Last One Out Close The Roof: Texans-Broncos (4 Winners, 4 Losers)
|Photos by Groovehouse|
4. Matt Schaub
....who countered Peyton's huge day with this stat line: 18-37, 176 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions, 3 sacks taken (including two in a row to take the Texans out of game tying field goal range in the third quarter), and countless check downs. Have we checked to see that Schaub isn't actually the third Carr brother?
3. Texans Secondary, Celebration Station
I know there's no official metric out there to accurately gauge it, but if there were, I'm fairly confident that the Texans would lead the league in CTAP ratio. That stands for Celebration-To-Actual-Production ratio. It's been this way all season, but my two favorite episodes of excessive, unwarranted celebration Sunday came on the following:
1) The first Denver drive of the game when Shiloh Keo celebrated a third down pass breakup with a ridiculous strut, when virtually every other safety in the league probably would have picked the pass off and still have been running to the end zone.
2) In the fourth quarter, cornerback Brandon Harris trash talked Denver wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (after blatantly holding his arm) on an incompletion, after which Peyton Manning promptly tossed it over the top to Eric Decker for a touchdown on the next play.
2. Derek Carr as a Houston Texan legacy
We all know that Texans' owner Bob McNair has a special affinity for David Carr, and anything Carr related. In 2006, he made the impossible task of fixing the mentally spent signal caller a condition of employment for whoever the new head coach would be, and consequently ended up hanging onto him another year (some would argue several more years) longer than he should have. Now, along comes another Carr, younger brother Derek, being touted as a possible high draft choice in a draft where a) the texans need a quarterback and b) will be drafting high. And despite Carr's throwing for nearly 5,000 yards and 48 touchdowns this season, Texan fans have understandably screamed a collective "NOOOOOOOO" anytime his name comes up.
Well, I think you can all rest easy, Houston, because after the younger Carr's performance in the Las Vegas Bowl against USC, even Bob McNair has to be a little bit scared off. Carr went 29 of 54 for 217 yards (a paltry 4.0 yards per attempt), and if you watched the game, you saw him routinely overthrow Fresno State wide receivers and panic in the face of USC's pass rush. Honestly, if I were an NFL general manager, I wouldn't touch him until the third round. If you're using a first or second round pick on a quarterback, it has to be someone you feel very confident in taking you to a Super Bowl, and given that that was Carr's only game against a collective defense with NFL talent and that's what happened, I'd stay away. Buyer beware. My guess? Carr needs a huge Senior Bowl to wash the taste of that USC game out of scouts' mouths.
1. Mike Leach
There's no doubt about Mike Leach's tactical impact on the college football landscape. The Washington State head coach is one of the godfathers of the spread concepts and pass happy offenses we see proliferating the college game today. So how does a guy who is so smart become so stupid in the last five minutes of games in which he is coaching? Up 15 points with four minutes to go in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl (a tradition like no other!), Leach still had his quarterback Connor Halliday throwing the ball. Two incompletions in particular could have burned off over a minute of clock time and made a Colorado State comeback a virtual impossibility. Instead, his team punted, gave up a touchdown, coughed up a fumble and another score to tie the game, and then coughed up a fumble on the ensuing kickoff with less than 30 seconds to go that led to the winning field goal. 18 points in the final 2:52, and a 45-30 lead became a 48-45 loss.
Shhhh, genius at work.
And if you think there is a bad gambling beat story behind the reason I'm including Mike Leach in a Texans' column, well, then you must be a regular reader of mine.
Starting January 3, 2014, listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.