HOUSTON - OCTOBER 17: Andre Johnson #80 of the Houston Texans is mobbed by fans after he scored the go ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at Reliant Stadium on October 17 2010 in Houston Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
[Author's preface: You probably noticed that there was no Hangover last week. (If you didn't notice, I hate you.) This was due to some combination of (a) blind anger preventing anything funny/interesting from being written, (b) other obligations keeping me busy all of Monday and Tuesday, and (c) an actual hangover. Now that we've got that explanation out of the way, let's light this candle.]
I took my son to his first Texans game this weekend. On the drive from Little Rock to Houston, we chatted about the type of stuff that normally occupies a twelve-year-old's brain. Which is to say, we talked a lot about which jersey he should get, which video games were cool and which sucked, what the latest middle-school drama was, etc. For the most part, these conversations involved me saying "really?" and "uh-huh" and "no way!" a lot. It was in this context that the following conversation happened:
Gabe: "I know what a tampon is for."
Gabe: "Yep, girls have to use them when they get their period."
Me: "Yeah. How'd you find that out?"
Gabe: "Oh, people talk about that stuff a lot at school."
Me: "Really? Interesting."
Gabe: "I'm glad I don't have to bleed or use tampons."
Me: "Yeah, ditto."
Father/son conversations. Quite the picturesque, Kodak Moments that I had always pictured.
* * *
MNF Countdown Has Little Use For Your Stats or Reality.
As I sat down to write this, I kid you not, John Gruden actually said the words "Vince Young just wins game." This is the kind of mindless pablum we've grown to expect, especially when morons are talking about The Sausage King. Whatever. This became comment-worthy, however, when Mike Tirico "contrasted" Young with David Garrard, noting that Garrard isn't all that great and that Tirico and others keep waiting for Garrard to take the "next step."
Ignoring the W-L record (because comparing two QBs from different teams based on this is muy stupido), here are the career numbers:
Young: 58.0% completion, .76 TD/game (.86 TD/start), .82 INT/game (.93 INT/start), .7 FUM/game (.8 FUM/start), 6.7 YPA, 150.54 pass yds/game (171.1/start), 26.86 rush yds/game (30.52/start).
Garrard: 61% completion, .97 TD/game (1.12 TD/start), .58 INT/game (.67 INT/start), .45 FUM/game (.52 FUM/start), 6.9 YPA, 182.6 pass yds/game (209.8/start), 20.27 rush yds/game (23.3/start).
Yeah ... so ...
Amount of time, in seconds, following Andre Johnson's TD catch before Steve Tasker was able to pull his foot out of his mouth, figure out a way to ignore how hard he'd been rooting for Kansas City, and actually make a comment.
It's Because Manning Hates Boobies, Isn't It?
Maybe this was answered on the telecast and my Al Michaels-filter didn't let it through, but why were the Redskins and Colts not wearing pink on Sunday night? (And, now that I look at the TV, why aren't the Titans or Jaguars wearing it, either?) If you are going to have pink gear for Booby Awareness Month, which is a wholly separate debate, it seems odd not to have it be most obvious on the weekend of the actual Race for the Cure. Just sayin'.
Surprisingly, that's the number of games in which Matt Schaub has had a higher QB rating than he did Sunday (123.9). If you needed any more proof that QB Rating is an awful metric, there you go. No one --- not one sane person --- would suggest that Schaub's performance against Detroit in 2008 (26-31, 267 yds, 2 TD, 124.1 rating) was better than Sunday's (25-33, 305 yds, 2 TD), and that is before we even factor in the whole kept-both-TD-throws-alive-with-his-feet and did-not-force-a-throw-all-day stuff.
Am I the only one who doesn't get the Burger King marching-and-singing ad campaign? Because I literally have no idea what the marching, the weird flute playing, the frightening laugh, etc., have to do with ANYTHING. (Especially the flute.)
Roy E. Williams, career. 2004 -- 54 catches, 817 yards, 8 TD (Detroit goes 6-10). 2005 -- 45, 687, 8 (Detroit 5-11). 2006 -- 82, 1310, 7 (Detroit 3-13). 2007 -- 64, 838, 5 (Detroit 7-9). 2008 -- 36, 430, 2 (Detroit 0-5 / Dallas 5-6). 2009 -- 38, 596, 7 (Dallas 11-5). 2010 -- 21, 306, 3 (Dallas 1-4). Maybe it's just my mind playing tricks on me,
but every twenty seconds got me peepin' out my window but it sure looks like there's a fairly strong negative correlation between Williams' production and his team's record. (Note for Cowboys trolls: I did NOT saying that there was causation involved.) Williams will generally get you around the same number of TDs most season, but he seems to only "shine" when the team he's on is going nowhere.
When I first heard the details of the Junior Seau story, I was amazed. Not at how surprising it was, mind you. No, I was amazed at how much I wished it had been Frank Bush instead.
