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Houston Texans Game 2 -- 4 Winners, 4 Losers (And A Jennifer Lopez Appearance)

I hope everyone had a good weekend of football. I was two plays away from going 6-0 on my picks, my alma mater finally won a game and the Texans are 2-0!

On the flip side, college realignment struck a blow in my home part of the country, as the Big East that I grew up with essentially no longer exists after Syracuse and Pitt announced they'd be moving to the ACC. Probably not a big deal to a lot of you, but the Big East was a big part of my childhood and teenage sports-watching years.

Right now, I feel like "Wrestling is still real to me, DAMMIT!" guy as a I cry and thank Jim Boeheim and Jamie Dixon for their years of service to the conference:

Okay, now there were winners and losers this weekend, and here's who they were....

WINNERS 4. Vultures who drafted Ben Tate in fantasy leagues Every fantasy football league has that one guy, your league's King Midas whose fantasy maneuverings result in lucrative gold every season regardless of how sensible or nonsensical the moves may be. (My fantasy league's Midas is my buddy Pat, whose team name is "Mr. Ass" and who has won the title, I believe something like 45 times in 15 years.)

Well, perhaps this season your league's Midas decided to take a swing four rounds too early on Ben Tate because of Arian Foster's balky hamstring. Well, Midas is well on his way to another league title again -- two weeks in, Ben Tate is third in the league in rushing and is the first player since Cadillac Williams in 2005 to start his career with back-to-back 100-yard rushing games. Meanwhile, Arian Foster's hammy continues to act like Charlie Sheen -- unpredictable, annoying, newsworthy for the wrong reasons. For the sake of Arian Foster fans (a group of which I consider myself a part) let's hope Ben Tate's hamstring isn't Ashton Kutcher.

3. The Attitude Era The Texans moved to 2-0 on the season, which is exactly where they were this time last season. They got there by beating the Indianapolis Colts and a below-average out-of-division foe on the road, like last season. However, in Week 2 last year you could see what a house of cards this team was as they needed a furious rally in the fourth quarter (and a little luck) to beat a mediocre Redskins squad that had spent the afternoon throwing the ball all over the Texans' defense (which would become a painful recurring theme throughout the season). We practically hid in denial behind the "good news" that the team finally closed out a close game and "found a way to win," knowing full well that this probably wouldn't work against anybody better than the Redskins. And it didn't. Yesterday was one of those "lunch pail" games. The defense forced crucial turnovers, bent but didn't break, and the offense did just enough to keep the Dolphins at bay all afternoon. In short, this is a 2-0 that appears to have some staying power.

2. Falcon fans getting some sense I'll try not to act like I know all of the elements that go along with Falcons fans continuing to cheer for and support Michael Vick, because when you intertwine the beleaguered nature of the Atlanta sports fan with all of the racial and emotional elements that go into the Vick Experience, it becomes very complex. And at its core, I understand continuing to cheer for a sports figure who is no longer with your city if your memories from their time there are positive. It's why Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt get cheers when they return to Houston.

But the Vick thing -- I mean, he left Atlanta to go to prison for behavior that is about as sociopath as it comes short of killing people, leaving the franchise in a state of embarrassment and disarray. Total. Scorched. Earth. And still many Falcons fans cheered Vick, wore his jerseys. But last night when Vick left the game with a concussed skull, Atlanta fans were apparently booing him, or at least enough were booing to induce his pointing at the scoreboard as if to say "Who's winning?" Anyway, I'm not here to tell people how to feel about Vick, but the "common sense" part of me says his body of work, particularly in Atlanta, is boo-worthy, and I salute the booers.

 

1. Syracuse and Pittsburgh Two more potential college sports refuges were thrown life preservers this weekend by the ACC, and in the process the ACC launched a scud missile right through mission control of the Big East. Crazy how intertwined all of this realignment stuff is. If Texas A&M had just been able to get along, then the SEC probably sits tight at 12 teams, which means the ACC doesn't feel compelled to defend itself from a raid, which means that the Big East probably starts planning its TCU welcome party. As it is, the ACC is now at 14, the SEC is at 13, the Pac-12 is about to go to 16, and the Big Ten is probably on the phone to Missouri and Notre Dame. And in the end, what are the two things that school presidents are trying to salvage? A flawed, corrupt bowl system and a network nobody can see. 2011, people.

LOSERS

HenneMania -- Catch it! (Note: Offer does not apply to Brandon Marshall)
HenneMania -- Catch it! (Note: Offer does not apply to Brandon Marshall)

4. Chad Henne Proof that stats can oftentimes be highly misleading or irrelevant -- coming into this game, people were citing Henne's 400-yard game against the Patriots in Week 1 as a reason to be more concerned with Henne than normal and to "not sell him short," ignoring the fact that he piled up most of those yards in a game where the Dolphins were being blown out and where the pace was conducive to big passing numbers. The real Chad Henne, the one that Dolphin fans were booing at the team's training camp practice this preseason, stood up on Sunday, going 12 for 30 and inexplicably choosing to target Brandon Marshall every third or fourth passing play instead of every single one. Thanks, Chad! Speaking of which...

3. Jason Allen I'm a firm believer that there is a certain imaginary line and there are players above that line, in every sport, who are allowed to make hand, finger, or body gestures to the crowd to indicate "Dig me! Look at the play I just made!" Texans cornerback Jason Allen is undoubtedly below that line. So when Brandon Marshall essentially dropped a touchdown pass in the first half and Allen decided to give the Dikembe Mutombo finger wag, you knew the karma gods would have an issue with this. The gods decided to unleash their fury by giving Marshall a second chance, a pattern inside the Texans ten-yard line where Marshall caught the ball, Jason Allen met him at about the five-yard line and then Marshall proceeded to carry Allen into the end zone like he was a piece of jewelry. Below-average players be warned -- this was the karma gods speaking. Take note.

2. Jesse Holley's repetitive prayer service I will admit, I didn't watch Michael Irvin's reality show where he was trying to help the Dallas Cowboys find players (or something like that), so my first introduction to Jesse Holley came yesterday when he made a 77-yard catch and run to set up the Cowboys' overtime win over the 49ers. Here is a video of that play and the aftermath...

...an aftermath during which Holley knelt and genuflected to his god no fewer than four times on camera, which means it was probably more like 12 times (the "rule of three," from American Pie 2). Normally, this is where I would tell Holley to "act like he's been there before," but he hasn't so I guess I can't get too angry. But man, the only things that deserve this level of celebration -- hitting an 8-team parlay, the return of Shamrock Shakes to McDonald's, and finding the Erin Andrews video somewhere online. That's it.

1. Commercial complainers As a society, we are conditioned nowadays to bitch and moan about anything that occurs at pretty much any time. To wit, I just spent a couple hundred words tearing down Jesse Holley for excessive prayer. So I'm guilty of it, too. That said, on Twitter yesterday afternoon, a recurring complaint was the Jennifer Lopez commercial for Fiat and its excessive play. (I didn't see it nearly as excessively since I was on the Red Zone channel all afternoon -- no commercials!) I'm trying to figure out why excessive Jennifer Lopez on my television screen is a bad thing, especially one that is only dancing, gyrating, and looking hot (as opposed to, you know, talking).

Honestly, my big takeaway from those commercials -- Fiat still makes cars??

Check out Sean's updated Texans' season game card here.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from noon to 3 p.m. weekdays and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.


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