August 14, 2010
All Aboard the Fourth Quarter Failboat
by Keith Weiland
Keith (at) IntheBullseye (dot) com
Never you mind that 19-point fourth quarter comeback that led to the Texans falling 19-16 to the Cardinals on the road. The Fake Season Czar™ wants you to know that he won the meaningful quarters of this very important and very different 2010 season kickoff.
Mister August did not see running back Steve Slaton fumble less than a yard from six points. Nor did he see some ineffective offensive playcalling in the redzone. So by golly you know he didn't bother to notice any shoddy backup quarterback play and... well, the whole fourth quarter.
No, the Texans opened up a 16-0 lead, and then, yeah, maybe the Fake Season Czar™ sorta drifted off a bit, smiling at the irony of those numbers on the scoreboard, looking ahead to his version of the 2010 Week 17 standings. A perfect season? Yes, of course, right after another annihilation of four fake season opponents.
As long as quarterback Matt Schaub is still breathing and opposing defenses are willing to single cover wide receiver Andre Johnson, Coach Augie will keep hope alive. Schaub (5-6, 78 yards, 1 TD) and Angry Dre (3-59-1) walked away from this one unharmed, so dream season remains in tact.
The health of rookie running back Ben Tate doesn't look good though. Coupled with Slaton's fumble, starter Arian Foster (4 carries, 31 yards) is in the clubhouse signing his scorecard already on the training camp battle to earn regular season carries.
And someone quick jot a memo to Coach Augie: No more redzone end arounds, 'kay? I think Baby Shan must have left that page of the playbook behind before catching up with Daddy Shan in Washington. Let's just pray that halfback pass isn't still in there, too.
So there are lots of whoopsies from second and third stringers that led to the 19-point fourth quarter choke. Who cares?
The key play in this game came on third-and-1 from the Cards 1-yard line with 2:28 remaining in the first half. Slaton took the handoff from a klutzy Dan Orlovsky, pushed toward the goalline and poofed the football into the endzone where Cards rookie linebacker Darryl Washington recovered for a touchback.
The turnover blew an opportunity to take a 20-0 lead into halftime, but more importantly, it signaled that the 2009 woes were not surgically corrected bygones for a fumble-prone Slaton nor a running attack that struggled with eerily similar foibles at the goalline last year.
Defensive end Mario Williams played two series and notched two sacks. Yeah, that second one was nothing special, but then again, neither are Reggie Bush and Vince Young. So there.
Zac Diles, woo, save it for the regular season bud. Awesome. And Brian Cushing's play in this one only makes me worry that much more about his suspension.
Rookie linebacker Darryl Sharpton got some extra playing time and led the way with seven tackles and an interception. Second year safety Troy Nolan (Arizona State) made good on his homecoming, plucking the tipped ball by Diles for the pick.
4 kickoff returns, 21 yard average, 1 punt return, 0 yard average
I get it, rookie Trindon Holliday is cute running around out there with the big boys. The little man looked a little nervous though in his debut. Turns out J.J. Moses has some pretty big shoes to fill after all. Following a decent kick return of 30 yards to start the game, Holliday let punts hit the turf before he picked them up and returned kickoffs from way too deep in the endzone. Who'da thunk Holliday would make Jacoby Jones seem like the safe option back there?
Coach Augie, that's who. Now what's this again about some 19-point comeback?
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