You know how athletes are always quick to credit God for their successes? Well, if they are right, and God really is concerned with the day-to-day happenings of professional football players, then God has a sick sense of humor. How else do you explain allowing DeMeco Ryans --- one of the four most important players on the Texans' defense and the unrivaled leader of the squad --- to be lost for the season on a defense that was already craptacular? That's just twisted, man.
Speaking of the injury, and at the risk of being far more negative than you deserve on a Tuesday, the one thing that fans were whispering after the game but that the Houston media (SHOCKINGLY!) hasn't mentioned is that Achilles injuries can be career-ending. LaVar Arrington's name springs to mind immediately, but this study from the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons paints an even bleaker picture:
Quarterbacks had a 42.6 % decrease in power rating in the 3 years following injury. [...] Linebackers, cornerbacks, defensive tackles, and defensive ends decreased 95%, 87%, 64%, and 55% respectively.
Achilles tendon ruptures can be career ending. Thirty-one percent of the players in this study never returned to play in the NFL. The players in this study who did return to play experienced greater than 50% reduction in performance based on their power rating.
Now, all of that doom-and-gloom said, the more pressing immediate issue is what in the world the Texans are going to do at MLB between now and whenever Ryans returns. Making the safe assumption that Frank Bush lacks the creative thinking skills necessary to move Brian Cushing to MLB, the options seem to be moving Zac Diles to MLB, keeping David Nixon in that role, or putting Daryl Sharpton or Kevin Bentley at MLB. Despite having played the position in college, I don't see Xavier Adibi as preferable to any of those other guys (save, perhaps, Diles).
Not to put too fine a point on it, but putting Diles, who has not called defensive plays since 2006 at Kansas State and who is not good in coverage when asked to turn and run with someone, in the middle of the field is pretty much the one way I can think to make this defense worse than it has been. Sharpton is the more intriguing of the Sharpton-Bentley duo in my mind, both because we saw some flashes of ability from Daryl in the preseason and because I think Bentley is very valuable on special teams and should remain in that role as much as possible.
The other option, of course, is to make a trade. But, c'mon ... we all know that's not going to happen.
They See Us Grillin' ... Tailgatin'...
I would be remiss if I didn't offer a quick kudos to Josh (aka LoneSpot) for the quality brisket at the tailgate on Sunday. Very, very good. Also, Josh's friend John, whose last name I cannot recall, gets high marks for his homebrewed beers, both of which were fan-freaking-tastic (and fantastically strong).
Fun Facts About Amobi Okoye That Quickly Devolve Into A Defense Of Him.
With his game-ending sack on Sunday (more on that in a second), Amobi Okoye is now tied with Seth Payne for the most sacks by a Texans defensive tackle. This is true even if we count part-time 4-3 tackles Tim Bulman, Anthony Weaver, and Antonio Smith and all 3-4 defensive linemen (i.e. consider all 3-4 DLs as similar in function to 4-3 DTs). What's more, while Payne got his 9 sacks in five seasons with Houston, Okoye has notched his total in three seasons plus six games.
Amobi Okoye -- 9
Seth Payne -- 9
Gary Walker -- 8
Antonio Smith -- 7
Tim Bulman -- 4
Anthony Maddox -- 4
Robaire Smith -- 3.5
Jeff Zgonina -- 2.5
Travis Johnson -- 2
Corey Sears -- 2
Jerry DeLoach -- 2
Anthony Weaver -- 1
Lional Dalton -- 1
Steve Martin -- 1
Shaun Cody -- .5
Junior Ioane -- .5
Charles Hill -- 0
DelJuan Robinson -- 0
Thomas Johnson -- 0
Earl Mitchell -- 0
Frank Okam -- 0
Cedric Killings -- 0
Now, of course sacks are not the be-all-end-all of measuring DTs. How does Amobi stack up in terms of tackles? In raw numbers, again including some guys who are actually DEs more often than not, Amobi is has the fifth-highest total.
Payne -- 195 (3.55/game)
Walker -- 122 (2.65)
Weaver -- 121 (2.63)
R. Smith -- 121 (3.78)
DeLoach -- 120 (2.07)
Okoye -- 113 (2.17)
Tr. Johnson -- 106 (1.96)
Zgonina -- 64 (1.33)
Martin -- 62 (4.43) (!!)
