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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Hell Freezes Over: Texans 27, Colts 24

Even two days after the fact, I still can't believe it. After losing nine (9!) straight (a/k/a every game) to the Indianapolis Colts over the last five (5!) years, your Houston Texans cast off the yoke of their horseshoed oppressors with a rousing last-second victory over Peyton Manning & Co. on Christmas Eve. And you know what? The Texans deserved to win. They were the better team. I almost blacked out from typing that last sentence, but it's the truth. Sure...if the Texans and Colts played 100 times, the Colts would probably win about 98 of them. Yet on one December afternoon, the Texans pulled off the second biggest win in franchise history against a vastly superior team. For a franchise with far, far, FAR more crushing and ugly defeats than victories, this was huge. I'm not ready to anoint it as The Game That Turned Around the Franchise; there's still a good chance the hometown team spits the bit against the Browns on Sunday, a la the final game of what was a promising 2004 campaign. Regardless, it's the first glimmer of substantive improvement we've seen in a good long while, and it's cause for celebration around these parts. Without further ado, a brief holiday recap:

1. RON. FREAKING. DAYNE. 32 carries. 153 yards. 2 TD. The dude was unstoppable. I know that many pundits will attempt to minimize the effort by citing Indy's season-long inability to stop the run, but give the guy his due. Dayne was a machine. I can't believe I'm saying this, but he has to be your starting RB come training camp? Right? Right?

a. Does Dayne's emergence, coupled with Lundy's flashes of promise, mean that the Texans would pass on Adrian Peterson in the draft? It's probably irrelevant, as Peterson should be gone by the time the Texans pick, but it's an awfully interesting question.

b. Scott's text message to me during the game: "More Chris Taylor, please." Very limited touches for the undrafted rookie, but he looked like a dual threat running and catching the ball. Enough to get me to say that Reggie Bush is a poor man's Chris Taylor, anyway.

c. Yes, Battle Screwdriver Day returned to Reliant on Sunday.

2. David Carr has taken a whole lot of heat in every corner of this city for the past several weeks (if not the past two seasons), and it's been mostly deserved. Again, however, give the guy his due. He played a tremendous, mistake-free game. I think it's too little, too late for D.C. in Houston, but his performance on Sunday will surely get coaches and offensive coordinators around the league salivating at his potential once again.

a. I'm going to be awfully pissed if Sunday's game trumps everything else that he's done this season and results in a new vote of confidence from Bob McNair. There's no doubt that Carr is a helluva human being, but one game does not a career make.

3. Andre Johnson quietly passed the 100 catch mark on Sunday. That's just ridiculous. At least he didn't get the Pro Bowl shaft like a certain Texans linebacker that wears No. 59.

4. Hello, Eric Moulds? Are you there? Hello?

5. Really liked what I saw from Kevin Walter (2 catches, 21 yards) on Sunday. He was signed to be the No. 3 WR, but the guy goes weeks at a time without a pass thrown to him, much less an actual catch. You have to think that's more a reflection of the offensive philosophy (a/k/a Kubiak's lack of trust in Carr's decision-making and subsequent shift to a run-heavy gameplan), yet I wonder why he's not a bigger part of the gameplan every week.

6. I'll say it: Thanks for the nightmares, errrrrrrrrr, memories, Jameel Cook. Vonta Leach did more in one start on Sunday than you've done all season. His ability to hold onto the football did not go unnoticed by this observer.

7. Unbelievable game by the offensive line. The run blocking could not have been any better, and Carr usually had plenty of time to throw. Given the ridiculous spate of injuries they've suffered this year, I think this is a testament to Mike Sherman, who should become the offensive coordinator now that Troy Calhoun is taking the Air Force job.

a. Nice to see you, Steve McKinney. What a game!

8. Mario Williams is the greatest defensive end since Reggie White. There, I said it. Sure, maybe I'm overreacting to the HUGE fumble he forced off Dominic Rhodes that was recovered by Anthony Weaver. Sure, maybe I'm more than a little pumped that he displayed his usual freakish athleticism on one foot while disrupting the line of scrimmage. Sure, maybe I'm grasping at straws after VY led another comeback win for the Oilers. But I don't think so.

a. From Peter King's MMQB:

"I think the Texans made the drafting of Mario Williams and DeMeco Ryans look very, very good Sunday. Both were vital in the win over the Colts. 'I don't care how people judge me,' Williams said afterward. "I know I'm a part of building something good for this franchise.' He showed it Sunday."

9. Speaking of DeMeco, he only had eight (8) tackles on Sunday. Guess that Pro Bowl snub was deserved after all (choking on own rage)...

