Monday, November 29, 2010

Arian Foster Spurs Texans to Victory over Titans

Here stood the Houston Texans on a late fall, brisk blue-sky, Thanksgiving Holiday-weekend Football Sunday beneath an open roof at Reliant Stadium.

Despite how nicely things had been shaping up earlier in the season for Houston to perhaps compete for the AFC-South, the Texans were now sitting at 4 - 6 as division cellar dwellers with the notoriety of a team on pace to have the worst defense in the history of the NFL. Their losing record of 2 - 3 at home did not exactly engender confidence in the fan base as they prepared to host the 5 - 5, third place in the division, Tennessee Titans. The "ex-Oilers" had their own issues what with the most recently written chapter in the soap opera that is the continuing Vince Young-Jeff Fisher-Bud Adams saga.

Houston, however, could not afford to concern themselves with that. They had their own problems, not the least of which was flirting with once again failing to make the playoffs. While not yet mathematically eliminated from post-season contention, the home town team was probably playing for pride; trying desperately to salvage for themselves and their fans something-anything-with some semlance of value from an otherwise disappointing season. And with six weeks remaining in the campaign, conceivably, there was still time to recover to achieve at least yet another .500 mark with an 8 - 8 record...what would be their third in the last four years.

The Houston Texans responded. Quarterback Matt Schaub played well with 71% efficiency on 25 of 35 attempts for 178 yards, yielding two touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 101.8. Arian Foster racked up 143 yards rushing on 30 attempts, with another 75 yards receiving. Joel Dreessen caught three passes including a Red Zone score off of a play-action fake to Foster, and Andre Johnson caught nine of eleven targeted throws for 56 yards and a touchdown.

Tennessee's rookie quarterback Rusty Smith was sacked, rattled, and ineffective as he threw for only 138 yards and three interceptions. Titans running back Chris Johnson, coming into the game just 32 yards shy of 1,000 on the season, was held to only five yards, and Randy Moss could not have been more of a non-factor.

Punctuating a feisty "We've had enough of this" attitude was Andre Johnson receiving a 4th-quarter ejection for fighting when he took into his own hands the issue of Tennessee's cornerback and league-renowned dirty player Cortland Finnegan.

True Texans wear spurs. Today we found out that Houston still had a little "jingle" left in theirs as they shut out the Titans 20 - 0.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Houston Texans Rank as Generals

The Houston Texans find more ways to lose games than the Washington Generals. And though there's no time to go globetrotting for excuses for the lapses, breakdowns, and failures, there ARE 6 weeks remaining for this team to prevent themselves from going down in the record books as losers.

Houston is not going to win the AFC-South. Perched way out here on my limb I'll share with you my rationale: Indianapolis is going to reel off six straight wins to complete their regular season at 12 - 4 (4 - 2 in the division). Houston will strongly compete at a pace of 4 - 2 to finish 8 - 8 (3 - 3), tied for second with Jacksonville who will stumble to a 2 - 4 conclusion of 8 - 8 (3 - 3). Tennesseee and it's Love Triangle Soap Opera of Vince Young, Jeff Fisher, and Bud Adams will limp out of 2010 1 - 5 to 6 - 10 and round out the division at 2 - 4.

8 - 8 will not yield an AFC team a WildCard-berth. The conference is too stacked with talented and successful teams. The precious two remaining spots in addition to the AFC's four division champions will likely be New York or New England (depending on which of the two takes the AFC-East) and Baltimore (behind likely AFC-North Champion Pittsburgh). But in a season of such heartbreaking losses despite a roster full of exciting talent and grand expectations, you can at least be glad the Houston Texans will not finish with a losing record.

Just know that finishing 8 - 8 is going to be accompanied with the following cold splash of reality: Bob McNair will keep Gary Kubiak as Head Coach. He'll probably announce it with a bucket of confetti whistling Sweet Georgia Brown!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Texans Fanbase Running on Empty

Your tank of enthusiasm for the Houston Texans is on "E".

The Texans are finding more ways to lose than the Washington Generals. Lackluster effort, poor game-planning, unimaginitive play-calling, giving up Hail Mary's, literally being the worst defense in NFL history...I could, as you know, go on and on and on.

The details of the loss at New Meadowlands yesterday to the New York Jets are a much less necessary discussion of what has gone wrong for the team than a conversation about what has to happen for the Houston Texans to ever be successful.

What you may now know is that the heartbreak of unfathomable losses, falling short of expectations, and the ability of the team to as easily either stoke the flames of failure as snatch defeat from the jaws of victory is a description of the Houston Texans with which ownership can live.

Why? Because the organization has what the league recognizes as one of the top run franchises in the NFL: One of a fan base comprised of unconditional and blind loyalty. Regardless of performance, the team will sell out Reliant Stadium and those present for the game will fill up on $8 beers and $10 hamburgers. Losing is really not a problem for this franchise's ownership.

If you the fan want a winning team in Houston, you cannot support one that loses the way the Texans do. Low attendance and apathy, even if only feigned, is the only thing that will get the attention of Bob McNair.

