If you're someone who comes to these recaps for very granular analysis of the previous day's Texans game, where paragraphs on all four winners and all four losers are solely devoted to breaking down and analyzing aspects of the game, decisions made by coaches, and where we go from here... well, that's not what this post will be.
When it comes to the Texans, we are past that point now. The injuries have piled up so high, and the offensive line is so bad, that the team just plain stinks. Yes, DeAndre Hopkins is still spectacular and Jadeveon Clowney is a force in his own right, but by and large, against good teams, they get run off the field and against bad teams they hang around for a while before losing in the end.
Monday's Christmas Day 34-6 loss to the Steelers felt like one of those college games, where a team that winds up 4-8 hosts, say,Alabama or Georgia, and they have one drive in the first quarter that throws a slight scare into their bigger and better opponent. However, in the end, there's just too much on the other side — too much size, too much speed, too much coaching, too much talent — for the upstart to overcome.
The Texans had a chance, down 10-0 in the second quarter, to make the Steelers think a little bit, with three shots from inside the two yard line. The drive ended in a T.J. Yates interception in the end zone, and that was pretty much it. The Steelers scored a few minutes later, went up 17-0, and that was it.
The season mercifully ends next Sunday. Let's get to winners and losers...
4. Deshaun Watson features
If, for some reason, the holidays have you feeling sullen and maybe even a little jaded, then I recommend you take nine minutes out of your day, and watch this NBC feature on Deshaun Watson that aired during Saturday's pregame show.... go ahead and watch it, then we will reconvene below....
.... ok, first, if you're reading this article, then there is a 99 percent chance you're a football fan, and about an 85 percent chance you're a Texans fan. So, Texan fan, how great do you feel about having this kid as your quarterback for the next 12 years? Second, did he say he took a job as a tax assessor? I need to know more about this. Did he assess people's houses? Was he pretty stringent, or did his upbringing make him sympathetic to affordable property taxes? Did he carry a briefcase and dress up like Irwin R. Schyster?
Third, I am confident that Watson won't be making a complete idiot of himself by doing stuff like this when he resumes his career next season....
3. David Quessenberry
After nearly five years and a victorious battle over non-Hodgkins lymphoma, Quessenberry saw his first NFL game action on Monday afternoon. On the field, the offensive lineman was used largely as a blocking tight end in a running game that was actually a bright spot for the Texans yesterday, averaging over 6 yards per carry. Additionally, Quessenberry was named a captain for the game, giving the Texan fans who didn't sell their tickets for the game a chance to pay tribute to Quessenberry and his courage. I have no idea what Quessenberry's future is with the team, but seeing him play Monday was an unforgettable moment that most people thought we'd never see. Fortunately, David Quessenberry was NOT one of those people.
2. Steeler fans
I've been to hundreds of sporting events. I don't think I've ever seen an opposing fan base so thoroughly invade an opposing stadium at a professional sporting event like I saw the Steelers fans do on Monday....
I mean.., it SAYS NRG Stadium, but... pic.twitter.com/nkcMbA9bh7— Sean Pendergast (@SeanTPendergast) December 25, 2017
1. Brock Osweiler's teammates
The Broncos are not good at much this season, but they clearly have a grasp on whom to listen to and whom to ignore. (WARNING: This video is NSFW, because you might get fired for laughing too hard.)
Brock Osweiler yelling at teammates and nobody paying attention whatsoever. pic.twitter.com/RvhXSDahD8— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) December 24, 2017
4. Tom Savage
Over the weekend, the Texans placed Tom Savage on the injured reserve list with a concussion, which means he will have ended three of his four NFL seasons on injured reserve, and suffered injuries that knocked him out of action in all four seasons. Ultimately, if there is a legacy for Savage as a Texan (I think he's played his last game here, by the way.), it will probably be more medical than anything else. Hell, around the league, he is best known for this bodily reaction to a concussion than for any of his 315 career pass attempts....
Tom Savage hits head on ground, appears to have seizure while ref looks on, comes back in the game 5 minutes later. pic.twitter.com/gW9lYxDIwQ— TheRenderNFL (@TheRenderNFL) December 10, 2017
Savage had multiple chances at being an NFL starter without really having to do much to earn them except "good soldier, behind the scenes" type stuff. Wishing him the best in whatever the future holds, I'm just guessing that, whatever it is, it won't be here in Houston.
