Texans 43, Jags 37: Andre Johnson's 14 Catch, 273 Yard Middle Finger To The Talking Heads
Check out our photos of Sunday's hard-fought game against the Jaguars.
Photo by Marco Torres The Man
The life of the sports fan is a brutal, tortured one most of the time, with heavy emotional investment yielding very few true payoffs. It's this battered existence that fosters a "sky is falling" negativity even when your team is, in the big picture, doing well.
Make no mistake, after the 9-1 Texans escaped with a 43-37 overtime win against the 1-9 Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday afternoon, this phenomenon will be out in full force during the Texans' upcoming short week leading up to the Thanksgiving Day game with the Lions. The fan-driven talking points from Sunday will be the secondary's getting torched by a backup quarterback, Arian Foster's fumbling problems returning, and just a collective "um...WTF, Texans! It was JACKSONVILLE!!! Why did you make us sweat like that?!?"
If anything, the shortened week will augment the angst, as sports talk radio callers will feel the need to get five days worth of worry into a three-day stretch (a true case of "six pounds of shit in a one pound bag," if there ever was one). So in an effort to preemptively try to counterpunch with a flurry of sanity, PLEASE consider the following, Texans Fan, I beg of you:
4. The Texans won the game. They're 9-1, and still have a functional two game lead in the AFC for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The hour glass is rapidly running out of sand for the rest of the AFC, and at this point, the only thing they can hang their hats on is the fact that the Texans' schedule is fairly difficult the rest of the way, thanks to Indianapolis and Minnesota being legit playoff contenders.
3. The Texans proved, in about as poignant a way as you possibly can, that they are capable of winning games that unfold in exact opposite ways. Last Sunday in Chicago, the Texans won a wet, sloppy, bruising 13-9 defensive struggle in which they gained a total of 215 yards on offense. (Andre Johnson exceeded that himself against Jacksonville yesterday.) Conversely, yesterday the Texans and Jaguars combined for more than 1,000 yards of offense, and for the first time in NFL history each team had a 200-yard receiver in the same game. The Texans fell behind by two touchdowns in the fourth quarter against the Jags and not only came back, but had a chance to win in regulation. If they had fallen behind by 14 in Chicago, it would have taken till Wednesday to come back.
Point being, when the playoffs roll around, there's every bit as good a chance that the Texans will face teams that try to turn the games into a slugfest (Baltimore, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Chicago) as there is that they will face a team that wants a track meet (New England, Denver, Green Bay, New York Giants). This game (and YES, I know it was against Jacksonville) proved that they at least have the "come from behind" club in their bag.
(NOTE: About the only thing the Chicago and Jacksonville games had in common was that the Texans knocked the opposing team's quarterback out of the game, and even that had completely opposite effects. Against Chicago, the Cutler TKO essentially ended any chance the Bears had of putting together an extended drive. Against Jacksonville, knocking out Blaine Gabbert was the best thing that could have happened...to the Jags. Hell, if there were in-game spreads and live wagering available, the spread on the game probably moved from 16 points to single digits when the words "Gabbert's return is questionable" were uttered by the press box announcer!)
2. The Texans got out of the game relatively healthy. Other than cornerback Johnathan Joseph having to leave the game with a slight hamstring tweak, (which sounds like it should be okay, knock on wood) the injury report was just the usual dings and bruises. Tight end Owen Daniels (nursing a back injury) made it through all right, and even if he hadn't, three of the Texans touchdowns were scored by Daniels' backups, James Casey and Garrett Graham.