My apologies for how late these “In A Nutshell” recaps get posted. But every week, it gets more and more difficult for me to sit down and angrily bang out hot takes. Sorry, Mr. Keyboard.
Let’s get past the fact that the Texans have yet to play in a watchable football game this year. And that every Sunday sitdown makes me feel like I’m hate-watching True Detective season 2 . . . again. “In A Nutshell”, the Texans 48 – 21 loss to the Falcons was this: a giant middle finger to this entire city . . . a city that has put up with this same feeling on Sundays for far too long.
There were no silver linings in this football version of Chernobyl. This was just a sloppy, half-assed football game. One that started with the Texans sleep walking through an entire half . . . again. So let’s just bomb our customary opening segment – THE GOOD – into oblivion.
Give the Falcons credit: they’re well coached, and they actually execute. Their new head coach Dan Quinn is 4 – 0 in his first four games. New offensive coordinator – and cough cough former Texans offensive cough cough coordinator – Kyle Shanahan has Atlanta’s offense purring to the tune of 34.25 points a game. They’re getting the absolute most that they can out of their players. Just look at running back Devonta Freeman who
by some act of God somehow has 342 yards and 6 touchdowns from scrimmage IN HIS FIRST TWO CAREER STARTS.
The Texans aren’t that talented a football team. Blame that on general manager Rick Smith and terrible drafts. Or blame it on the revolving door of bad to mediocre quarterbacks. Hell, blame it on [insert your least favorite politician]!
[Note: this is a play on the highly used “Thanks Obama” joke. Let’s leave politics immediately.]
Through it all, the last person I’d blame ANYTHING on was Texans head coach Bill O’Brien. Like Shanahan maxing out Freeman, O’Brien
probably used blood magic somehow led an average Texans team to 9 – 7. This despite rotating through FOUR mediocre to bad quarterbacks. Imagine how he’d make this team over-achieve in 2015, right?
The season is far from over. But this is the end of the innocence, bro.
The honeymoon is over. I still love Bill O’Brien the character. I enjoy his passion, his demeanor, and think he’s smart. There are plenty of dopey coaches around the NFL – see Detroit’s Jim Caldwell the now fired Joe Philbin – and I don’t think he’s one of them. That said, my days of assuming that Bill O’Brien is different than ALL the other Bill Belichick disciples are over. He – like Chip Kelly in Philadelphia – is finding out that systems don’t trump talent in a league where six plays could be the difference between 5-11 and 11-5.
“You guys good?” [said Bill O’Brien towards the end of his post game presser]
“But Paul, you never told us about all the bad things.”
Okay, let’s list them:
1. Ryan Mallett is hilariously inaccurate. But he sure can LASER that ball, man
Oh yeah, per ESPN Mallett leads the NFL with 40 over/under thrown passes this season. The closest QB? Ryan Tannehill with 35. Keep in mind – since he played one quarter against the Chiefs and three against the Falcons – Mallett has only played in three games.
2. Julio Jones had just 4 catches for 34 yards . . . but a running back in his second career start had 149 yards from scrimmage and 3 TDs against the Texans.
3. Speaking of which, how badly were we fooled by this theoretically amazing defense? No one can get sacks outside of J.J. Watt. They can’t create turnovers. They hand out 5 yard, automatic first down penalties like Kit Kat bars on Halloween.
Hey remember the time that the Texans defense gave itself no breaks? And was on the field for 19:25 in the first half? See what I did there?
4. Derek Newton LITERALLY STRIPPED THE BALL from Arian Foster, and that fumble was returned for a touchdown.
5. Also, the Texans second best receiver was injured on a completely meaningless play . . .
. . . that also resulted in a Falcons touchdown.
6. I have no idea if Eddie Pleasant has ever done something of value. But I can tell you that he had twenty five yards worth of penalties on back to back plays . . . with another 5 yarder earlier.
7. Randy Bullock might be inconsistent, but I doubt he’d have been short from 53 yards out like Nick Novak.
As for Bullock’s accuracy? Well, you know.
8. The AFC South is enough of a train wreck where we can’t say the season is over, yet it sure as hell feels that way.
9. There is no running clock in the NFL
10. Brien and I will discuss more of the crap tomorrow from 9 – 11 CT. Until then, take it away Jim Mora . . .
Paul Gallant co-hosts the “B-Straw and Pauly G” show – Tuesdays 9-11 PM, Wednesdays 8-11 PM, and Fridays 8-11 PM – on SportsRadio 610. He also hosts SportsZone Unfiltered – Fridays at 10 PM – on The Kube: Channel 57. Get in touch with Paul via email or at his facebook page: Paul Gallant: SportsRadio610.