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.
I was going to start off this column with the 2003 New England Patriots analogy but since that was already taken, lets go a different route.
Hey, is that Antonio Gates running down my street with no one near him?
Okay, sorry, I'll be nice.
Frustration. In a word, that about sums it up. What should have been a decisive Texans victory against a San Diego team that will not make the playoffs this season, turned into a Texans fan's worst nightmare. As you all know by now, the Texans self-destructed with four turnovers to gift-wrap a 27-20 victory for the visiting Chargers.
At least it wasn't the play calling.
Along with the turnovers, the Texans pass defense struggled all day, making Drew Brees and Antonio Gates look a little bit like Dan Fouts and Kellen Winslow Sr.
The fans did their part. I'll say it again. Texans fans were outstanding yesterday, making lots of noise and most if it being at the right times. Brees seemed bothered by the noise early in the game. He had to burn a few timeouts and there were also a couple of false starts by the Chargers offensive line that were a direct result of the Texans' version of the 12th Man.
By the way, whoever thought of the "Quiet Please! Offense at Work" warning sign that was shown on the big screen when the Texans had the ball deserves kudos. That's a great way to communicate that all-important message to those who still don't get it. Why wasn't it used more? I only saw it once and then it disappeared in the second half – kind of like the Texans pass defense.
Okay, sorry again. I'll be nice, I promise.
What about Babin? I loved his performance yesterday. He cut down LaDanian Tomlinson in the backfield twice on nice open field tackles. He showed tremendous range and speed getting downfield on LT's long run. Next time, just watch that out of bounds late hit stuff Jason, but other than that, you did a great job.
Aside from the turnovers, the offense wasn't half bad racking up 336 yards and 20 first downs. Keep that up – and eliminate the turnovers – and the Texans will be fine, at least on the offense. By the way, if you were wondering why the Texans didn't throw deeper more often, it was due to the two-deep zone safety coverage that the Chargers were playing. It's more difficult to spring deep threat Corey Bradford free on the long tosses against that type of defense but it does open up the shorter underneath routes, and you saw the Texans exploit that effectively with Domanick Davis, Jabar Gaffney and Andre Johnson working underneath.
The defense still needs to generate more pressure on the opposing quarterback. The Chargers offensive line isn't special but Brees had all day to throw. Aside from one crushing sack by Kailee Wong late in the game, the Texans front seven rarely pressured Brees. Aside from the one long run by LT, the run defense did a fair job.
Before you think things will get better next week in Detroit, let me remind you that the Lions were 5-3 at home last year with late-season wins over the Rams and Green Bay. This is the Lions' home opener and they will be looking to go 2-0 after beating the Bears on the road yesterday. It won't be easy. Nothing ever is in the NFL. Let's just hope we see the Texans play mistake-free football for a change and hope that the defense kicks it up a notch. I'd hate to see us go into K.C. at 0-2.
- I heard the roof was closed yesterday because of the heat. Yes it was hot but what happened to that idea where the Texans would use our heat and humidity as a home field advantage early in the season, forcing the opponents to wear dark colors and look into the sun while standing on the sunny east sideline? We made the San Diegans feel right at home yesterday with that 72-degree environment. I've been to every game at Reliant and in my opinion the crowd noise in the stadium (if that's part of the thinking) isn't that much different - roof open or roof closed.
- Has anyone else noticed the poor sound quality at Reliant recently? The music used for introductions, before kickoffs, and after scores is barely audible. It's definitely not as good as in past years. Fans feed off that music – even old guys like me. Hopefully that will be fixed by the time the Raiders come to town.
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