Maddox -- 53 (1.89)
Ioane -- 51 (1.89)
A. Smith -- 46 (2.09)
Sears -- 45 (.96)
Cody -- 40 (2.00)
Bulman -- 38 (1.23)
Robinson -- 33 (1.22)
Mitchell -- 14 (2.33)
Th. Johnson -- 19 (1.73)
Dalton -- 8 (.80)
Okam -- 5 (.50)
Killings -- 3 (.50)
Hill -- 2 (.13)
Again, that is the absolute biggest picture look. If we limit the list to people who (a) actually played DT the majority of the time and (b) have played at least one full season of games, the list looks like this:
Payne -- 3.55/game, 195 total
Walker -- 2.65/game, 122 total
Okoye -- 2.17/game, 113 total
Cody -- 2.00/game, 40 total
Tr. Johnson -- 1.96/game, 106 total
Maddox -- 1.89/game, 53 total
Zgonina -- 1.33/game, 64 total
Bulman -- 1.23/game, 38 total
Robinson -- 1.22/game, 33 total
Point being, I don't really get the outright hatred of Amobi. Compared to what we've had since 2002, he's played well, and that is before you even consider he started playing a position at 20 years old that has a learning curve of 2-3 years (generally) for guys who start at 22 or 23 years old. Nor does that factor in that Amobi is frequently asked to play the under tackle role without anything resembling a nose tackle alongside him.
Do I hope for more production out of Amobi? Of course, just like I hope for more production out of every player on our team. To act like Amobi has been awful, however, or to try and blame the lack of solid defense on him is absurd.
Now, about that sack on Sunday. I've heard from a couple different people that we shouldn't give Amobi too much credit because "Antonio Smith did all the work by getting pressure initially." That's a cop out. Here is the play in question. The Texans go with three down linemen, with Antonio Smith to Amobi's left. At the snap, Smith blows past his blocker and flushes Cassel to the defense's right. Also at the snap, Amobi engages the Chiefs' center and is blocked toward the defense's left; hthen does a spin move to shed the block and chase the play. Despite Smith moving forward the whole time and being appreciably faster than Amobi, at the moment where Smith misses the sack, Amobi is less than two yards from Cassel.
As soon as Cassel retreats, Amobi closes the distance and makes the play.
Whether you like Amobi Okoye or not, that was a very nice play. It bears mentioning that it was also the only sack we got the whole game and, given the frightening thought of our secondary trying to defend a Hail Mary without getting flagged for PI (especially by THAT crew), the sack was huge.
I Need Your Clothes, Your Boots, And Your Motorcycle.
While we were in the hotel this weekend, Gabe was watching Terminator 2. Growing up, that was my little brother's favorite movie, and I must have seen it 200 times (not exaggerating). Watching it, however, got me thinking about the first Terminator movie, and I realized that there is a HUGE plot hole in that first film.
Specifically, the problem is this: if John Connor sends Kyle Reese from 2029 to 1984 to protect his mom, which leads to Reese knocking Sarah Connor up, then the entire thing could not have happened. I know they tried to explain it away by claiming that, while Skynet wiped out most of humanity in 1997, it wasn't until later that they figured out how to send something back in time. Fine, whatevs. The problem isn't the time travel, though; it's that the time traveler also winds up being John's dad. Meaning that John couldn't have existed in 1997 (or any other time) because he would not have sent Kyle back in time for another 32 years. Moreover, if we are supposed to believe that someone else originally fathered John Connor and was beaten to the punch when Kyle went back in time, we have dual problems of (a) jacking up the space-time continuum as Doc Brown warned against and (b) figuring out why John Connor as sired by the original babydaddy would have become the great military leader of the resistance and whether that would change if he was fathered instead by Kyle.
Also, assuming that John in 2029 somehow knew that he was sending Kyle back to knock up his mom, that's creepy, and it results in the awkward situation where John Connor is boss his dad around between 1997 and 2029. Dysfunction for the win!
Number of running backs (and number players in the NFL with greater than six carries) who have a higher yards/carry than Derrick Ward's 8.3.
Quarters Mario Williams has played since his last sack.
It's a CONSPIRACY, MAN!
Speech that a friend (who shall remain nameless) gave to my son over the weekend: "Look ... it's just ... they are lying to you with all that D.A.R.E. [stuff], man. It's all a huge lie. There is no rational reason why weed should be illegal if alcohol and tobacco are legal. None. They just do it to make money and keep people in prison."
"The Officials Decided The Game."
According to Peter King, that is. Apparently, King saw only the snippet of Andre Johnson's fantastic catch along the sideline, thought he saw offensive pass interference, and decided that he would opine on the issue. Because that's what great writers do, dontchaknow?
Problemo is, any push by Andre came after (and because of) Brandon Flowers' attempt to armbar Andre while not even playing the ball, which is the penalty the official threw the flag for. The "separation" you might have seen was not a function of some huge shove designed to get Flowers out of the way; it was because Andre adjusted to the ball in flight and cut toward the sideline while Flowers looked upfield for a ref who would listen to his whining and continued to run straight up the field instead of following Andre. Here, let's do it in picture form. (All clips taken from seconds 13 through 19 of the NFL.com video.)
