EDITOR'S NOTE:Texans fan Alan J. Burge will be writing a "Voice of the Fan" column throughout the 2004 season. His latest installment is below. Alan's views do not necessarily reflect the views of the organization.
What a big day it was for sports fans in H-Town on Sunday. Reliant Stadium was packed with 70,000-plus who saw the Texans defeat the Raiders, and only six miles away another 43,000 witnessed the conclusion of one of the best comeback stories ever as the Astros beat Colorado to clinch a spot in the NL playoffs.
Yes, it's a good day to be a fan. The Texans are back on track at 2-2. Many of us, including yours truly had the Texans at 2-2 after four games but they didn't get there as most thought they would. Please, no more grumbling about the San Diego and Detroit games. That's history and there's nothing we can do about that. The fact is that we're ¼ of the way through the season, only one game out of first place in the division, and the Titans are looking up at us in the standings.
One of the major reasons the Texans lost their first two games was because of turnovers, and yesterday the Texans took a giant step toward their goal to get back on the right side of that ledger. The Texans finished plus-4 in turnovers against Oakland and it was a major reason for the victory. So far this season, the Texans are living proof that teams live and die on turnovers. Plus, the defense has scored a touchdown in each of its last two games and not coincidentally, the Texans have won both games.
Speaking of defense, I wasn't real happy looking up at the scoreboard late in the second quarter yesterday and seeing Oakland with 260 something yards. But, keeping the Raiders off the scoreboard in the second half made up for that in a big way. It's hard to complain when you set a team record for most points scored and 13 of those points were either scored by the defense or were set up by takeaways by the defense. Aside from the freaky win at Heinz in 2002 where the offense totaled something like 47 yards, the Texans 13 point margin of victory yesterday was their largest ever.
Raider fan was out in force before the game and through the first half, talking his usual "stuff" about how they were going to do this and do that, but about mid-way through the fourth quarter, I looked around and most of them had slinked away, most likely under the cover of that long clock eating drive by the Texans that sealed their fate. There were a few interesting Raider fans at the game. The nationally recognized "Spike" graced our tailgate with several of his friends who came in from the San Francisco/Oakland Bay area and from Las Vegas. I saw another Raider fan wearing a helmet with two swords appearing to go through his head. Funny stuff. It was a great day for people watching and props to Raider fan for the sideshow.
I hope everyone got to see the hit that Jason Simmons put on Barry Sims. It happened on Dunta Robinson's second interception return and it was one for the highlight reels. The helmet flying through the air and the fact that Simmons gives away 100 pounds to Sims made it extra special. Thankfully Sims wasn't hurt. Too many times the players don't get up from hard hits and while most fans love to see a bit hit like that, none of us want anyone to be seriously injured.
One of the reasons the Raiders had a tough time yesterday was the heat and humidity. For the last two seasons we've heard the Texans talk about creating a home field advantage by keeping the roof open and forcing the opponents to wear their dark colors early season games. On Sunday that strategy appeared to work to perfection as the Raiders appeared to be gassed in the fourth quarter after baking in their black jerseys on the east sideline for most of the game. I think the roof should be open again for the Vikings. Those dark purple jerseys will get awful hot for guys who think 80 degrees is a hot day.
Game balls this week go to Andre Johnson for his 100 receiving yards and a TD, Jonathan Wells for his 100 rushing effort, Dunta Robinson for his 2 INT performance, and the Defense, even though they had a tough first half and gave up way too many rushing yards, they scored a TD, had four takeaways and didn't commit a penalty the entire game. The fans also get a game ball (except for the leave-early to beat the traffic types) since we helped create chaos inside of Kerry Collins' ear holes.
All in all it was a good team effort on Sunday but there is still room for improvement. Thankfully we won't have to hear any more haircut stories.
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