Watching the second half on Sunday, I was reminded of Lawrence Taylor.
Specifically, I recalled a "60 Minutes" interview with Taylor from (I think) 2004, in which the Hall of Famer recounted his days as a cokehead.1 LT said, basically, that he looked around and realized that he was spending thousands of dollars a day to snort coke (or smoke crack) and have sex with up to six prostitutes per day.2 He even described his lavish, sprawling mansion as "like a crackhouse." According to Taylor, when he saw all of this, he realized that he'd hit rock bottom.3
This struck me as patently ridiculous. I don't mean to make light of LT's drug problems, but, when you still have (a) thousands of dollars to spend every day on cocaine and hookers and (b) a mansion, you are nowhere near rock bottom. Hell, you can't even see rock bottom from that vantage point. If rock bottom came up to you on the street and asked how to get to the nearest truck stop bathroom, you'd have no idea who you were talking to.4 Rock bottom is waking up on a White Castle bathroom floor at 4am after a two-week crack bender that saw you pawn your mom's car, rob your grandmother at knife point, and frequent 37 highway rest areas in search of cash from lonely truckers.
In that context, at best (or "worst," I suppose), Taylor was on a rapid downward spiral; metaphorically speaking, however, Texans fans are just now realizing that we are, indeed, on the floor of a public restroom, it smells strongly of urine and small cheeseburgers, and we have no idea where mom's keys are.
Now, I know that we could (and probably will?) lose next Sunday against Jacksonville, which might make it seem premature to call the loss to Denver our low point. Not true. There is nothing that says rock bottom is a singular moment. If our nadir stretches over two weeks --- and, personally, I felt the cold sting of the white subway tile on my face at the end of the Jets game --- so be it. It's still rock bottom.
Of course, like any good addict, be his drug of choice cocaine, ketamine, or Deep Steel Blue, most Texans fans will deny that this is our low point. A few weeks back, I suggested that it couldn't get worse, and Papabear corrected me by pointing out that the Texans could pack up and leave for Los Angeles. Sure, that's true, and that would suck immeasurably, but it's not a further slide any more than the shutout of the Rusty Smith All-Stars was a sign of improvement.
I see it like this: in 1980, Richard Pryor was drinking 151 and freebasing cocaine, when he managed to set himself on fire. He ran screaming down the street --- which, in retrospect, might be the most logical part of the incident --- until he was subdued by police. Pryor spent six weeks in rehab recovering from the burns and detoxing. In the process, he managed to lose a role in Mel Brooks' History of the World, Pt. 1 and the role of Billy Ray Valentine in Trading Places.
Now, it wasn't just the fire that was rock bottom for Pryor, nor was it the loss of movie roles: it was all of it, from the freebasing to the fire to the natural extension of those habits and that accident. A Texans move (pretending for a second that one happened following this season or next if 2011 was similarly awful) would not be "worse" as much as it would be a consequence of 2010 in toto.5
Optimists will tell you that the "good" thing about hitting the bottom is "there's nowhere to go but up." This is usually said by some well-meaning family member during a tearful intervention after you've spent two weeks thinking you were the subject of a documentary if A&E is to be believed.6 Well-meaning or not, this is a lie; you could always STAY at the bottom or move laterally like a crab on the sea floor. While bottoming out does present a crossroads of sorts, in that you can basically get better or lose everything, nothing says you have to go "up." Something has to prompt that improvement.
Importantly, most people cannot seem make the kind of path-correcting decision needed on their own. This is why interventions serve a purpose. In fact, they serve multiple purposes. Primary among these is providing a lens through which the addict can see that he needs help. Secondary, however, is the intervenors' showing that they recognize what the addict is going through and doing whatever they can to help him or her.
Carrying this analogy to its end (and doing so at the risk of being somewhat pedantic), this is where Texans fans find themselves today: in need of an intervention on a pretty grand scale. Adding to our problems, the only person who can provide an effective intervention in this situation is Bob McNair. Only McNair can show us that he sees what we are going through while watching the current staff waste Andre Johnson, Mario Williams, and the rest.
More to the point, only McNair has the ability to provide fans with the help they actually need: firing Gary Kubiak and Rick Smith. (Fandom's version of a nice rehab facility in Malibu.) If McNair pulls the trigger (figuratively or, one can dream, literally) and gets rid of these two, Texans fans could enter 2011 like a fan version of ... um ... Jodi Sweetin, I guess. If not? Picture Reliant Stadium 2/3 full of Randy Quaids and Amy Winehouses.7
And Now, Five Great Moments From Awesome Christmas(ish) Movies As Determined By Me
1. Christmas Vacation.
2. Bad Santa
4. The Ref.
5. Trading Places.
OD'd In Denver.
Owen Daniels' line from Sunday --- 8 catches for 73 yards and a TD --- was a flashback to the halcyon days of 2008, when the future under Kubiak seemed bright, and Daniels seemed like he was among the elite tight ends in the league. Man, that seems like such a long time ago.
