In Houston Texans seasons past, the running joke was that each season would have around two or three [sarcastic exaggeration font enabled] "biggest games in the history of the team." Hell, even 2013 had a couple of them early in the season with the home loss to Seattle and the road thrashing at the hands of San Francisco.
But somewhere along the way, probably about the time that T.J. Yates was extending the team's "pick six" streak to five games against St. Louis, the progressively growing list of "biggest games in team history" turned into a virtual week-to-week lament of "just when we thought we'd seen it all."
"Just when we thought we'd seen it all," a loss at home to Oakland as a 10 point favorite, and then "just when we thought we'd seen it all," a loss at home to Jacksonville as a 10 point favorite.
Now, "just when we thought we'd seen it all," not only is Jacksonville a revenge game for a team that two months ago had Super Bowl aspirations, but somehow the Texans are favored by a field goal.
As is their job, the NFL Network is trying to market this game as watchable, but really unless there's a "game within the game" (gambling, drinking, or otherwise), watching this one takes some masochistic tendencies.
So if you're a masochist, I'm here to help.
I think Texans tackle Duane Brown put it best describing Thursday night football in general: "It's dangerous. It feels horrible."
Duane, we couldn't agree more. (Granted, his description was of how his body feels on Friday, not how our eyes feel tonight, but still....agreed.)
If you voluntarily watch the Texans and Jags for reasons other than gambling, obviously you enjoy punishing yourself. For you "horrible" is the new "orgasmic." Thus, instead of the normal BATTLE-DRINK categories of various consumption units (sip, gulp, chug, shotgun , and shot), I will help make tonight's game a conduit for you self-mutilators, you freaks out there that enjoy dripping hot wax on your junk or watching Jags-Texans II, or whatever it is you weirdos do.
So here are the five column categories for BATTLE-DRINK: SELF MUTILATION EDITION (As always, the rows represent the number of times you must perform said acts):
COLUMN B: "Nail scratch on chalkboard" COLUMN I: "Punch the person on your right" COLUMN N: "Pluck out an eyelash" COLUMN G: "Drop of tabasco on the tongue" COLUMN O: "Listen to chorus of Miley Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball'"
I mean, short of jumper cables on your nipples, I can't think of any better way to supplement the pain of the "Battle for Bridgewater" with even more pain than these five categories.
Now for the overview of the various squares: B1: Ben Tate carry B2: Dennis Johnson carry B3: Jeff Tarpinian tackle B4: Andre Johnson catch B5: Case Keenum 25+ yd completion Column B is just your garden variety, in-game statistical categories, with every running back carry accounted for, Jeff Tarpinian's tackles accounted for (Tarpinian's brother is a Battle-Drink enthusiast and Twitter follower of mine, so he stays), Andre Johnson's inevitable six to ten catches, and all of Case's 25+ yard completions (which he has a higher percentage of amongst his attempts than any quarterback in the league. Sharpen the nails, people!
I1: Any namaste bow I2: D.J. Swearinger "NOM NOM NOM" I3: Texans DB signals incomplete I4: Antonio Smith ninja move I5: J.J. Watt salute I said it in my Patriots game summary earlier this week -- for a team with very little to celebrate, the Houston Texans sure do a lot of celebrating. New England Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins even noticed it, dogging them out for being sad that they were getting less TV time in the second half of the game last Sunday. This is one column you know will pay off because the Texans may not score points, they may not stop the Jags, but dammit they will celebrate.
N1: Teddy Bridgewater mention N2: Jadeveon Clowney mention N4: Johnny Manziel mention N5: Anthony Barr mention This game is the de facto battle for the number one overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Also, Mike Mayock, noted draft expert, is handling color analyst duties for the NFL Network, so I would imagine if this game is as riveting as the first tussle between these two, there will be copious amounts of draft talk, and therefore copious amounts of eyelashes being plucked out of your eyelids.
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G1: Texans false start penalty G2: Texans special teams penalty G3: Texans 12 men on the field penalty G4: Kubiak failed replay challenge G5: Kubiak botched time out A column of mental mistakes, penalties, and coaching errors? May I recommend the ultra large sized bottle of tabasco sauce? Perhaps a jug, a drum, or maybe an entire barrel full?
O1: John McClain tweets "pathetic" O2: John McClain tweets "horrendous" O3: John McClain tweets "terrible" O4: John McClain tweets about Baylor O5: John McClain tweets scary "retain Kubiak" opinions And it wouldn't be a game of BATTLE-DRINK if my man The General weren't represented on the board, including the big square as a tip of the hat to his article in the Chronicle on Wednesday where he turned heel on everyone in the city and out of nowhere took up for Gary Kubiak and Rick Smith, a battle red chair to the football fan's skull if there ever was one.
Let the self-beatings begin!!
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.