Texans-Dolphins: 4 Winners, 4 Losers ("Chita Johnson, Weather Khaleesi" Edition)
Was preseason football fever in full swing on Saturday?
Well, late Saturday afternoon, I managed to make it from my home near downtown to the area near Reliant in almost record time, thanks to very light Saturday traffic.
As I drove down Murworth to the media parking area, roughly two hours before kickoff for a Saturday night game, I was greeted with a virtually empty Yellow Lot with sparse tailgating here and there. The usually pervasive smell of barbecue and grills was almost nonexistent.
At an intersection that would normally be crowded with hordes of J.J. Watt and Arian Foster jerseys, I made my way across Kirby with one solitary man, an old man probably in his '60s with a ponytail, and he was dressed in a Brooks Reed jersey. (For a second, I thought perhaps I was in the future.)
The old man had one of those clear Texans bags that the team is giving out as an answer to the terrorists (and I'm sure this has the terrorists flummoxed to no end), which along with the new video board were the two biggest topics on the radio as I drove into the game. not football, not the game -- clear bags and a video board.
So yeah, since you asked, preseason football fever was in full swing over at Reliant Saturday night!
Amid all of the craziness I just outlined, they actually played a game (I know, right??), a game in which the Texans knocked off the Dolphins 24-17. In that game, and around the world yesterday, there were winners and losers. I am here to tell you about them. Gather 'round, kids....
4. Everybody on the Texans with a functional right arm
In this game, Gary Kubiak did what he normally would do with Matt Schaub, which is give him a few series and get him the hell out of there. Schaub was fine. He threw a pick on the first series where the receiver fell down and then had a touchdown pass to Owen Daniels to close out his stint. Good enough. The intrigue around the city of Houston is on the backup spot, where Case Keenum (former Coog, local hero and future mayoral candidate) got his reps with the number twos this week in his battle with T.J. Yates (outsider, monster heel and totally forgotten underrated hero of the 2011 season).
How did they both do? Well, here you go:
Keenum 11-18, 150 yards, 1 TD
Yates 7-9, 84 yards, 1 TD
Both did fine, so really nothing got solved. Everyone was a winner in that there were no losers. My hunches on the backup quarterback spot remain the same: a) it's going to go down to the final minute of the last preseason game (and be fluid all season) and b) Yates is going to have to screw up royally to not be the backup heading into the regular season.
3. Brian Cushing's knee
I'm not afraid to admit that I got chills when Brian Cushing was introduced last night (but full disclosure, I get chills during almost every introduction of wrestlers at WWE pay-per-views, so I'm a bit of an intro whore). Even though it was a meaningless game, it still had meaning to Cushing (and apparently to me -- it's still real to me, dammit!) in that this was the first real test of his surgically repaired knee against players in non-Texans uniforms. And man, was he flying around or what?! He had a classic Cushing play on a stuffed screen pass in the first series, and then maybe the most encouraging play from a health standpoint was one that was actually a terrible football play, where he came flying in on Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill like he was trying to give him the King Kong Bundy splash in the corner and he totally whiffed, allowing Tannehill to escape the rush and make a positive gain. If it were a regular season game, Cushing would have been skewered, but since it's the preseason, we were just happy to see he could jump. PRESEASON FEVER, CATCH IT!!!
2. Channel 13
I watched the game from the press box, where we get the Channel 13 video feed, but with no audio, so I can only assume that things were totally back to normal this week after last weekend's debacle of a preseason opener from Minnesota. The video appeared to stay up the entire time, and judging by my Twitter timeline, the number of Joel Meyers roster faux pas' were not at an unusual level (normal level is 1.12 RFP/min). Hell, it appears that the Channel 13 production team may have even started a subtle heel turn as we had multiple shots of the same child scarfing down cotton candy like he had been on a hunger strike. That's good shit!
1. The weather
It's hard to get a bunch of people who are sitting inside at a sporting event to focus on the weather, and I'm sure that this makes the weather feel neglected and shunned. Poor weather... But now, thanks to the killer high-def combination of the brand new video boards (not sure if you all have heard, but they are the largest in all of sports!!) and KHOU weather goddess Chita Johnson, I have to imagine that the weather is going to get more attention at Texans' games than it's ever gotten in the team's history!
That said, I don't have the heart to break it to the weather that any uptick in interest is probably more about Chita Johnson in high definition than it is, y'know, the weather. I'm pretty sure you could have Chita Johnson on the new video big board reading the ingredients off the back of a ketchup bottle, and people would be like "You know what's awesome?...KETCHUP!!"
(By the way, if there were a Game of Thrones style battle for ruling meteorology in Houston right now, Chita Johnson is the Khaleesi. On this, there can be no debate.)