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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Thoughts from One that Got Away

It was a pleasure to watch the Texans participate in a real NFL football game. On the road, in a hostile environment against a championship-caliber football team, the Texans hit hard and played with confidence. One thing remained unchanged: costly mistakes still lose football games. Just ask Jameel Cook.

- The defense set the tone early and often, namely rookie sensations DeMeco Ryans and Mario Williams. Glenn Earl's nuclear shot on Jeremy Shockey sent a message as well. Richard Smith deserves a lot of credit - his defense is playing great football right now. Eli Manning was dazed and confused all afternoon, and the dynamic duo of Tiki Barber and Brandon Jacobs was held in relative check. It didn't hurt that Plax Burress and the Giants starting right tackle were both out, but all in all, it was a near heroic performance. One shutdown corner, and the Texans' defense will be one of the best in the league.

- David Carr played well. He was by no means spectacular, otherwise the Texans would have scored more than 10 measly points against a banged-up Giants defense. Compared to last week, he was outstanding. He did a nice job of managing the offense, got rid of the ball quickly and made an absolutely studly TD run. He still had a couple of completely terrible plays (tripping and falling to giftwrap a key Giants' sack and drifting with happy feet out of the pocket and creating pressure on himself on a play in which the O-line had provided a picture-perfect pocket). If he played like this week-in and week-out, then he would be a serviceable starting QB. Trouble is, through 67 starts, he has not ever played consistently well. Today's game was an example of a game that an upper-echelon NFL QB takes over and wins it for his team. Carr has the tools and the scheme, but he is still not winning those games. Maybe if he gets another two or three years, he will, and I guess that's the hand we've been dealt as Texans' fans.

- Listening to Rich Gannon was very enjoyable, especially with regards to his analysis of quarterback play.

- The personal foul call on Mario Williams was a travesty. Whatever got into Mario today, be sure to get it into mass production for the next ten years (unless it's similar to what Shawn Merriman recommends). He was a force of nature today.

- The triumverate of C. C. Brown, Gus Scott and Glenn Earl may not be All-Pro caliber, but they sure can lay some wood. Part of Eli Manning's ineffectiveness, I believe, was thanks to the physical tone set by the back line of the Texans' defensive corps.

- MVP today was the coaching staff, minus Joe Marciano. I thought that the offensive playcalling was outstanding. Though the running game was only marginally effective in terms of yards per carry, Kubiak and Calhoun stuck with it, and it helped establish a physical tone to the game and keep the Giants' offense off the field. Richard Smith's defense played the best game that I've seen a Texans' defense play...ever. Chad Stanley had a crappy punt in a key field position situation, and Kris Brown missed a kick that should have been made. I know that kickers' (aside from Adam Vinatieri) are not perfect, but I sure would like the Texans to have a guy who is automatic from 45 yards and in.

- I am liking Gary Kubiak more and more each week. He looked a little overwhelmed early in the season, but he seemed to ooze confidence on the sidelines today. I really think that the aggressiveness that the Texans are playing with right now is an extension of their head coach, who is going to win a Super Bowl at some point.


Anonymous Lee said...

Let me start out by saying I laughed hysterically at the Merriman comment. I truly hope Mario is NOT sharing anything with him. Moving on...

Rich Gannon was nice to listen to, for a change of pace. The broadcasting crew actually gave the Texans some respect, well let me rephrase that, the Texans EARNED some respect, and it was nice.

If the running game works as well as it has the past two weeks, we win that game. If Jameel Cook doesn't fumble, we might win that game, and it would've been a huge turning point in Carr's career. Speaking of Carr, I've always been a fan and supporter but I didn't completely like how he played yesterday. He was still making quick decisions when he didn't necessarily have to. He's not throwing the ball down the field. But the TD run was absolutely studly. Take THAT Dick Justice and your man-crush Vince Young, David Carr had "it" on that play, for sure!

I want a win next Sunday in Jacksonville. No excuses.

Mon Nov 06, 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger Scott said...

Yesterday was an example of why QB stats and ratings are so inaccurate. Carr completed a ton of short-yardage passes, which are high-percentage by nature. Give Carr credit for accuracy with those passes and for not turning the ball over, but put the statistics in perspective properly.

The Texans scored 10 points total. You're rarely ever going to win a game by scoring 10 points, especially against a dynamic offense like the Giants have. The Giants, like plenty of other opponents the Texans have faced over the years, were willing to allow the short stuff to be completed because they guessed that it would take something like an 18 play drive to get any points on the board, and they were correct.

The downfield passing game has never been a factor in Carr's career in Houston, and until it is, the Texas will need either a 200+ yard rushing game or two special teams/defensive TDs a week to score enough points to win regularly. The short passing game's numbers are better this year, mostly I believe because Moulds and Daniels have opened the field up for Andre Johnson. Without a deep threat passing attack, the Texans offense will continue to be stuck in neutral, which will limit the team's ability to win games.

Mon Nov 06, 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

All excellent points, Scott. A few more thoughts:

-I wish Rich Gannon did every Texans game.

-Chad Stanley and Kris Brown have been HUGE disappointments this season. You have to think upgrading K and P are going to be focal points of Kubes' offseason wish list.

-Mario Williams is the greatest defensive player in the NFL, and possibly the greatest in NFL history. His mocking of Strahan's sack dance almost made me kiss the television.

-David Carr put forth the gutsiest performance of his career. I couldn't be more impressed. Let's see if he can show that kind of heart two weeks in a row.

-Bring on the Jaguars. Now.

Mon Nov 06, 01:02:00 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

The Jags game will be a real test for the Texans. After the humiliation in Houston, you KNOW the Jags want revenge. And that Titans team that beat the Texans just eight days ago? Embarrassed, humiliated and spit upon by the Jags yesterday. They're lying in wait down in that cesspool of Stuckey's and Waffle Houses that is Jacksonville, and the Texans will have to bring their A-game to keep it close, I think.

Mon Nov 06, 01:22:00 PM  

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