Texans-Bengals: 4 Winners, 4 Losers, Playoff Edition
4. Matt Schaub, "big game" QB
All right, Matt Schaub. Yes, he came away with the win, and yes, he had more on his plate than T.J. Yates did in last season's blowout win over the Bengals. (If you remember, Yates was barely asked to do much more than cleanly handle snaps and hand the ball to Arian Foster, going 11 of 20 for 159 yards with one deep hit to Andre Johnson.) Many will put the red zone failures on Schaub's ticket, but if you look deeper at the three possessions that ended in Shayne Graham chip shots, that would only be partially true:
- 2nd Quarter, 3rd and 8 CIN 14: Schaub threw a five yard safety valve to Kevin Walter. Not really Schaub's fault, nobody open.
- 2nd quarter, 3rd and 3 CIN 4: Schaub threw a less than perfect pass to a wide open Andre Johnson on the goal line. More Schaub's fault than Andre.
- 3rd quarter, red zone possession got scuttled right out of the shoot by Brandon Brooks holding on first down from the nine. Not Schaub's fault.
The criticism would be that the Bradys, Rodgers, and Mannings of the world make those throws, find a way to score even with negative plays like the holding call. Yeah, well, Schaub's not in their class. We know that. However. the most chilling Schaub play of the afternoon if you hold out any Super Bowl dreams was the pick six to Leon Hall. One thing to be unable to make the Brady/Rodgers/Manning throws, another thing to actually make the Sanchez/Skelton/Gabbert throws.
3. Andy Dalton, "big game" QB
I don't live in Cincinnati so I don't know what that fan base's threshold is for "Tarzan regular season, Jane post season" quarterback performances. Frankly, they've had so few Tarzan regular seasons, I'd think Bengals fans would still be patient with Andy Dalton. But two postseason losses in two seasons with no touchdown passes and four interceptions, not to mention a passer rating of 48.6 in those two games can make fans very feisty. If you're Dalton, one way to trump bad numbers is to make a play when it matters, steal a game you don't deserve to win. On Dalton's chance to do that Saturday, he overthrew an open A.J. Green in the end zone on third down with about three minutes to go in the game. A touchdown would've given the Bengals a 20-19 lead. On fourth down and 11, Dalton threw an 8 yard pass to Marvin Jones. So yes, a "December Schaub-ian" performance for Dalton.
Completely my bad this weekend on no "BATTLE-DRINK" Bingo drinking game card this week. Holidays got away from me a little bit. I trust all of you drunks out there still found a framework that allowed you to get rip roaring wasted. I promise this Sunday, I won't let you down. We will have playoff BATTLE-DRINK!
1. "Plan ahead" gamblers
Most of the tough "gambling beat" stories involve an occurrence at the very end of whatever game the wager has been placed on. A Hail Mary touchdown, a half court shot, a questionable coaching decision that directly effects the outcome of the game in the waning moments of the game. When is there such thing as a tough gambling beat before a game even starts? When you've placed a wager on the Minnesota Vikings during the week expecting Christian Ponder to be their quarterback and finding out in pregame warmups that Ponder has a triceps contusion and Joe Webb will be the starter. That happened this weekend. Nothing like being penalized for planning ahead, eh Vikings in-week wagerers?
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, and watch the simulcast on Comcast 129 from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
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