Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Letterman jacket gimmick backfires as Texans taken to school by Patriots

Someone in the Houston Texans coaching or front office planning staff has a few questions to answer today. Earlier this week the Texans gave their players Varsity Letterman style jackets for the trip up to New England. It may have seemed like a good idea at the time, however as the Patriots raced to a shockingly easy 21-0 lead, whoever green-lighted that idea must have been considering their future employment options. The Texans, jackets and all, were quite simply taken to school.

The game was to all intents and purposes over before the end of the first quarter. The Patriots offence had its way with the much ballyhooed Texans defence and J.J. Watt (no sacks and no passes batted down) while the defence, led by the incredible Vince Wilfork, destroyed almost everything Houston tried to do. The Texans ran nine plays that went for negative yardage. Nine! Worse yet for Texans fans, their team appeared to raise the white flag very early. Instead of running a hurry up offence or showing any urgency to even cut into the lead, Houston huddled up after every play and ran running plays to backup Ben Tate before bringing on the punting team.

The signature play of the night? There are a few you could choose from, including Brady’s beautiful play action fake, touchdown toss to Brandon Lloyd, however the funniest was J.J. Watt forcing a fumble off Danny Woodhead only for the ball to roll to Lloyd in the end zone for a Patriots touchdown.

Even when Houston did something right, they did it wrong.




They couldn’t even get out of New England without embarrassment. After the game the team’s equipment organisers had issues getting assorted equipment back to their team truck because the cart they drove down a stadium tunnel had a flat tire.

You can’t make this stuff up.

The fact is, this lopsided beat-down was quite easy to predict. Allow me to sit up straight, clear my throat and point you in the direction of what I wrote on my column on the BetDash blog last week (I know, I know, bold move, but, bear with me here);



My point is, if I can dissect a game like that, there has to be a lot of wise-guys driving around in new cars today after taking their bookmakers to the proverbial cleaners last night.  The signs were all there. Houston’s paper tiger 11-1 record was built off the back of results against largely poor teams with few exceptions. On top of that, three MVP type QBs have now surgically dissected the Texans this season. Rodgers, Brady and Manning have all put up gaudy numbers against this supposed Superbowl candidate.

For Houston, they have a straight shot to the playoffs, sure, but they also have a truck load of questions to answer after last night.

For the Patriots? Last night was almost perfect. The home fans were treated to a display any of the three Patriots championship teams would have been proud of. Brady was sharp, Aaron Hernandez offered tantalizing glimpses of potential (and health!) and Brandon Lloyd got more involved than previously, a really good sign for New England. Perhaps most hearteningly for the Patriots was the play of cornerback Aqib Talib. The Tampa cast-off is a sight to behold. A big, fast, muscular corner who looks happy going toe to toe with any number one receiver. He was excellent last night.  His addition has freed Devin McCourty to play safety, a spot he is most comfortable at, as shown by his stylish pickoff ending a Houston drive when the game was still almost competitive.

As dominant as the Patriots offence was last night, this team will go as far as its defence takes it. Right now, the possibilities around that are endless.




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