10. The secondary, particularly Dunta Robinson, handled what is quite possibly the best receiving corps in the NFL reasonably well. Sure, they got burned by Marvin Harrison, but they kept Reggie Wayne entirely in check. When some dude named Bryan Fletcher is the second leading receiver for Indy with two catches for 29 yards, you've done your job.

11. Kris Brown is Santa Claus.

a. Game-winning 48 yarder with three seconds left? That's no chip shot. That's clutch, baby.

12. Congratulations to Gary Kubiak and his staff. Great gameplan, great strategy, unbelievable win. The City of Houston thanks you for doing what Dom Capers could never dream of doing...beating the Colts.

13. 6-10 after Sunday's season finale against the Browns, thus TRIPLING last season's victory total? You'd better believe it!

8 Comments:

Anonymous Bouj said...

The Peterson thing is going to be a moot point, because he will probably be long gone by pick #10, where the Texans had better be picking after beating Cleveland. But I guess it's conceivable that it turns into another Leiart situation and he falls to #10.

Offensive line HAS to be priority #1 in Round 1, unless AP is there.

The Texans should just go ahead and wear the all-blue or the Battle Red from now until the end of time. Unless the Cowgirls are in town, then we should wear the whites.

Wed Dec 27, 10:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Bouj said...

I just checked the draft scenarios. As of now, the Texans would pick #7. They are in a 3-way tie at 5-10 with Arizona and Washington. Arizona's SOS is considerably lower. Washington and Houston are virtually identical. So things like how the teams' divisional foes finish (since they played them all twice) are important, but since SOS is a matter of how strong the schedule is over the course of the season, the final SOS is still up in the air.

Right now, the draft would go: DET, OAK, CLE, TB, ARI, WAS, HOU, MIN, SF, MIA. Detroit, Oakland, and Cleveland could all go RB. But they could all go QB too. Detroit will probably go WR. Tampa, Arizona, and Washington are set at RB, so it's conceivable that Peterson falls to 7. Conceivable, but not likely.

Wed Dec 27, 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

Detroit will go WR with the #1 overall pick, despite having Jon Kitna as their starting QB? That would stun me.

Wed Dec 27, 03:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Bouj said...

Matt Millen has been butchering the draft for several years and kept drafting WR's with top 10 picks (Roy and Mike Williams and Carlos Rogers). It was a joke at Millen's expense that he would be dumb enough to draft Calvin Johnson of GTech when he has so many other glaring holes. Seriously, I don't think Millen would be dumb enough to mess up the Quinn pick (regardless of the opinion as to whether or not he'll be any good).

Wed Dec 27, 03:44:00 PM  
Anonymous pete said...

Hey. This is Pete, one of the founders of Yardbarker (www.yardbarker.com). I couldn't find your email address, but I'd like to speak to you about the linking program that we're doing with a bunch of sports bloggers. It's basically a way for you to get a lot more sports fans reading your best posts. Would you mind contacting me at pete@yardbarker.com so I can email you with more info? Thanks.

Pete

Wed Dec 27, 09:50:00 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

Pete,

I think you're either lazy or dumb. Our email addresses are readily available. Thanks,

Scott

Thu Dec 28, 08:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scott seems to have had a bit too much eggnog, as evidenced by his inability to recognize a crack at Matt "You Can Never Have Too Many WRs" Millen and his inexplicable surliness toward Pete.

Thanks for the information, Bouj. I know it's all speculation, but what's your best guess as to where the Texans would pick if they beat the Browns on Sunday? Around 10th? You'd have to figure that Joe Thomas would be long gone by then, so do you take the best OL on the board? Or do you take the best DB in the draft?

Thu Dec 28, 09:30:00 AM  
Anonymous bouj said...

The 8-10 spots in the draft are occupied by the 6-9 teams, so it's safe to assume that the Texans, by winning Sunday, would end up between 7 and 10. Their Strength-of-Schedule is really good, so they'll almost certainly lose all the tiebreakers with the other 6-10 teams.

The Texans have always needed a top of the line first round O-Lineman. I think you can unearth a good DB, RB or QB later on Day 1, but good teams have at least 1 1st-Rd OL. I even think it would be easier to lure a decent DB via free agency. No, he won't be Champ Bailey-good, but he'd be better than Faggins, who should be the nickelback.

I haven't really had a chance to really get into the names for the prospects, but instinctively, I think the best available OL in the 7-10 range would probably be the 2nd-best LT, and he'd be worth that pick. Unless they luck out and someone like Peterson falls in their lap. It feels like one of those years where they'll make the pick and everyone on ESPN is going to say, "Solid pick", and everyone here will be satisfied. Not excited, but satisfied by a need being filled. That happened about half the time under Casserly (A. Johnson and Robinson - good; Carr - accepted; T. Johnson - angry fanbase).

Thu Dec 28, 10:56:00 AM  

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