The guy in the Tony Gonzales jersey had seen enough.
With about 4 minutes left in the game, he decided it was time to leave. As he started to make his way to the aisle, a happy Texans fan yelled out a good natured, "How 'bout them Chiefs?"
The Chiefs fan, obviously frustrated over what he witnessed for the past three hours, shot back, "How about your last five years?"
I couldn't let that one go, so I reminded the guy in the red 88 jersey that "it's all about today my friend."
He just looked at me, shrugged, and proceeded for the exit.
That 10-second exchange between three strangers made me stop and think. What exactly did the Texans' 24-56 record have to do with Sunday?
I couldn't think of a good answer, except that I saw the same frustration in that KC fan's face that I've had on mine since Week 2 of 2002.
I think it's about time for other teams' fans to carry our past burdens. Here's to sharing.
It was a fun game, wasn't it?
In the parking lot before the game, I couldn't help but worry about how the Texans were going to perform…and if I was going to melt in the wonderful early September heat and humidity.
All the optimism about our 'new' team would go out the door in a flash if the Texans laid an egg on Sunday. How could anyone know what to expect? Yes, there were promising signs in preseason, but you know how that goes.
The Chiefs' problems were well-documented, but they still had Tony G, Larry Johnson, and a veteran defensive unit under a wily coordinator named Gunther Cunningham.
My concerns weren't put to rest until the Texans held the Chiefs to a field goal late in the 3rd quarter. Yes, I'm a worry wart, but those of us who have been Houston NFL fans since the mid 70's have adequate reason to worry about blown leads and good things gone bad.
The 10-minute drive to close it out in the 4th was icing on the cake. Some people may have been bored to death by a 15-play, 65-yard drive that resulted "only" in a field goal, but to me it was a thing of beauty.
It was a great day to be at the stadium. The fans were energetic. The players were energetic. And it's always fun to win by 17.
Come to think of it, Texans fans haven't personally witnessed this kind of domination very often. The 20-6 win over Jacksonville in Week 8 of 2004 comes to mind.
A few random thoughts from the game in no particular order:
- I saw a lot of Texans fans wearing Battle Red jerseys and t-shirts. Usually a great idea, but not on Liberty White Day when you're playing the Chiefs.
- Not totally visible on the CBS broadcast was Travis Johnson making a beeline for Texans owner Bob McNair and GM Rick Smith after his interception. McNair and Smith were standing on the Texans' sideline and were on the receiving end of some exuberant high fives from Johnson after his interception ended the Chiefs' final drive.
- A couple things I noticed about Matt Schaub was his ability to throw to spots and hit receivers in full stride. From my angle (sitting near the goal line on the Texans' sideline), you could really appreciate both dimensions (down and cross field) of Matt's perfectly targeted throw to Andre Johnson. Likewise, earlier in the game, at the 5:16 mark of the 1st quarter to be exact, Schaub found Jacoby Jones in traffic for 26 yards on a key 3rd-and-10 conversion. Not to get all googly or anything, but that's exactly the kind of backbreaker we're used to seeing from Peyton Manning when you think you have them stopped on 3rd-and-long.
- I saw Schaub do other things that made me happy. The 14-yard completion to Owen Daniels on a 3rd-and-4 at the 14:20 mark of the 4th quarter might not show up in the stat sheet, but it was a huge play since Schaub delivered over the middle, on target, while under intense pressure in a key situation to extend a drive. Clutch.
- We also saw Schaub make a very bad decision trying to force a ball to AJ in the end zone.
- Was that Rudy Giuliani who I saw talking to Bob McNair on the Texans' sideline before the game? Answer: Yes.
- Was that Bum Phillips in the owner's box during the game? Answer: Yes. I wonder how he got to Dallas in time to see Wade's opener?
- Does anyone else think that NBC's Football Night in America is about the biggest yawner on television? It's stodgy and stuffy. The music makes me think I'm watching the nightly news. The set is drab and dull and more befitting of a wake. It's certainly not "must see TV" after immersing oneself in an exciting day of football. Unless you're tired out from tailgating and need something to put you to sleep. It's basically unwatchable.
- Matt Turk's punts were a thing of beauty. Just before halftime, Turk launched one from the Texans' 7-yard line. It was caught – on the fly – at the Chiefs' 26.
- Things you hear at the stadium: When Chiefs punt returner Eddie Drummond put the ball on the ground early in the second quarter, my first indication was the entire South end zone (to my right) screaming ball! or fumble! (I couldn't tell). Drummond had his back to me and I couldn't see the ball come out.
- The Texans 2 turnover margin is a good start.
- I liked the way the Texans mixed up the play calling. They were anything but predictable. The long bomb to AJ was on 1st-and-10. The attempted kill shot from Schaub to Kevin Walter at 9:51 of the 3rd quarter was also on 1st down and was only three plays after Mario Williams fumble return for a TD. Only a great play from Chiefs defender Bernard Pollard kept the Texans from going up 24-0.
- Steve McKinney getting run over by Alfonso Boone on consecutive plays at the end of the first half was a bit unsettling. McKinney has been playing well since returning to the center position, but he was clearly overmatched on those two plays. Of course, we don't notice the plays he 'wins.'
- The illegal downfield calls on Chester Pitts and Fred Weary shows that the offensive line is still getting used to a quarterback who is not likely to run when his first reads aren't open and/or when his protection breaks down.
- Von Hutchins is showing a nose for the ball forcing two turnovers, one during Drummond's return and another after a hard hit on Chiefs receiver Jeff Webb.
- Jamar Fletcher gets kudos for his hit that enabled Mario's first NFL TD.
- N.D Kalu gets a game ball from me. He injured his hand during his assist on Mario's first sack, came to the sideline in obvious pain, went into the locker room and got "casted up," then came back out and flew through the air with the greatest of ease to sack Huard late in the game.
- Matt Schaub lined up in the shotgun eight times, seven in the 1st half. I'll do a Panthers preview on Friday.
You can contact Alan Burge at firstname.lastname@example.org