Monday, November 23, 2009

Gut Punch: Immediate Analysis Of Houston Texans Loss To Tennessee Titans

Coming off of a bye week and two weeks of hype after a close loss to the Colts, the Houston Texans returned home to face a 3-6 Tennessee Titans team. A home game against the last place team in your division should be as good a get well recipe as grandma's chicken soup.
But, alas, it was not meant to be. The Titans came into Reliant Stadium on Monday Night Football and found a way to win 20-17.
Let's just get this part out of the way. Vince Young might not be the best passer, but he does win games. (Question: What is uglier? Vince's passing attempts or his post game brown suit with buttoned shoulder flaps? You decide.) Young is now 22-11 as an NFL starter and 2-0 in Houston. Sure, he was 11-22 for 116 yards, but he scrambled for 73 yards and picked up what seemed like every third down conversion.
Only the most delusional Young supporter would argue it was the sexiest game, but quarterbacks are ultimately measured by victories and Young came away with yet another close victory. You really can't argue with that.
When the Titans got the ball back after a late fourth quarter punt, it seemed like this was the type of game Vince Young was made for. Tie game, three minutes to go. That's VY's time. It simply cannot be argued. It might be frustrating as all get out for Texans fans, but at the end of the day, VY led his team to victory.
But, did the Titans win or the Texans lose? In my mind, there is a difference. Let's first see if the Titans won the game (clearly, they did win the game but this analysis is slightly different).
The Titans most dangerous weapon is Chris Johnson and he ran for over 150 yards. Granted, nobody has really slowed Johnson down this season, but the Texans consistently led him pick up handfuls of yardage time and time again.
In the passing game, there were only a handful of attempts that Young threw down field. The longest completion was 27 yards to Bo Scaife. No receiver had more than 4 catches or more than 42 yards. But Young was able to scramble and run options plays for first downs time and time again.
Nothing pretty, nothing fancy, but the Titans did enough to get a victory. But, is that winning or not losing? Let's continue our analysis.
On the other hand, Steve Slaton was not only a non-factor in the running game (5 carries for 21 yards) but he dropped a key third down pass from Matt Schaub in Titan's territory.
That play occurred was on third and ten, and it's not a given Slaton could have gotten the first down, but a fourth and three or four at least leaves the option of going for the conversion on the table. Fourth and ten equals punt. That is a catch that must be made. Houston punted and Young and Johnson did enough to get a field goal attempt.
Second, and perhaps most egreiously, Kris Brown missed two field goals. Yes, neither was a gimme attempt. But a kicker isn't paid over $1.4 million to miss two field goals on home against a hated rival on Monday Night Football. Kicking is a results-oriented profession, and Brown has looked, in a word, bad recently.
All this season I have railed against running back Chris Brown. I've said he's not tought enough and he's not good enough to play for the Texans. Look like I might have not have been broad enough in my vitriol against players named Chris or Kris Brown.
Kris Brown has cost the Texans two chances to tie games late with missed field goals. That is inexcusable. Chris Brown has cost the Texans two chances to tie games by failing to score touchdowns. That too is inexcusable. Look for left tackle Duane Brown to be the only player sir-named Brown playing for the Texans next season.
Third, is there any question Dunta Robinson is a shadow of the former Pro Bowl player? He gave up Young's only touchdown pass when he simply could not cover rookie Kenny Britt on a crossing pattern. He was flagged for defensive holding. Robinson missed tackles on Young and couldn't cover a single Titan effectively. Guess Rick Smith got lucky that Dunta foolishly didn't sign a long term contract.
If you ask me, the Texans did more to lose the game than the Titans did to win the game. Is that just a matter of semantics? Perhaps. Does it make me or any other Texan fan feel any better? No, not really. And, in the end, doesnt Tennessee get another victory at the expense of the Titans? Again, yes.
Look, I know there were some cheap shots by the Titans that were not penalized. Courtland Finnegan took some swings at both Brown and Slaton in pile ups. Kyle Vanden Bosch catapulted himself helmet first at Matt Schaub numerous times. Schuab was driven to the turn a number of times by Titan defensive linemen.
Yes, none of these were flagged, but whining about the refs blowing this game might make you feel better but is only masking the real problem. This is football and the Titans plays a certain way. The Texans play a certain way. At the end of the day, however, all that matters is the win or the loss.
Is all hope for the season lost? No. Houston remains in the playoff race at 5-5. James Casey played well in the absence of Pro Bowl caliber tight end Owen Daniels. But that's for another day. All that matters today is the devastating and deflating loss to the Titans in a game the Texans lost more than the Titans won.Read More.........


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