever it takes to win. And, at best, will not take into account the benefits of leveraging every organization-provided advantage available to ensure that they avoid unfortunate test results.

Houston Texans---you're better than that.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Texans Put Redskins on Ice

The Houston Texans stared defeat square in the eyes during a tough Sunday afternoon road game and didn't blink. Trailing by 17 late in the 3rd quarter, the offense began to click. The role players began to produce and its stars began to shine. Matt Schaub finished with 73% efficiency on 38 of 52 pass attempts with a 3:1 TD/int ratio and a QB rating of 114.

Arian Foster's relatively diminished output of 60+ yards rushing was nicely complemented with 3 catches for another 60+ yards that put his total production over 130. Jacoby Jones continued his development with a nifty goal line touchdown pattern early in the game and a crucial crunch-time reception late in the contest in front of the opponent's sideline. Kevin Walters and Andre Johnson combined for over 300 yards and a touchdown each with their sterling play.

But credit MUST be given to the defense that for the better part of 3 quarters was rung up for 27 points as Donovan McNabb had just his 3rd 400-yard passing game in his illustrious 12 year career. They finally stiffened, and Bernard Pollard pulling duty on special teams incredibly blocked a Graham Gano field goal attempt that turned out to be an ominous sign for the rookie kicker from Florida State that otherwise probably would have "iced" the game with a 10-point lead. Taking over on downs and trailing 27 – 20, the Texans drove down the field with brave catches by Walters, Daniels and Dreesen over the middle, and a miracle 4th and 10 35-yard “jump ball” touchdown to Johnson to tie the game and force overtime.

The icewater in the veins of a defense that didn't allow another point by the Redskins, the steadfast faith in that squad by Gary Kubiak to punt away the ball and play field position after failing to convert with the overtime period's first possession, and the "icing of the kicker" that worked effectively against Gano to negate his otherwise successful first attempt at a 52-yard game-winner... meant Houston would prevail with their own game-winning field goal of 35 yards by Neil Rackers.

The Texans have returned home to Houston with a 2 - 0 record to host a no-doubt desperate 0 - 2 Dallas Cowboys team this Sunday in Reliant Stadium.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Price of Success

The price of success is the expectation of continued achievement, and the bill begins to accrue immediately.

The Houston Texans' defeat of division nemesis Indianapolis resulted in a well-deserved moment of congratulations among players, coaches, and executives. They then turned their attention towards this weekend for the season's first road game in week #2 against the also 1-0 Washington Redskins.

A nationally televised Sunday afternoon game that leads into The NFL on CBS post-game show is a tremendous opportunity for the nation to finally recognize the merit of the Houston Texans. Highlighted will be a review of their week #1 victory over Manning and the Colts, and what that represented, but only if the team showed maturity for a road victory in front of a crowd 30% larger than that which they play in front of in Houston. That's what it will take for the Texans to return home 2-0 for only the second time in franchise history to face the under-performing Dallas Cowboys.

And therein lies the challenge. The coaches have got to deliver on preparation, and the players on dedication, consistency, and continuity of teamwork and execution...all while maintaining and building on resiliency, resolve, and reaction to the challenges of winning on the road.

If they are successful, theirs will be a victory with a reward of immense hunger to host Dallas in week #3 of the regular season as they did in week #3 of the pre-season: With a complete thrashing!

Hey Houston Texans...Get your wallets out!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

You've read the rest...Here's the best!

Very well-behaved well-to-do Indianapolis fans had flown down to Houston with their team for the Houston Texans home opener in Reliant Stadium. As they watched from the sideline during Pre-Game warm up, they informed me of just what to expect from Peyton Manning and the rest of the Colts: Domination!

"They simply just don't lose in September. Although we respect (code for they try, but can't win) the Texans, they just can't handle the firepower of Indy."

Then, it happened. The Houston Texans organization, coaching staff, and players delivered on their promise of an entire off-season's worth of preparation. The players displayed a team mindset as a unit, not individual players that may or may not add up to a successful play, series, quarter, or game. They flawlessly executed schemes and plays that yielded sustained drives with TDs on offense, curtailed drives on defense, and yielded all important field position on special teams.

A Texans 34 - 24, never-trailed victory was the result of a franchise record-setting day on rushing attempts and rushing yards by a single back, defense that perfectly blended pressure and punishment to yield timely turnovers, and a crowd whose energy infused the team, and vice-versa.

But most impressive was that after such a statement of a season opening win against the perennial division big brother, to a man the team spoke with humble perspective about what the victory meant: a chance to prepare for next week with a victory under their belt.

This team has flown under the radar this off season, and upcoming opponents are as clueless about these new Texans as were the Colts! Their next two opponents - Washington and Dallas - played each other last night and combined for less than two offensive touchdowns.

Here comes the best!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sweet Caroline

With less than a week to go before the NFL Season begins, let's momentarily distract ourselves from the delicious anticipation of the Houston Texans' campaign by allowing me to divert your attention to the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadow, New York. And in honor of newest Houston Texan Matt Leinart, let's do it with just a bit too much "horn-dog-iness"!

It's a good thing Caroline Wozniacki had just a LITTLE more of that neon, Day-Glo Yellow nail polish so she could then ALSO paint on those shorts she was wearing underneath that waist-length bustier masquerading as a tennis outfit.

I mean, is she the women's #1 Seed at the U.S. Open, or one of The PussyCat Dolls?!!!

I haven't had a crush on a tennis player this bad since Andre Agassi himself brought HIS tight little stone-washed, denim-clad money-maker and long, flowing gold mane to the game. And speaking of a man whose return was legendary...Wozniacki is incredible! Everything you hit to her, no matter how good, SHE HITS BACK!

Wozniacki? More like "Wall"zniacki. And when you factor in her femme fatal looks, it's "Balls to the 'Wall'zniacki"!

And speaking of Andre...Has anyone seen him lately? How do we know she isn't really him? How do we know that he hasn't once again stapled an overly-bleached blonde wig to his head to thrill a U.S. Open crowd with his amazing play?!!!

Just Kidding, Caroline...You're sweet, indeed!