I hope all of you are having a happy and safe Thanksgiving weekend. As I drown in a sea of football, stuffing, wine, and tryptophan, I began to think about all of the things I'm thankful for during this weird, fun 2018 Houston Texans football season, which in the tapestry of my life is about the most important thing behind my loved ones and my health.
So let's rapid fire these, and see if you Texan fans out there agree with me....
10. Frank Reich
Thank you, Coach Reich, for unnecessarily tossing the 0-3 Texans the life raft that saved their season in Week 4, when you went for it on 4th and 4 in your own territory and failed, all in the name of hating games that end in ties. The Texans would kick a field goal three plays later that began their seven-game winning streak. Meanwhile, if you had merely tied that game, your team would lead for the second wild card spot in the AFC.
9. Jason Garrett
Thank you, Coach Garrett, for being the anti-Reich, and having your nuts shrivel up at the best possible time for the Texans, facing 4th and 1 in overtime on the Texans side of the field, with an offensive line that has been constructed solely for times like trying to get 4th and 1 in overtime on the opposing side of midfield. A few minutes later, like against the Colts the week before, one DeAndre Hopkins slant route and one swing of the leg from Ka'imi Fairbairn, and the Texans' win streak was at two.
8. Nathan Peterman
Thank you, Nathan Peterman, for the room service pick six to Johnathan Joseph that bailed the Texans out of a third straight overtime game, and allowed them to overcome their sloppiest performance of the season in about six seconds of game time. That extended their winning streak to three games. Sorry that you got fired a few weeks (and a few more picks) later.
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7. Vance Joseph
Thank you, Vance Joseph, for showing some Garrett-in tendencies and getting all conservative when you THOUGHT your team was in field goal range, down by two in the waning moments of the Week 9 game. 51 yards for a field goal, as you found out, is no gimme. Brandon McManus missed, and the Texans' winning streak extended to six games.
6. Brian Gaine
Thank you, Brian Gaine, for somehow cobbling together a super productive group of rookies without a first or second round draft pick, completing overhauling special teams by making waiver pickups of guys who are, y'know, GOOD at running down on special teams, and not overspending on Nate Solder just because people wanted a left tackle. Hopefully, I am thanking you again this time next year. If so, things are going REALLY well,
5. Justin Reid
#Texans @jreid_viii allowed a passer rating of just 62.5 when targeted vs WAS. He also produced a pick-six to add an exclamation point to his sensational rookie year, where he's been a force vs the run & pass.— PFF HOU Texans (@PFF_Texans) November 19, 2018
Taken with the 68th pick, "steal" is looking like an understatement. pic.twitter.com/KP3uPQp5B2
Honestly, if you're not the most serious playmaker in the Texans' secondary than it's got to be....
4. Kareem Jackson
Thank you, Kareem Jackson, for finding some sort of weird fountain of youth and finding your peak as an NFL player after the age of 30. Your tone-setting plays as a tackler, and turnovers caused as a guy-always-around-the-ball have been found money for a defense full of star power. Here's hoping you make your first Pro Bowl.
3. Luxury buses
Thank you, luxury bus drivers, particularly the one that safely delivered Deshaun Watson to Jacksonville for the Week 7 matchup against the Jaguars. Flying with a bruised lung is no joke, and thankfully the Texans had apparently were able to round up a spare luxury bus, complete with big screens for film study and sleeping quarters. By the way, no coincidence that a bruised lung triggered the following numbers —
Deshaun Watson's number of QB hits sustained in Weeks 1 through 6...
Total Quarterback Hits allowed through Week 6:— Johnny Kinsley (@Brickwallblitz) October 17, 2018
CAR, DET: 18
MIA, TEN, WAS: 28
BAL, NE: 29
JAX, SEA: 36
ARI, KC: 37
DAL, GB: 38
IND, NYG: 40
DEN, SF: 42
ATL, CLE: 49
Deshaun Watson's number of QB hits sustained in Weeks 7 through 11...
QUARTERBACK HITS ALLOWED IN THE LAST 5 WEEKS (Weeks 7-11):— Johnny Kinsley (@Brickwallblitz) November 20, 2018
CHI, NE, SF: 13
CIN, MIN: 14
ATL, BAL, JAX, LAC, NYJ: 17
BUF, DAL, NYG: 19
CAR, PHI: 20
ARI, MIA: 22
LAR, WAS: 24
GB, KC, SEA: 25
DET, TB: 31
2. Dr. Walter Lowe (and other medical staff)
Thank you Dr. Lowe (and Dr. Muntz... and Geoff Kaplan... and any other Texans medical staffer) for reconstructing this decimated team, from the depths of their injury-riddled 2017 season to being one of the healthiest teams in football this season. Particularly, we thank you (and pay for continued health) for J.J. Watt's magic legs and Deshaun Watson's rejuvenated right knee.
1. Romeo Crennel
Thank you, Romeo Crennel, for being the grandfatherly figure from whom we love to play audio cuts on my show every Thursday. Your soothing tones mirror the productivity and calm playmaking ability of your defense, which is the linchpin of this team, and the third ranked defense in DVOA in all of football.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.