When I sit down, I am admittedly not the most focused football watcher in the world. Oh, I watch every play. If "my team" is playing, I am emotionally invested. And if the identity of "my team" is determined by some sort of friendly wager, then I am invested on more than just an emotional level.
But I don't watch every player on every play. It's impossible to do that. I watch the game intently, and then for purposes related to the Texans post-game show (which you can hear starring Mike Meltser, Ted Johnson and me on Sports Radio 610!), I jot down five or six things I think I saw.
Then I leave the heavy lifting to Pro Football Focus, a website that does actually watch and grade every player on every play to see if what I thought I saw was true.
Just recently, I started to think to myself, "Hey, that might make a good blog post! Share my primal, hot-right-after-the-game takes and then see if the PFF scores for the players involved in my piping hot takes corroborate what I think I saw!"
It sounds like a mouthful, but it's pretty simple. So here were the handful of thoughts I jotted down right after the game last Sunday:
1. Holy shit. Case Keenum, for being pulled out of a tree on a deer lease six days ago (no sarcasm; that's where he was when he got the call from Bill O'Brien), was remarkable! Sliding scale, but kudos to him!
PFF says: Well, unfortunately, the scores on PFF don't grade on a curve for spending the whole season on the Rams practice squad (and in a tree at a deer lease). Keenum, according to PFF, was an underwhelming -2.1, no doubt dinged by the ineptitude in the red zone (six field goals) and a below 50 percent completion percentage (20 of 42) and abysmal yards per attempt (below five yards). I don't care, though. I grade on a curve, and I give Case a solid B to B+, all things considered. Also, make note, another game like that this coming Sunday and the Texans should win again, which means Team Content has been handed three months worth of University of Houston people selling Keenum as the viable long-term solution. Can't wait!
2. Randy Bullock's saving his job this season is an underplayed story, and Sunday he was solid again.
PFF says: Okay, PFF, I like your site. I look forward to the grades every Monday morning as if they were my SAT scores back in the day. But how in the blue hell can Randy Bullock have a -0.6 score for kicking field goals when he went 6 for 6?!? I mean, he MADE ALL OF HIS FIELD GOALS! Did he not kick them straight enough for you? Did he not dap up the fat guys blocking for him afterwards? Is he being discriminated against because he is fat?!? Someone needs to answer for this! (On a separate note, Bullock was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week earlier this morning. He should saw the award in half and give part of it to Keenum.)
3. The offensive line had another solid game (no sacks!), but Chris Myers was shoved backwards several times.
PFF says: PFF concurs! The four Texans starting offensive linemen not named Chris Myers all had "green scores" (PFF-speak for "really good grades"): Duane Brown (2.1), Ben Jones (2.0), Brandon Brooks (1.4), Derek Newton (4.1, maybe his best game of the season, considering he shifted to guard for most of it). Hell, even Tyson Clabo notched a 2.1 off the bench! Myers struggled, though, with a -6.6 in a game of which he'd probably like to burn the tape.
4. The tight ends combined for a pedestrian five catches, all really short ones, and it felt like we had Gronkowski on the team because they've been so bad all season.
PFF says: Yeah, when the tight end merely being involved is considered progress, you have work to do at that position. Ryan Griffin (-1.3) and C.J. Fiedorowicz (-2.3) were both still way below average.
5. This defense may just be for real, considering what they've done to Andrew Luck and Joe Flacco the past two weeks! Lots of guys playing the best football of their careers the past two weeks, a great sign for 2015!
PFF says: The defense's PFF, not surprisingly, is covered in a sea of green ink! A FESTIVUS MIRACLE!! The following players had either the best or second best games of their seasons according to PFF scoring: Jared Crick (4.0), Akeem Dent (2.1), Whitney Mercilus (3.8), Brian Cushing (1.3), Kareem Jackson (2.4) and A.J. Bouye (3.7). Oh, also this guy....
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6. J.J. Watt continues to push the limits of being considered superhuman.
PFF says: J.J. Watt had the best game of his career on Sunday, per PFF, with a video game type score of 16.2. If General Zod had J.J. as his muscle in Superman 2, we'd all be kneeling before Zod.