Houston Texans -- The Green Mile, 5 Winners and 5 Losers
|Texans fans: Enjoy it today, resume griping tomorrow|
You can try and bring me down with your texts and tweets and phone calls about the sieve that is the Texans defense (ranked 31st in the league, and that's only because Buffalo still houses an NFL franchise), about how the offense just can't be expected to go out and score 30 or more every weekend, about Gary Kubiak's "one brain fart per game" (first quarter time-out before a punt, which was actually aborted because they didn't call it in time) becoming as embedded a Texan tradition as Toro coming out on his four wheeler before the opening introductions.I'm not saying don't criticize, the team must be held accountable, but damn -- somewhere along the way, a fan base whose team has never been to the playoffs decided to skip right past "enjoy the moment" and get into obsessing over HOW the team won. I know how they won. They scored more points than the Chiefs. Enjoy it, people
As for Sunday's game, I'm reminded of the scene in The Green Mile where death row inmate Eduard Delacroix (before he got the Vikings head coaching job) is scheduled to be executed. Percy Wetmore, the insolent little shithead prison guard, requested that he specifically have "wet the sponge/ask for any final requests" duty for Del's execution. Only one problem -- unbeknownst to everyone else in the room, Percy chose not to wet the sponge, which is a little like choosing not to put oil in your car.
If you've seen the movie, you know what happens from there -- the switch gets flipped, Del's entire body immediately starts to burn like a marshmallow someone sticks into a campfire, the attendees all begin to vomit like the "Lard Ass" scene in Stand By Me, and a stampede to get out the back door ensues. Ultimately, Eduard Delacroix dies in what was more of a bonfire than it was an electric chair execution.
Monumentally pissed off, the warden seeks out Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks), who was the officer in charge of the whole fiasco, finds him and lays into him -- "What in the blue fuck was that? Jesus Christ. There's puke all over the floor up there. And the smell. I got Van Hay to open both doors, but that smell won't go out for years. That's what I'm betting. Now, what in the hell happened?"
Edgecomb calmly replied, "An execution. A successful one." To which the warden asked how you can call a clusterfuck like that a success.
Matter of factly, Edgecomb said, "Eduard Delacroix is dead."
For three and a half quarters yesterday afternoon, the Texans were collectively char-grilling themselves in the electric chair, and fans were vomiting all over each other as they (prematurely) sprinted for the exits.
Ultimately, though the bottom line is the bottom line. Edgecomb was right. There are no style points, not in capital punishment nor NFL games.
Eduard Delacroix is dead. And the Texans are 4-2.
1. Plasma Replacement Therapy. After the Texans sat Andre Johnson for the Raiders game a few weeks ago to rest his ailing ankle, conventional wisdom was that they were starting a run of games through the bye week where he would be able to get healthy. However, Dre made it back on the field for the Giants (a lackluster effort by all involved including number 80), and returned to his old self on Sunday against the Chiefs with eight catches, including three on the final drive and the winning touchdown. Score one for platelet-rich plasma therapy.
2. Matt Schaub. Before you get too wrapped up in how the Texans are winning these games, particularly the Redskins and Chiefs games, just remember that (a) there are three NFL teams with one loss and then eighteen with a winning percentages between .500 and .667 and the Texans are one of them, and (b) this is the type of game they lost last year. Lots of times. Schaub has turned into one of the better clutch quarterbacks in the league since last December.
3. People who get bored easily. For those who haven't noticed, the Texans are one of several teams who employ someone whose job is specifically to snap for punts and kicks. His name is Jon Weeks (number 46, if you need him) and he's fairly easy to pick out. Just picture how you think your pudgy next-door neighbor would look in an NFL uniform, make that uniform a Texans 46 jersey, and that's your guy. So with that said, when the Texans were getting killed by the Chiefs yesterday, I started playing a new game on punts where I would just focus in on Jon Weeks and watch him run down to cover the kicks like a suburban dad in a Thanksgiving touch-football game. Easily more entertaining than anything else the Texans were doing the first three quarters.
