Houston Texans: Rick’s Rants, Raves, and Review (Oakland Raiders Edition)
Well, Houston Texans fans, I am back. I missed writing this article yesterday because I was spending my day in the hospital, oh what fun! The doctor said that my illness was related to a bacteria, I said that it was because of the Texans’ game against the Oakland Raiders. He got a good laugh out of that one – although he did agree that it was an ugly game.
Penalties, dropped passes, badly thrown balls, terrible blocking, and questionable coaching decisions all contributed to the Texans meltdown against the determined Raiders. This game almost made me want to stop watching the Texans play, only because I do not believe that my heart can handle breaking into a million pieces again.
How the Texans still manage to have the eighth best offense and seventh best defense in the league baffles me. In fact, I would almost believe that Bob McNair is paying a bunch of pencil pushers to pad the team’s stats in order to be that good. You would not know it by looking at the last few games.
In this week’s game against the Raiders the Texans had six penalties for 50 yards. While it was nowhere nearly as bad as last week’s yellow-flag-apalooza, the fact remains that the Texans are still working on being a more disciplined team.
Speaking of penalties…what is wrong with some of these officials. There was a terribly blown pass-interference call against Oakland. I do not remember exactly when the play occurred but when watching the replay during the game it was obvious that the defender pushed WR Jacoby Jones’ shoulder, before the ball got to him, causing him to miss the pass. The officials stated that the pass was not catchable,
well duh! Of course it is not catchable when the receiver is being pushed away from the opportunity to make a play on the ball.
Now, onto the business of Jacoby. Where was he during this game? With WR Andre Johnson out for a few weeks the Texans needed
Jacoby to step up his game in a big way. How does he respond? One reception for nine yards. Jacoby Jones’ stats were so bad that Pop Warner football players were being phoned in to advise him on his playing. In fact, four other players had better receiving stats than Jacoby…one of them was a running back, two were tight-ends, and only one of them was a wide receiver.
While Jacoby Jones was bad in this game I would almost argue that the Texans offensive line was worse. QB Matt Schaub did all that he could to stay on his feet against the Raiders defense. Yet, consistently, the Texans offensive line collapsed and Schaub was forced to get rid of the ball sooner than he had wanted to.
When Schaub was able to get the ball out of his hands it was often deflected by a Raiders defensive lineman (i.e. Lamarr Houston) and when he could not find an open receiver he was planted firmly on the ground. Schaub was sacked three times in this game, prior to this game he was sacked a total of six times over four games. Consequently, the replay officials started placing red markers on the field for Schaub…each one read, “you were here”.
Finally, Coach Gary Kubiak still seems to be incompetent when it comes to play-calling for the Texans. Who, in their right mind, calls for a pass play when you have the ball at your opponents four yard line, with your all-star wide receiver out, and a stellar running back on the field? Oh, yeah, that is right…Gary Kubiak does!
Seriously though, Coach Kubiak has done a better job this season with calling plays that maximize our ability to take time off the clock, get the player out of bounds, and eat up the field…oh, wait, I’m sorry – I was thinking about the Raiders, my bad!
My final, final rant is about the injuries to the team. What in the world is going on!? Is it just me or does there seem to be some sort of Voodoo spell cast on the Texans that curses us to season-destroying injuries almost every season? This game against the Raiders, however, was particularly painful. It’s one thing to lose a player or two to minor injuries but to lose three players to minor injuries, have a battered quarterback, and lose your star OLB for the remainder of the season is excruciatingly painful.
Mario Williams‘ absence is going to leave a huge hole in the Texans’ defense. Not only did he have the leadership necessary to pull the team together but he also had the tenacity and drive to keep pushing through and make big plays. When he left the game on Sunday you could almost watch the defense deflate. Like a helium-filled balloon with a pinhole in it, the defense sank lower and lower until they finally appeared to be totally defeated.
The Texans must, MUST find a way to overcome the injuries that they have suffered if they are to be successful. Good teams win games, great teams win games in spite of injuries, illness, or other circumstances that would defeat many other teams.
QB Matt Schaub, despite the tremendous pressure from the Raiders defense, the lack of offensive weapons, and bad play-calling, showed why he is still a top-tier quarterback in the NFL. Without his star wide receiver Schaub still managed to throw for 416 yards and two TDs. While he had two interceptions in this game the first interception was simply a great play on behalf of Lamarr Houston of the Raiders. Houston not only jumped up to block Schaub’s bullet pass but he also came down with the interception.
My second rave about this game was the Texans run-stopping defense. Yeah, yeah, I know that I just ranted about the weak defense but they did stop the top running back in the league from breaking more than 51 yards total. Many NFL analysts were convinced that the Texans would be destroyed by RB Darren McFadden. However, when it came to stopping the run, the Texans stepped up their game.
What could have easily have turned into a running clinic for the Oakland Raiders was, instead, a proliferation of hard hits and great blocking schemes on behalf of the Texans. So impressive was the Texans ability to stop the run, in fact, that the Raiders eventually gave up running the ball almost all together.
This review would be too painful to do in full for me so I will just let the video sum it all up for you. So please, sit back and enjoy the video while I go throw-up over this week’s pitiful overall performance against the Oakland Raiders.