Last One Out Close The Roof: Texans-Broncos (4 Winners, 4 Losers)
Heading into the season, all that most NFL teams can ask for is to be playing a meaningful game in Week 17 with an opportunity to control their own destiny.
Photos by Groovehouse Winner
With one game to go, thanks to yet another loss (their 13th in a row) and a 24-23 win by the Cowboys over the Redskins, the Texans head into Week 17 needing a loss against the Titans to sew up the number one overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. The Redskins (whose pick is owned by the Rams) are still lurking with a mathematical possibility at the number one overall pick, but the Texans fortunately control their own destiny.
Suck badly enough (like they have the last 13 weeks), and the pick is theirs.
Somehow I don't think that's the type of "meaning" nor the type of destiny to be controlled that the Texans were thinking about when they ran their record to 2-0 back on September 15, the last time they won a football game. Not at all.
On Sunday, it was the same story, different score, as Denver continued their march to the postseason with a fairly routine 37-13 win over the Texans in the final home game of the season (Fan Appreciation Day!).
As always, there were winners and losers. Let's take a look....
4. Randy Bullock
If there's one Texans player who may have actually benefitted from the Texans' collapse this season, it's the portly kicker out of Texas A&M. (I love the word "portly.") Bullock managed to weather a midseason storm that saw the Texans bring in three kickers for workouts after he missed three field goals in a game against the Colts in early November, and he's quietly converted 11 attempts in a row. Most of all, the fact that the Texans are rarely in a position for him to screw up with the game on the line means that we've all almost forgotten about him. Bullock is basically the office worker who's able to anonymously shuffle papers around his desk all day and stay employed for like 20 years because nobody notices him. (On top of that, he has to be thrilled with all the sweets that are floating around the office during these holidays.)
3. Elementary school discipline tactics
Texans' interim head coach Wade Phillips said this week that he would continue to put players in "time out" at practice when they committed penalties. (Because clearly the way to get through to millionaire athletes is to punish them with empty, grade school disciplinary tactics with no real consequences attached.) Well, hell, apparently it worked -- only four penalties this week! Hopefully, everyone got a gold star and a lollipop after the game, too. Got to balance the punishment with proportional reward.
2. Sun bathers
One silver lining in this otherwise dreary season? It appears that the powers that be at Reliant Stadium have become much more liberal about opening the roof and going "topless." Hell, with as much as the roof was open over the second half of the season (Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Denver games), Reliant was downright whorish. Very lax in its "roof ajar" morals.
1. Peyton Manning
32-51, 400 yards, 4 touchdowns, no interceptions, and 37 points on the scoreboard in a game where it didn't even feel like he played all that well. Oh, and the final touchdown of the game, the one that broke the single season record, was soaked in "F**K YOU" sauce to the Texans, the team that in 2012, when Manning reportedly wanted to come here, thought they had everything they needed already in....