First of all, let's get the Travis Johnson thing out of the way. I'll try to sum it up as simply as I can:
- The block was legal, but cheap.
- Given the reaction and ensuing debate over the past 24 hours, it's obvious the rule for cut blocks in that situation needs to be reviewed by the NFL's competition committee. Cuts are illegal on certain plays including punt, kickoff and turnover returns. Cuts are legal in other situations (close line play) when the players are less likely to generate enough velocity and momentum – theoretically at least – to destroy a player's knee when blocked. Of course, there are cases when defensive linemen have injured their knees from cut blocks, and when quarterbacks have torn ACLs from cut block-like tackles.
- Trent Green wasn't real smart leading with his head given his history of head injury.
- TJ wasn't real smart in post-game comments. I don't have as big of a problem over his on-field actions because it appeared to me that he didn't know immediately that Green was out.
- Fans have a general lack of understanding when it comes to the terms cut block and chop block and when cut blocks are legal. Buy a rule book - 10 bucks at your local bookstore.
Now for the game.
I'll describe it like I did to a person who sits in my row. It was like three hours of torture followed by a filet mignon dinner.
The Texans played ugly for much of the afternoon and won ugly, but that's progress, right?
The running game and red zone offense is on life support, but I'll let others debate whether it's due to A) Ron Dayne, B) Samkon Gado, C) the loss of Steve McKinney at center, D) the absence of Ahman Green, or E) all of the above.
I have my theories, but getting to a clear answer on that multiple choice question is kind of like trying to get Texans fans to stay quiet when the Texans have the ball, or stand up and yell when the opponent has the ball, or convince them that it's more fun inside the stadium with a tie score and 5 minutes left in an NFL game than it is sitting in the very traffic you're trying to beat - or hearing the crowd roar as you're walking down the ramps.
I stayed in my seat until well after 0:00, but was still able to exit the parking lot at 3:38 p.m. (I like to get home to watch the second half of the late games).
On a positive note, Matt Schaub continues to impress. Schaub, on his 'worst day,' passed for nearly 300 yards and had 58 more yards of receptions negated because of penalties. When it mattered the most, Schaub completed four passes for 58 yards in a minute despite starting on his own three-yard line to set up Kris Brown for the game-winner.
C.C. Brown and much-maligned Petey Faggins played well. It was nice to see Fred Bennett get some playing time.
Although the run defense struggled at times, Amobi Okoye was very active and DeMeco Ryans was his usual steady self. Mario Williams had a nice sack.
Dexter Wynn did a nice job returning five kicks for a 32-yard average. Owen Daniels, Kevin Walter and Andre Davis had some clutch catches.
Kris Brown? Pretty amazing stuff. I had a side view of the kick, so I knew immediately that it would have the distance. I turned to my right to see the fan reaction in the south end zone – and that's about the last thing I remember before getting pummeled about the head and shoulders by my section neighbor in the row behind me who later confessed that he thought the game was over, instead there was 0:01 remaining.
It's all good. It's been a long time since Houston NFL fans have been able to exchange friendly flogs on a regular basis, and I'm ready for more. But it's about to get much tougher and we need some of our starters to make it back on the playing field.
- Going into Monday Night, Matt Schaub is 5th in the NFL in passing yards with 1299.
- Owen Daniels is 4th in the league in receptions among tight ends behind only Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez, and Dallas Clark.
- Ryans is 6th in the NFL in tackles.
- Despite a less than stellar performance against Miami, the Texans' defense against the run is still the 9th best in the NFL.
- Will Demps gets my tough guy award for the week. Demps dislocated his elbow during a tackle Sunday. After the Texans' medical staff popped the elbow back in place and x-rayed it to make sure everything was okay, Demps returned to the game.
- My 'way too premature' list of Texans draft needs for '08 include two running backs, a corner, a center, an offensive tackle and a safety as six of the seven Texans picks.
- The Texans have scored points on five straight drives (all FGs). That must be some kind of record, right?
- It was nice treat to watch the Texans win it again on NFL Network's NFL RePlay during Monday evening prime time.
You can contact Alan Burge at: email@example.com