4. Brain Surgeons. On a serious note, how close are we to seeing someone on the field die from a helmet-to-helmet hit? You had Brandon Merriweather of the Patriots basically jumping in and head-butting the Ravens' Todd Heap. You had James Harrison running all over the field like a guided missile trying to spear whatever got in his way. And then finally, you had the least dirty but most vicious of the hits we saw yesterday when Dunta Robinson laid out himself and DeSean Jackson on a hit that should have jettisoned Jackson's head from his torso. Days like yesterday make me mad that the owners are looking to expand the regular season to 18 games.
5. Children of the `80's. Because we all needed closure from the first Top Gun movie, rumor has it now we're about to get Top Gun 2. Finally, we'll find out who got to be whose wingman. You can cut the sexual tension with a knife. And yes, I'm talking about Mav and Iceman.
1. Heisman bloodshed. It was not a good weekend to be a 2010 Heisman Trophy contender. In fact, I even posed the question to my Twitter followers this weekend -- "More bloodshed? The last 20 minutes of The Godfather or the 2010 Heisman Trophy race this weekend?" Have we ever seen this many hot names fall off the map so quickly? Denard Robinson (injured, another loss) and Taylor Martinez (benched -- yes, BENCHED), the Dons of the zone read, were the Barzini and Tattaglia executions; Ryan Mallett (concussion, backup looked as good as he did) was the Moe Greene shot to the eye; by the time the evening rolled around all that was left was Terrelle Pryor getting walked to the car with an airline ticket in his hand like Carlo. Cam Newton, step right up.
(NOTE: This is where we need the guys who did the LeBron James/Hulk Hogan heel turn video to remake the end of The Godfather with the heads of all those players pasted onto the actors bodies.)
2. Oakland Raiders. Ever the shrewd negotiators, the Raiders reportedly made no secret over the weekend that all of their players are available in a trade. When I heard this, I immediately thought of a couple of my buddies who fall out of love with their fantasy football teams every year by about Week 3 and immediately do everything short of putting their players on eBay. It kind of made me wish that the other 31 teams in the NFL received an "ON THE BLOCK" e-mail from Sportsline.com saying who the Raiders have on the trade block and what they'd like in return, complete with all 53 current Raiders listed. (For you non-dorks, trust me, fantasy owners are laughing at this right now. All right, let's move on...)
3. Charlie Weis. For the first 55 minutes, the former Notre Dame head coach and now Kansas City offensive coordinator had the Texans defense on their heels. He was masterfully mixing the run and the pass, Matt Cassel looked like Tom Brady Light, Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones were pounding the rock, and Dexter McCluster looked like the perfect multi-purpose weapon (Frankly, he looked like what the Texans probably envisioned for Steve Slaton when they drafted him.) And then, as any Notre Dame fan can attest, Weis got a little too cute for his own good and, in a game where the Chiefs were running the ball at nearly 6 yards a carry and the Texans were missing their captain/middle linebacker, he decided to run a slow developing pass play back across the field on 3rd and 2. The pass fell incomplete, clock stopped, Texans got the ball back and the rest is history. Thank you, Charlie. You personally owed me a gift like that after the last three seasons in South Bend.
4. Minnesota and fans of Mark Mangino. Over the weekend, the University of Minnesota fired its head football coach, Tim Brewster. This was not very surprising. The Gophers had been floundering at 1-6 on the season with no signs of turning things around on Brewster's watch. The truly tragic part about these developments was in the interim replacement; the school selected offensive coordinator Jeff Horton. I think we were all (and by "we" I mean fans of comedy) hoping that there would be some smoke to the Mark Mangino rumors of the portly one taking his offensive consultation skills to the Twin Cities, and eventually taking the head coaching job.
To be very clear, Mark Mangino fascinates me. As a head football coach, as an analyst, as a contestant on Dancing With The Stars, it doesn't matter -- as long as he's clothed, I'm watching any show with Mark Mangino. We actually had listeners to our show sending us movie roles in which they'd rather see Mark Mangino. My personal favorite? Mark Mangino as Jake Ryan in Sixteen Candles, where in the final scene he's sitting Indian style on the table kissing Molly Ringwald over the birthday cake, and the table collapses under his quarter ton of girth.
5. Texans defense. Ok, maybe you're right....that was a shitload of yards they gave up to Matt Cassel.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 3-7 p.m. weekdays on the "Sean & John Show" and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.