Frame 1: Flowers is watching Andre's eyes. Frame 2: As Andre starts to turn his shoulders, Flowers starts to extend his right arm. Frame 3: Flowers closes the gap and has his right arm above Andre's arms, but Flowers is still not playing the ball at all.
Frame 4: Flowers still hasn't turned his head, continues to have contact with Andre's left (i.e. inside) arm. Note: This contact, with the ball in flight, impeding Andre's ability to play the ball, is sufficient for the flag to be thrown for pass interference. Frame 5: Andre's arm is pushed lower as Flowers continues to not look at the ball. Frame 6: Flowers begins to look back for the ball while maintaining contact across Andre's arm.
Frame 7: Contact maintained, Flowers finally locates ball. Frame 8: Andre adjusts body to get out from under Flowers' arm, Flowers turns more of his back to Andre as he looks for ball. Frame 9: Andre frees arm, Flowers feels it on his back.
Frame 10: Flowers appears to be reaching back to find Andre, though he also might be over-exaggerating the extent of Andre's "push." Frame 11 and Frame 12: For the extent to which Flowers is about to start whining in the next frames, his torso barely moves and there is no perceptible forward motion or stumble or anything that would suggest any more than he felt Andre's arm in his back and tried to sell that he was shoved. After having already committed P.I., mind you.
Frame 13: Andre starts to veer toward sideline because he is playing the ball, while Flowers starts to turn his head toward official. Frame 14 and Frame 15: Separation continues because Flowers is running straight up field while Dre plays the ball. BECAUSE IT IS STILL IN FLIGHT, BRANDON.
Frames 16-18: Andre still playing the ball and adjusting toward the sideline; Flowers throwing his hands up and whining instead of adjusting with Dre and finishing the play.
Frame 19: Flowers realizes the ball is still in flight; Andre breaks harder toward sideline. Frame 20 and Frame 21: Andre puts hands up to make the catch as Flowers is forced to cut back hard to account for his running away from the play while whining.
Frames 22 through 24: Dre completes the catch, gets both feet down, steps out of bounds; Flowers sees it happen, then immediately turns back to the ref to continue whining.
SO, you've got Brandon Flowers committing pass interference, then attempting to sell the idea that Dre shoved him from behind in order to make the catch, when the truth is that Flowers' own giving up on the play once he felt contact is what created the separation to make the play easier for The Great One.
Also, Chiefs fans, you realize that your team still could have stopped the Texans from scoring after this play happened, right? Did no one give you that memo?
But, As Long As We're Complaining.
The pass interference call against Kareem Jackson on fourth down, which led directly to a Chiefs TD when it should have been Houston ball was FAR more egregious of a bad call than not calling an offsetting penalty on Andre was. The leg whip? Weak. The lack of a P.I. call against Flowers on Andre earlier in the game? Also weak. In fact, it's fairly ironic to hear the fans of a team who got more than their fair share of bad calls for three-plus quarters complain so loudly about not getting an offensive P.I. when their corner had already interfered with the best WR in football. (And, yes, the fact that he's the best matters in this context.)
Thrill of Victory.
TXT MSG of the Week(s).
Because I didn't post a Hangover last week, I'm making the executive decision that I can use texts from either of the past two games for this feature. Deal.
From grungedave during the Giants game:
Brian Cushing's mom just called the cops on me. For real.
From Lina Banks, after she first made the comment that it was too bad I couldn't take Gabe to see a winning team:
I'll always hate the Texans for making me eat crow.
From my wife, who was watching the Chiefs game on TV:
Just once -- ONCE! -- can I get an announcer that ISN'T hating on the Texans?!
The Marijuana Pepsi Sawyer Inexplicable Decision Of The Week.
Much like the decision to name a child "Marijuana Pepsi," the decision to return Eugene Wilson to the starting lineup when there were ANY healthy DBs available to take his place defies all logic. I realize that Troy Nolan is not Ed Reed, but compared to Wilson he is Superman times Ed Reed to the power of awesome.
This new possible suspension for helmet-to-helmet hits and "devastating hits" (whatever THOSE are) might have an unintended positive consequence for the Texans, in that it might force our coaches to drill the players on actually wrapping up and making a form tackle instead of trying to knock people over with one big hit. Of our myriad defensive problems, the inability to execute something as fundamental as a tackle is perhaps the most troubling. If the league is going to crack down on the kinds of hits that lend themselves to poor tackling, a guy can hope that better tackling will be the end result right?
What's that? Frank Bush is absolutely awful at his job and has shown us nothing to think that he would take this opportunity to try and improve our tackling? La la la la la, I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!!
Some Notes of Thanks.
I would like to say thank you to Tim and Marty McHale for the great seats, and to Tim and Evan (DisplacedTexan) for helping Gabe have a great time hanging out with the guys. Additional thanks to Josh and the rest of the LoneSpot Tailgaters for the great food and drinks.