H-Town Sports

Houston Sports Blog - Real sports cities have TWO Conference USA teams

Monday, November 13, 2006

Gary Kubiak For Coach of the Year!

Yesterday the Texans surpassed last season's win total with a stirring 13-10 victory over the hated Jaguars of Jacksonville. More importantly, Houston won a road game for the first time since 2004. This also evened their divisional record to 2-2, with both divisional victories coming over Jack Del Rio's bunch of trash-talking hooligans. Most importantly, Gary Kubiak made the kind of call with the game on the line that the previous regime never would have made. He made the kind of gutsy call that wins football games and shows your team you believe in them. It wasn't a pretty game, but it certainly showed the vast improvement the team has made since Sheriff Kubiak rode into town. Without further ado:

1. I'm running out of words to describe DeMeco Ryans. I'm beginning to legitimately wonder if he can walk on water. That pop on Garrard, which led to Morlon Greenwood's interception, should be on a poster.

2. Jason Babin had two (2) sacks. In other news, down is up and left is now right. Playing with Mario Williams just might be rubbing off on him.

3. Speaking of Super Mario, he's apparently battling a hellacious case of plantar fascitis. You wouldn't have known it from watching him play yesterday. Once again, he was a force throughout the afternoon. Jacksonville's offensive line was doing everything but coming after him with a chainsaw; he was held all day, but still managed to get in Garrard's grill a time or nine. The game stats don't show it, but he is a difference-maker on defense.

4. How about Big Anthony Weaver grabbing a pick and rumbling 21 yards after the catch? If he keeps that up, I might start a movement to get him shifted to the secondary.

5. I have devoted considerable space to ripping the secondary, but it's been a completely different unit since Petey Faggins returned. Faggins sure had some big plays in coverage yesterday.

6. Nice to see you again, Dunta Robinson. We missed you.

a. Quote of the day came from Dunta after the game; when asked about the drive-and-momentum-crushing offensive pass interference penalty he drew from Reggie Williams, Dunta remarked:

"I'm not saying it wasn't pass interference, but I do think I should be nominated for an Oscar."

7. Four picks for the Texans yesterday. They had two in the eight games prior.

8. Special teams--ugh. Kris Brown is quickly becoming the new Phillip Buchanon.

9. Owen Daniels had better watch out. He might just cause me to start a "Daniels for Pro Bowl" thread.

a. The Texans were unabashedly hosed by the zebras on that fourth-quarter catch by Daniels. Incomplete pass my arse.

10. Andre Johnson finished with a relatively quiet three receptions for 56 yards, but anyone who watched the game knows how big 41 of those yards were. His catch on the first drive of the game took the air right out of that stadium.

11. David Carr was knocked out of the game with a bruised throwing shoulder, but he was shown throwing on the sidelines; I'm hoping he'll play against Buffalo on Sunday. Until he was injured, Carr was having a solid (if unspectacular) game; he was 16-32 for 167 yards, O TD, and O INT. That line, however, doesn't tell the whole story. Carr had some absolutely HUGE runs for first downs; the line shows 48 yards on 5 carries. This is another area in which he's significantly improved--knowing when to pull the ball down and take off. In past years, he had a tendency to take off too soon. He seems much more patient now.

a. I LOVED the QB draw call by Kubiak/Calhoun for Carr. It caught Jacksonville completely by surprise.

b. Sage Rosenfels was positively unspectacular in relief of Carr, but he didn't make any mistakes and got the win. That's good enough for me.

12. Zach Wiegert is lost for the season with a torn ACL. That's a substantial loss; Wiegert's improved play was a big reason for the Texans' improvment on the line this season. On the bright side, Eric Winston will get some valuable experience and the opportunity to show he should start next year.