Still, this game will provide some "proof" for Daniels in his negotiations with a different team after the season. "See, I can still do it...I just need the chance!" Someone will believe him, too. I just hope it's not us; at this point, I don't see anything Daniels brings to the table that is worth the money he will seek.
The Bush Doctrine.
As I started writing this post, Monday Night Football kicked off. Atlanta went three-and-out, and Reggie Bush returned the punt about four yards (HE'S ELECTRIC!). He took a hard tackle up around the shoulders. Now, roughly ten minutes later, we see him on the sidelines, "motioning toward the collarbone area" (per Mike Tirico). Comedy potential ... rising.
[Fantastically, as I finished typing the previous sentence, Bush returned a second punt, suggesting that he did not break anything on the first one. Of course, he took another solid hit, and he fumbled.]
Oh, speaking of Reggie...
Week in the 2010 season in which Arian Foster bested Reggie Bush's best single-season rushing total.
Week in the 2010 season in which Arian Foster's rushing yardage was better than Reggie Bush's best single-season total yards from scrimmage.
Career rushing touchdowns by both Reggie Bush and Arian Foster. Of course, Bush has the lead in games played, 59 to 21.
A Question for Gary Kubiak and Frank Bush.
Uh, seriously? I mean did you honestly not think for one moment that the Broncos might have Tim Tebow start off throwing screens or that they might go back to the screen passes whenever they absolutely needed a completion? I mean, that seemed obvious to pretty much anyone who watches football with regularity inasmuch as those short passes against the Texans' porous defense seem to work very well. Throw in that Tim Tebow cannot throw a deep ball with any real accuracy, and it seemed highly probable that the Broncos would dumb down the passing game and throw screens as frequently as possible.
So again I ask: did this not cross either of your minds? Because I'll be honest --- the defense looked like no one had even uttered the words "screen pass" during the entire week of practice. Every single time a running back released, the linebackers seemed absolutely lost. I can't be sure, but it seemed like Brian Cushing literally pooped his pants at one point.
The Hangover sends slightly belated but totally heartfelt congrats to reader (and former DGDB&D poet laureate) Vega for the birth of his daughter, Kelley Alexis Vega.
Strap, God Wants You On That Floor.
To quote George from Hoosiers, "Look, mister, there's two kinds of dumb: a guy that gets naked and runs out in the snow and barks at the moon, and a guy who does the same thing in my living room. First one don't matter; the second one you're kinda forced to deal with."
With that in mind, would someone PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, TELL MATT SCHAUB TO STOP THROWING THREE-YARD PASSES ON THIRD AND LONG?! PLEASE?!?!
Seriously, this habit --- along with Schaub's overt willingness to throw underneath when the opponent is in a prevent defense and is begging Scahub to throw there --- is the most maddening part of Schaub's season in my opinion. It's almost as if Kubiak's Aggrificial Intelligence is infecting the entire team.
As Long As We're Asking Questions...
It's 2nd-and-9 at the Denver 39-yard line, 1:19 to play (Texans with one timeout), and you are down by one point. Your kicker has already hit from 54 and 57 yards on the day. Most importantly, you have the league's leading rusher, who is averaging 4.8 yards/carry on the day (and 4.9/carry on the season). You know that five or more yards likely has you well within Rackers' range.
So, knowing all of that, why in the world was Schaub throwing on that play, especially over the short middle where there were sure to be extra hands? Did we learn NOTHING from the overtime experience against the Ravens??
And for every sprinkle I find, I shall KILL YOU!
My two-year-old daughter theoretically goes to bed around 8pm every night. (I say theoretically because 2-year-olds operate on a slightly different timescale from the rest of us, not unlike GPS satellites or Chrissy on Growing Pains.) On Christmas Eve, we put her down about 8:15 and then got to work wrapping presents.
Around 8:30, I heard a rustling sound in the front living room. I went to investigate, and I found Sophia hiding behind the Christmas tree. She was crouched behind a large present.
"What are you doing?"
"I waiting for Santa. I get his bag of presents."
After I put her back to bed, I remembered that Sophia had actually mentioned this plan earlier, telling my wife during lunch that she wanted to "hide behind the tree and surprise Santa tonight." It suddenly dawned on me: my daughter is an evil criminal mastermind.
Think about it. She'd pondered the arrival of Santa and his big bag of gifts hours before, and had realized that getting that bag meant more presents for her. She'd then cased the layout of the area around the tree, located a place where she thought she could avoid detection by her parents, and filed this info away. Then, eight hours later, she let us think she was going to bed like normal, only to sneak out of her bed shortly after we left her room and take up her predetermined place from which she would attack Santa Claus and steal his entire bag of toys. (I am not sure how she planned to overpower Kris Kringle, though it would not surprise me to find that she'd mail-ordered chloroform or curare darts. Remind me to check her closet tomorrow.)
I don't know whether to be impressed by her cunning or to fear for my life.
Yards passing allowed by the Texans in 2010, worst in the league. They are now on pace to allow 4,436, which would be second-worst all-time behind the 1995 Falcons (4,541) and ahead of the 2005 49ers (4,427).