When it comes to having a reason in your tank to be excited about the Houston Texans, I know you want to yell, "Fill 'er up!"

Just know that it's Self-Serve...It's on you, Houston.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Dual Over (his) Head Cam

First of all, it looks like this whole Cam Newton thing is about to get a lot easier on him, his family, and Auburn University.

I see that they hired as spokesperson and legal counsel Rafael Palmeiro and the quote from him I just read is, “The accusation that Cecil Newton solicited money in return for his son to play at Mississippi State is absolutely FALSE!"

Sooooo, I’d go ahead and expect this WHOLE thing to just kind of, you know, blow over. WAR EAGLE ! That is, as long as it’s not a Tramp Stamp on some male SEC fan's lower back!

In all seriousness, when it’s all said and done, Cam Newton’s going to look like a highly decorated pig farmer: A very nice award…yes, but covered in crap nonetheless! I’m only half-joking when I say they’re going to have to redesign the Heisman Trophy Award with some special help in the engineering department from Tommy Smothers. That way, the committee can just “Yo-Yo” that thing back any time an investigation of impropriety is complete.

And to think we thought vacating the Heisman that Reggie Bush was awarded would be the first and last of this sort of thing…at least for a long while anyway. Nope, looks like it’s more and more likely going to become quite standard.

I predict there’s going to be a lot of bare pedestals in the next decade at the Downtown Athletic Club.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I Hope We're Doomed to Repeat History!

Last year the Houston Texans returned from a road game against the Jacksonville Jaguars with a head-scratching loss that put them at 5 - 7, but then won the next four games to finish with the first winning record in franchise history.

If the Texans can somehow manage to find a way to lose on the road this weekend (if you're picking up on the sarcasm, to quote David Spade in Tommy Boy,"I should hope so, because I'm laying it on pretty thick!") and fall to 4 - 5, but then win the next four games...they'll be 8 - 5 with a chance to win two of the three remaining games (at Tennessee, at Denver, Jacksonville) for a legitimate chance to make the playoffs with a 10 - 6 record.

If you think THAT'S ridiculous, tell me...what do you think of continuing to start Kareem Jackson!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Houston Texans Suffer Sobering Loss to San Diego Chargers

On a late fall's brisk, blue-sky day at Reliant Stadium the Houston Texans had to be wondering what had become of their not-too-distant and once promising 2 - 0 start to a season that through the first six weeks of the 2010 campaign found them leading outright, or sharing the lead, atop the AFC-South, the only division in the NFL that still had no team with a losing record.

Now 4 - 3 and in third place looking up at the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts, they were hosting the equally befuddled 3 - 5 San Diego Chargers who were also in third place trailing the resurgent Oakland Raiders and surprising Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC-West. But these Chargers were not your typical sub-.500 team. They led the league in both offense and defense, and their quarterback Phillip Rivers was on pace to set an NFL record for single season passing yardage.

In an effort to keep the San Diego high-flying offense off the field, the Texans fed a steady diet of the ball to the NFL's second leading rusher, tops in the AFC, Arian Foster. He totalled 127 yards and two rushing touchdowns on twenty-seven attempts. Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson, targeted just seven times the entire afternoon, caught only four balls for forty-one yards.

Vacancies due to injuries to the Chargers' tight end Antonio Gates and wide receiver Legedu Naanee were aptly filled by Randy McMichael and Seyi Ajirotutu who caught two touchdowns each. Rivers had a stellar day that included 74% efficiency on seventeen of twenty-three attempts, four touchdowns and only one interception, and 295 total yards for a quarterback passing rating of 137.2!

In the end, the Houston Texans had to too often settle for field goals instead of touchdowns in an otherwise exciting game that featured 4 lead changes, the last one courtesy of the San Diego Chargers who prevailed over the Houston Texans 29 - 23.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Let's Go Streaking!

Dating back to last season, the Houston Texans have eleven consecutive times played the "Most Important Game in Franchise History". That streak continues against the visiting San Diego Chargers this Sunday at Reliant Stadium.

If Houston wins, the streak will continue to grow and include the next week's road game against division-rival Jacksonville Jaguars. If the Texans lose, the trip to Florida will be just another game for just another mid-level / bottom-feeder team rounding out the 32 organizations in the NFL.

The underlying identifying feature of the Houston Texans has for the past four years been a team that fails to deliver on the promise of its talent and resources. Performance on the field and coaching from the sidelines and booth continues to fall far short of expectations, but fans' faith and good will has always managed to endure. A loss this Sunday in front of the Texans faithful and they fall to .500 at 4 - 4, with the rest of their division and league smelling blood from a future victim, regardless of where they play.

On the other hand, a home win this Sunday would bolster the Houston Texans' record to 5 - 3, with hope they can then go on the road to secure a very respectable 6 - 3 with a road win against the Jaguars. Follow that up with a little magic on the road against the Jets, and a 7 - 3 Texans team is right in the mix to make the playoffs. I'm not unaware that I've just called for three consecutive wins (two on the road, no less), a winning streak 50% longer than the only other one they've had in 2010, but...

Keep the streak of "Most Important Game in Franchise History" alive!