13. Samkon Gado--67 yards on 17 carries, and one of those yards was particularly big...

14. Leading by three points. 4th and 1 with 1:40 left on the Texans' 41. The textbook call would be to punt, pin the opposition deep, and make them drive down the field to tie or beat you. So what does Kubes do? He goes for it. I cannot tell you how much I support that call. And I cannot do justice describing it, so I'll just post some illustrative quotes:

Fred Weary: "As an offensive lineman, you want the game on your shoulders in a situation like that. It hasn't been that way for the offensive line for the past four years, so we're starting to get a little walk about us. When it comes down to a situation like that, if we go out and make the play, it makes it easier to make the play call next time."

Dunta Robinson: "I love coach Kubiak. It takes a coach with guts to make a call like that. What did we have to lose? We're 2-6. (Jacksonville) is a team that's in the playoff race. Let's go all out. Let's not settle. Let's not give them the ball back."

Andre Johnson: "It was a gutsy call because of where we were on the field. We all wanted him to go for it. If we hadn't made it, they could have kicked the field goal, but if you can't get six inches, something's wrong. I wasn't surprised, because he's a real aggressive coach."

And the Man of Steel himself, Gary Kubiak: "Hell, let's go for it."

Damn right, Kubes. And may 12 Jab live forever in Texans lore.

15. Let's try this again...the Texans will net their first winning streak of the season with a win at home over Buffalo on Sunday. Believe it!


Blogger Terry said...

I absolutely, positively do not believe in moral victories. However, even in their loss to the Giants, it was plainly obvious that this team is improving on a weekly basis, which is indicative of good coaching. The constant berating of Richard Smith has suddenly subsided as his young squad has now held their opponents to 14 points or less in four straight games.

Six or seven wins is suddenly not out of the question. Considering this team's offensive line has been held together with duct tape and bubble gum, I'd take it, especially when you consider 5-11 was the record of coaches such as Bill Belichick, Tony Dungy, and Lovie Smith their rookie years.

Granted it's limited, but from I've seen, if you can pressure Losman, he's prone to make mistakes. I hope to see an aggressive gameplan from Smith this Sunday.

This team took a huge step forward in learning how to win.

Mon Nov 13, 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger Scott said...

9/28/2003 - At home v. the Jags, Capers calls a QB sneak on 4th and goal from the one, trailing by three points with two seconds left. I'd say under the circumstances, Kubes' call ranks as the second-ballsiest in franchise history.

Studly, yes. Intelligent, no. As bad as Garrard and his WR corps had been all game long, and with no timeouts remaining for the Jags, I don't think it's a smart play whatsoever to go for it in that situation. Of course gaining six inches is easy when the defense thinks your entire playbook is available, but getting six inches on a play like that when everyone in the stadium has a pretty good idea what you're going to try to do is a whole different story. Case in point - you couldn't gain a yard on the play prior, going backward on a QB sneak. On top of that, even a bad punt (30 yards) would have put the Jags on their own 30, a decent punt to their 20, and a great punt back inside their 15 yard line with only about 75 seconds to play and zero timeouts. Fail to get the first down, however, and the Jags need about five yards in 95 seconds to get into legit field goal range.

In hindsight, it worked, and of course we all leapt off our respective couches and barstools with chests fully extended. Over the long run, however, I think that the Texans would win more often in that situation if their coach made the smart choice rather than the manly choice.

All that being said, the Texans have taken some very significant steps the last two weeks, nearly winning back-to-back games in hostile environments against playoff-caliber teams. The offense somehow is going to have to start scoring more than 11.5 points per game, however, or winning going to continue to be a rather rare occurence.

Mon Nov 13, 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Terry--if ever there was a moral victory, the loss to the Giants would have qualified as such. The defense is head and shoulders above where they were the first few weeks of the season, and I think Richard Smith's willingness to gamble/blitz more is a huge reason why. I criticized Smith's play-calling early on, but I couldn't be more impressed with his unit's play the last several weeks. A glaring liability has almost become a strength.

Wet Blanket (a/k/a Scott)--you're only happy when it rains.

Mon Nov 13, 01:06:00 PM  

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