Arian Foster Record Watch: 5.
Number of catches Foster needs against Jacksonville to break the single-season team record for receptions by a running back. His 594 yards receiving are already a Texans running back record.
Arian Foster Record Watch: 178, 257.
Rushing yards and total yards from scrimmage Foster needs to break the single-season NFL record for both by an undrafted player (Priest Holmes, 2002).
And Now, A Video of Two Flatworms Dueling ... With Their Penises
Arian Foster's week 1 rushing total, which remains (a) the best in the league by any back this season and (b) the only 200-yard performance by any NFL running back this year. No other back even has a 190-yard game, with Peyton Hillis' 184 being the closest.
Sacks allowed by Eric Winston in 2010, for a total of 71 yards lost.
Passes completed on Eugene Wilson in 2010. (Number approximate)
Compare and Contrast, Frank Bush Edition.
Brian Cushing's average line in 2009: 8.4 tackles, .6 passes defended, .25 INT, .3 sacks.
Brian Cushing's average line in 2010: 4.5 tackles, .36 passes defended, 0 INT, .2 sacks.
Turnovers created by Bernard Pollard in 2009: 8 (4 INT, 3 FR, 1 FF).
Turnovers created by Bernard Pollard in 2010: 3 (3 FF).
Zac Diles, 2009: 7.5 TFL, 2 FF, 1 FR, 1 PD, 1 safety.
Zac Diles, 2010: 3 TFL, 0 FF, 0 FR, 0 PD, 0 safety.
Eugene Wilson, 2009: 1 FF, 3 PD, 2 INT.
Eugene Wilson, 2010: 0 FF, 3 PD, 0 INT.
A Piece of Parenting Advice
When you are forced to start buying stuff like highchairs, cribs, strollers, and car seats, spend as much as you can afford on them. This is not about status; your woman will certainly boast to other females if the little one has the Chicco Cortina travel system, but you literally will not care at all. No, this is about making your life easier. The difference in price in baby stuff has little if anything to do with actual quality and almost everything to do with how easy it is to assemble/install the product.
It's simple: Every dollar you spend above the cost of a cheaper model will make your life that much easier when it comes time to put the thing together. Given how ... um ... interesting living with a pregnant woman can be, you'll appreciate anything that makes your life easier. Trust me on this.
Oh, also, spending extra cash on the front end will REALLY save you a headache in a couple years. Whereas the more expensive crib will come apart easily with little more than an allen wrench, a cheaper crib that was near impossible to put together will require a grinder and a reciprocating saw to take apart. Save yourself the headache.
If the season ended today, in addition to being somewhat surprised due to the lack of a Week 17, the Texans would pick 8th in the 2011 NFL Draft. Ignoring labor issues for the moment, here's my absurdly early wish list:
1. Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
2. Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
3. Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State
4. Rahim Moore, FS, UCLA
5. Greg Jones, OLB, Michigan State
6. Jerrell Powe, NT, Ole Miss
7. Derrick Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
The Marijuana Pepsi Sawyer Inexplicable Decision Of The Week.
Much like the decision to name a child "Marijuana Pepsi," Frank Bush's decision to call an "all-out blitz" (as Don Criqui's unbearable voice referred to it) on the play when Tim Tebow ran for a touchdown, and to make such a call while leaving the LEFT SIDE of the field vacant against a LEFT HANDED QB WHO IS MORE COMFORTABLE RUNNING THAN PASSING, is just dumbfounding. It's also par for the course. I don't know much, but I know that having stupidity as your default setting is probably not the best strategy.
TXT MSGS of the Week
BFD, just echoing general sentiment
I would smash a bottle over Tebow's head and slit his throat with the rest.
Paul, early in the first quarter
Sad, but true: If Tebow gets a passer rating above 80, your secondary should be euthanized en masse. [Author's note: Tebow finished with a rating of 89.1, and I can't really argue with Paul's conclusion.]
Evan, summing it all up
I believe Homer Simpson put it thusly: this is the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked.
1 I don't actually use that term disparagingly. Some of my favorite people have been cokeheads. Besides, when you are singularly responsible for the widespread adoption of modern left tackles and a two-back set, both in effort to save the opposing QBs' lives, common courtesy dictates that I not use any name disparagingly toward you.
2 I wonder if they are cheaper by the half dozen?
3 With the pending allegations of statutory rape of a 16-year-old, I assume LT has recalibrated exactly where rock bottom is.
4 Though I suppose you would realize that you were talking to a concept, which might be dissettling.
5 Note: I don't think the Texans are going anywhere, mind you. To my knowledge, that's not even being discussed, nor should it. My point is only that, if they did, that wouldn't change that we're already at rock bottom.
6 That some tweaker in Mankato could believe that A&E somehow located him among all the other addicts available in middle America and decided that he was the best possible option for a documentary is probably the best proof the show can give that the subject is really, really out of touch.
7 The other 1/3 of the people in attendance would, of course, be the Vince Young Fanboys who are far nuttier than we could ever dream of being. Yeah, suuuuure he just needs a better coach...right on, big guy...