For three weeks, I resisted the siren call. The Titans were back, Vince Young is reborn, Chris Johnson is crazy good and the defense has stopped sucking. So what. None of the six losses had been erased. There were still issues to be resolved. As a long-time fan, I was beyond being taken by these ebbs and flows.
Last night, I drank the Kool-Aid. Actually I didn’t drink anything besides water, and maybe that helped. You can measure a team by how they respond when a game is not perfect. The special teams coverage was bad. The pass D gave up more than 300 yards. Covering Andre Johnson was just a theory. Chris Johnson didn’t score a TD. Bironas missed a field goal.
They still won.
When the game was over, Vince Young’s stats looked like 2007. 12-22, less than 120 yards passing, one TD and one turnover. After he threw a near-interception in the third quarter he got very conservative. But he kept moving the team. On too many third downs to count, he looked downfield, found nothing and took off. He always went out of bounds. The one time he didn’t led to the turnover.
The defense gave up 300 yards passing, but that was about it. The Texans made Chris Brown their main ball carrier. He averaged 3.3 yards a carry and never got untracked. Steve Slaton made a few plays but dropped a big third-down pass. It was like a turnover.
After a first half in which the Texans seemed poised to take a big lead but ended up tied, it was a tense second half. Kris Brown missed a field goal. Bironas made a field goal. Brown made one. Bironas missed one. With five minutes to go, the Texans drove but weren’t able to get past midfield. The Titans started from the five-yard line and I knew that one first down was all the momentum they needed.
When Kerry Collins led the Titans to a dramatic last-minute victory in Baltimore last year, it took a penalty to jump-start things. On the opening play of the final drive, the Texans took Chris Johnson down hard. It looked like a horse collar. The call was a horse collar. As the announcers said, Johnson’s dreads would make giving him a horse collar almost impossible.
After a false start penalty, of which the Titans had plenty, Johnson ran for 22. He couldn’t quite make the TD escape but had lots of these runs. On second and short Crumpler appeared to catch a pass but it was ruled incomplete. Vince scrambled for a first down. A short third-down pass got Bironas in range and it was game over. Almost.
Horrible kick coverage got the Texans in position for a tying field goal. With eight seconds left and a time out, the Texans didn’t try to get closer. They had Schaub take a sneak to get into a favorable spot for Brown. Brown then pulled a Vanderjagt, missing the kick so badly that there was no doubt.
I laughed when he missed, but feel for the guy now. He missed two kicks last night, and a game-tying try last week in Indianapolis. It’s possible that the Texans could be 7-3 if not for these misses. Being a kicker has to suck at times.
There was one second left for the victory formation. The victory was so exhilarating that I couldn’t sleep for an hour and will live on Diet Dr Pepper for the rest of the day.
Oh yeah, the line on T-Rac Posse’s post game story is mine. The wildcat truly is for pussies. Real men run the option.