3. Jeff Fisher
So on Sunday, the Rams and the Titans faced off in the Teams That Have Fired Jeff Fisher Bowl in Nashville, and appropriately enough, Jeff Fisher was in the building. If the NFL had any smarts, they'd have had Fisher toss the coin before the game, or at the very least, dangle him over the field like a "Money in the Bank" briefcase and then let the winning team take whacks at him like a piñata for 15 minutes after the game. That may sound violent, but after Fisher's comments about this season's Rams team, I think he needs some sense beaten into him. Late last week, Fisher actually had the audacity to say this on a Nashville radio station:
"I'm a huge fan of the Ram players," Fisher told The Midday 180 on Friday. "They're basically, I don't want to say my players, but I had a lot to do with that roster. Left them in pretty good shape. And Sean, as he's proven in this very short period of time, is an outstanding, young coach. And he's got the offense rolling, which they needed."
Yeah, they needed to get the offense rolling, Fisher, because you and your surly band of old school mopes you called a coaching staff nearly ruined Jared Goff and Todd Gurley. Fisher reportedly wants to get back into head coaching. After his two decades of decidedly below average coaching — in 21 seasons, he's had six in which he had a winning record, including five seasons with the Rams where he couldn't crack the .500 mark — Fisher shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a head coaching headset in the NFL ever again.
For any team thinking of hiring Jeff Fisher as their head coach, behold Todd Gurley’s stats in '16 in 16 full games under Fisher:— Sean Pendergast (@SeanTPendergast) December 25, 2017
885 rush yds, 3.2 ypc, 6 TD
323 rec yds, 7.6 ypc, 0 TD
Now 2017 (15 games):
1305 rush yds, 4.7 ypc, 13 TD
788 rec yds, 12.3 ypc, 6 TD
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2. Adam Vinatieri
Far be it from me to feel sorry for someone with three Super Bowl rings, two game winning Super Bowl field goals, a Hall of Fame bust being molded in Canton as we speak, and (I'm assuming) a pile of money from two decades of kicking in the NFL, but damn Adam Vinatieri is about to get screwed. You see, his contract with the Colts has an incentive built in to where he receives an additional $500,000 (on top of his $2.75 million base salary) if he makes 90 percent of his field goal attempts. Until the blizzard game in Buffalo a few weeks ago, Vinatieri had made 22 of 23 on the season. That's 95.6 percent. Then he went 0 for 2 in the blizzard, dropping him to 88 percent. No big deal. Five in a row to close out the season, and he would get the 500 G's back. So Vinatieri went 2 for 2 against the Broncos last week, but then the Ravens game on Saturday happened. In that game, Vinatieri had a field goal blocked, then missed a SIXTY yarder to close out the half. So now Vinatieri has had missed four field goals in three weeks, and none of them are really his fault, and the 500 grand is down the toilet. Too bad, so sad....
A blizzard and a blown assignment is gonna cost Adam Vinatieri $500,000. That’s wild. pic.twitter.com/VDHlD69Eoh— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) December 23, 2017
1. Bill O'Brien
As I said in the introduction of this post, we are beyond breaking down the granular aspects of Texans games at this point. The season is lost, and Bill O'Brien's return to coach next season will have everything to do with whether or not he wants to work with this front office, not his 2017 won-loss record. (The Texans' head coach has claimed he won't quit his job with a year left on his deal, so there's that.) It's probably a good thing for O'Brien that very few people are paying attention to the Texans' results and, in turn, his in-game decisions, because the decision to put T.J. Yates in shotgun and throw the ball on 3rd and goal and 4th and goal, both from the one inch line, down just 10-0 early in the second quarter after running the football the whole way down there made absolutely no sense. Hell, it was the decision of someone that would seem to WANT to lose their job. After the game, O'Brien, within the same 60 seconds, said that they probably should have run it on every play of the game, and then shortly thereafter bristled at the notion that passing the ball was irresponsible on those goal-to-go plays. O'Brien seems worn out and without solutions right now.
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.