Biggest Pooch-Screwer: Week 3 vs. Patriots

I’ll admit it: it’s hard not to admire the 2017 Houston Texans after their Week 3 performance against the Patriots.

Not because they fought hard and kept it close before finally succumbing to “Tawmeh” and the defending Super Bowl champs. Fuck that. No moral victories here at Deep Steel Blues.

I admire the fact that these yahoos managed to (once again) snatch defeat from the jaws of victory despite having a nearly-94% chance of winning with only one minute remaining in the game. That’s quite a feat.

Probability_Patriots

Plenty of things went right for the good guys. The defense knocked Tom Brady around to the tune of five sacks, eight quarterback hits, and a lost fumble. Jadeveon Clowney was a man possessed, registering six tackles, four tackles-for-loss, two sacks, and a spectacular touchdown run after recovering the Brady fumble. And rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson completed 67% of his passes for over 300 yards and two touchdowns (albeit with two interceptions, even though the one on the game’s final play had no bearing on the outcome…other than the Texans not being the ones who caught the pass).

In other words, enough things went right that the Texans very well could have pulled out the victory, which means somebody screwed the pooch. Who is this miserable bastard? I offer the following candidates for your consideration:

Early-2nd-Half Bill O’Brien

With 2:23 left in the 3rd quarter and the Patriots leading 28-27, Brady completed a ridiculous shovel pass to Rob Gronkowski on 3rd & 21 as he was being sandwiched between Clowney and J.J. Watt. The Pats gained eight yards on the play, resulting in a 4th & 13 from the Houston 38-yard line.

While Stephen Gostowski has been fairly solid from 50+ yards in his career (73%), lining up a 55-yarder and risking the Texans getting the ball back near midfield in a 1-point game is not the brightest idea. As expected, Bill Belichick sends out the punt team.

You would assume Bill O’Brien would respond by sending out the return team. Instead, he throws the challenge flag.

Here were the three options available to Coach O’Brien at that exact moment in time:

  • You don’t challenge, forcing the Patriots to punt
  • You win the challenge, forcing the Patriots to punt
  • You lose the challenge and a second half timeout that could potentially come in handy if you’re trailing by a field goal with the ball at midfield and under 10 seconds to play, forcing the Patriots to punt

Even a goddamn chimpanzee with a severely damaged frontal lobe chooses the first option. Unfortunately for Texans fans, that chimpanzee is stumbling around the jungle and running into trees somewhere in Tanzania while Bill O’Brien is coaching in Houston.

Of course, O’Brien lost the challenge. And the timeout. And the game.

Late-2nd-Half Bill O’Brien

With 2:28 remaining and the Texans leading 30-28, Houston faced a 4th & 1 on the Patriots’ 18-yard line. Lamar Miller was just stuffed on 3rd & 1 for no gain. What’s a middle-of-the-pack franchise – one that’s never won in New England, but is suddenly presented with the opportunity to keep running the clock and prevent arguably the best quarterback of all-time from taking the field and potentially ripping its heart out yet again – to do?

If you guessed “Grab your nuts Marshawn Lynch-style, run the offense back out there and bank on the fact that a decidedly mediocre (at best) Patriots defense can’t keep you from gaining a single yard on consecutive plays,” well…you’d be wrong.

Instead, O’Brien played it safe. He kicked the field goal, went up by 5, and left the door open for Brady – who’d already lit up the Texans’ defense for 4 touchdown passes – to once again make Houston his bitch.

Which he did. Of course he did. Because he’s Tom Brady. And we’re the Texans.

Corey Moore

It’s 1st & 10 from the Texans’ 25, under 30 seconds left to play, and Brady is on the verge of clubbing Houston over the head yet again with his giant, 5-time-Super-Bowl-champion-sized penis. The ball is in the air, heading toward Brandin Cooks. Also heading toward Brandin Cooks? Texans’ safety Corey Moore, who is already on everyone’s shit list for dropping a potential game-clinching interception a few plays earlier.

Cooks leaves his feet and snags the ball. Moore is within striking distance. The only questions now are: in what row of the field box seats does Cooks land after getting blasted by Moore, who no doubt (I think) knows that knocking the receiver out of bounds will result in an incompletion? Or will Moore decide to be polite and catch Cooks in midair, take literally one fucking step and gently set him down out of bounds to prevent the touchdown?

Why, neither, of course! Instead, Moore throws a clothesline that would have made Kazuchika Okada proud (had he connected with anything other than air) in what, I can only assume, was an effort to knock the ball away despite the fact that it was already safely in Cooks’ grasp. Naturally, this allows Cooks to almost effortlessly tap the turf with both feet safely inbounds for the game-winning touchdown catch.

Keep doing dumb shit like that, Mr. Moore, and pro wrestling may be the only career choice you have left (hey, it wouldn’t be the first time a former Texan has gone that route). And if your performance on Sunday is any indication of what you might be expected to accomplish in other ventures, you’ll end up like this guy.

Final-30-Seconds Bill O’Brien

Remarkably, Houston still has a chance to either win or tie the game in the final minute with one timeout remaining. Watson completes a 21-yard pass over the middle to DeAndre Hopkins, advancing the ball to near midfield with 13 seconds left on the clock.

Here were the three options available to Coach O’Brien at that exact moment in time:

  • Immediately call a timeout and draw up one last play to try to get the team into field goal range by completing a quick pass and getting out of bounds
  • Haul ass up to the line of scrimmage, spike the ball, then draw up one last play to try to get the team into field goal range by completing a quick pass and using your final timeout
  • Stand around and watch as your rookie quarterback runs around like a goddamn chimpanzee with a severely damaged frontal lobe while 10 precious seconds melt off the clock

If you guessed that O’Brien, spitting in the face of all that is logical, would somehow choose the third option, you’re officially a fan of the Houston Texans.

All joking aside: how do you fuck that up? How, in the name of whatever deity you choose to worship, do you fuck that up? 

If you told the players to spike the ball after the play and they’re not moving fast enough, you call the timeout yourself! You’re the coach. You can do that!

If you told the players to call a timeout after the play and no one has done it yet, you call the timeout yourself! You’re the coach. You can do that.

If you think that maybe Watson is calling for the timeout and not getting it, or perhaps you’re the one calling for the timeout and not getting it, you charge the nearest guy in a striped shirt like a deranged rhinoceros, screaming and waving your hands in the air like a complete lunatic until you hear the whistle. You’re the coach. You can do that.

As we all know by now, O’Brien did none of the above, resulting in a Hail Mary pass as time expired that was intercepted. Patriots win. Texans lose. O’Brien says (as usual) that he screwed up and has to coach better.

Too late, pal. I’m on a plane to Tanzania hunting for your replacement.

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