NFL Week 1: Schaub Gets Rich(er), Buffalo Gets Poor(er) -- 4 Winners, 4 Losers
Check out our slideshow of the Houston Texans' season opener against the Dolphins.
Photo by Marco Torres One down, 15 to go
Could Sunday have been any better? 80-degree day. Sun shining. Birds singing. NFL football back in our lives. Oh, and someone left a whole book of Burger King coupons in the lobby of my building. SCORE!
So yeah, there was me, but there were other winners. And yeah, there was John L. Smith (Seriously, dude...Louisiana-Monroe??), but there were other losers.
And here they are...
4. Andre Johnson's body parts
It seems like over the last two years, it's been one thing after another with Andre Johnson's body. From freak injuries (sprained ankle in 2010) to nagging injuries (hamstrings #1 and #2 last season) to "here we go again" nagging injuries (strained groin in training camp), it feels like we could have made our own version of "Operation: The Wacky Doctor's Game" with Dre's head photoshopped onto the pear-shaped body of the cartoon star of the game. Sunday was a great start to what will hopefully be a fully healthy 2012 for the face of the franchise -- 8 catches, 119 yards and one acrobatic, vintage Andre touchdown.
3. Matt Schaub's children, born and yet to be born
Through the preseason and one game of the regular season, you can make a strong argument for Matt Schaub as not only the Texans' most important player, but also their best player. After Sunday's win over the Dolphins, it was announced that Schaub had signed a four-year, $62 million (around $30 million guaranteed) extension that will likely allow him to finish his career in Houston, if all goes as planned. Interesting because it was widely speculated the Texans would wait until after the season to get Schaub's deal done, but they apparently are confident in his health and also probably happy to eliminate any potential distraction as they chase a Super Bowl ring in 2012.
2. Robert Griffin III
Griffin was so good all day Sunday (19 of 26, 320 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions, 42 yards rushing on 10 carries) and so consistent (Skins scored ten points in each quarter), but the thing that may have impressed me the most -- when it was late in the game and the Redskins needed to grind clock and get first downs, they didn't just concede the running game in an attempt to run the clock. They put the ball in Griffin's hands and had him make plays, the biggest one being a 22-yard strike to Logan Paulsen to salt the game away late. I couldn't be more impressed by a rookie than I am by Griffin.
1. J.J. Watt
After three batted-down passes, a couple sacks and a shitload of hell, fire and brimstone, can someone from the Texans' creative department find a way to incorporate this chant into the Jumbotron rotation?
4. My blood pressure when the Texans return kicks
Buried amidst the three returns for touchdowns against a bunch of "Players 54 through 90" during the preseason was this little issue for Trindon Holliday -- he's terrible at catching a football.
I don't know if it's small hands, a lack of hand/eye coordination or the nerve-wracking frenzy of people twice his size running toward him in full sprint, but Trindon Holliday catches the ball cleanly at a rate that would make a junior high football coach angry. It happened again on Sunday -- a routine catch of a kickoff into the end zone turned into a double-fumble clusterfuck.
Thankfully, it wound up with the Texans starting at their own five-yard line. It could have been much worse. Some game soon it will be. And those touchdowns from the preseason will feel like fool's gold. I'm rooting for Trindon Holliday, and I hope I'm wrong, but the Holliday Experience is still far too circus-like for my tastes.