Texans Reach the Breaking Point, Andre Johnson Walks Off
|Surreal moment between QBs.|
Throw the ball to me and let me go get it. How hard can that be?
You're Andre Johnson. You hope that there are enough years left on the odometer to make up for lost time, catch more touchdowns, win more games, maybe win a Super Bowl. For now, the kid will do. He's clearly the best option on this roster, everybody knows this.
Or do they?
As it turns out, everybody knows this except one person, and unfortunately it's the one person making decisions.
It's Week 11, and the kid struggles (although no worse than the previous quarterback was struggling when he got yanked), the kid gets the hook, and back in comes the cement footed, physically limited, walking Ambien tablet that never threw you the ball in a spot where you could be ANDRE FUCKING JOHNSON.
And as Tony Soprano would say, that's what broke the camel's back.
In the third quarter of Sunday's 28-23 loss to the Oakland Raiders, Gary Kubiak gave quarterback Case Keenum ("the kid") the hook, and reinserted Matt Schaub ("the cement footed, physically limited, walking Ambien tablet") in an attempt to win a football game. Carrying with him a 2013 resume adorned in pick sixes and riddled with second half futility, Schaub entered the game to a chorus of boos so loud that, according to guard Wade Smith, the team had to use its silent counts to run plays.
Think about that -- Matt Schaub got a reception at home whose decibel level was commensurate with that of the Texans' worst enemies.
Oh eventually, it got quiet in the stadium, (That'll happen when half the place clears out and heads to the parking lot.) and the Texans were allowed to go to work, which for them unfortunately meant more of the same -- field goals, futility, and winding up on the business end of somebody else's Sportscenter highlights (That truck that hit you is named "Rashad Jennings," D.J. Swearinger).
Eight losses deep we are now in this streak, and the Texans still have only two touchdowns in the second half of games during this soul crushing stretch. In their failure, the Texans are consistent, if nothing else.
The game Sunday ended in a similar spot to the last time Oakland came to town in 2011, with the Texans down five points, on the doorstep of the Raiders goal line, with Matt Schaub throwing desperately and flimsily into the end zone, this time to Johnson who had no fewer than four white shirts around him.
What happened next will either be the beginning of a defining moment or just the latest chapter in the season of Playmakers that 2013 has become here in Houston. (Or both.) Andre Johnson and Matt Schaub, partners in a fairly productive, peaceful coexistence since 2007, yelled at each other on the sidelines, loudly and publicly.
How it started isn't important. What needs to be understood is that Matt Schaub, with millions watching and in the middle of his worst season, thought it was okay to critique and engage argumentatively with Andre Johnson publicly over screwing up. I don't know that Matt Schaub has ever had the equity to make what happened on Sunday acceptable, but if he did, he forfeited that equity several pick sixes ago this season.
Of all the moments Matt Schaub needed to realize he is Matt Schaub, this was it.
And now we know, tone deaf trickles down to the quarterback, in perfect lockstep with his head coach as they steer the franchise into the iceberg, they finally did the seemingly impossible -- they drove one of the few marquee wide receivers who eschews diva tendencies, who always puts team first, to go into business for himself.
With the way Gary Kubiak seems to grade certain players on a curve, I've had to say this many times in 2013 -- there is a breaking point where excess loyalty to poor performers crosses into disloyalty to star performers.
On Sunday, make no mistake, Andre Johnson finally reached that breaking point. On Sunday, Matt Schaub did to Andre Johnson what he's done to so many Texans fans this season.
On Sunday, Matt Schaub made Andre Johnson say, "F*** this."
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