By NEAL FARMER
Hell almost froze over.
Yes, the Houston Texans offense played like a real offense for the first time since before Matt Schaub’s injury. Deshaun Watson looked sharp in the 36-33 loss at New England. Receivers caught passes. Runners made yards. The defense looked tough, at times. But the Texans became yet another victim of Tom Brady, as he won his 50th game in the fourth quarter in his career. When Houston’s next-to-last drive ended with a field goal for a five-point lead instead of a touchdown for a nine-point lead, I think everyone knew what was coming next. (A big question is: Why kick a field goal when it is fourth and a half yard instead of going for it? But that is another story.)
Despite the good vibes from the near win (Houston was a 14-point underdog), the Texans still are miserable 1-2 for the season. However, I think most who had written the team off after the first week loss (like me) may think that there is a possible playoff appearance in this team yet. Jacksonville and Tennessee don’t look as intimidating as they did before. (Indianapolis looks like it could be trying to play itself into the first draft pick for next year and get a lineman to help protect Andrew Luck. Yes, Indy beat Cleveland on Sunday, but, I mean, it’s Cleveland.)
It was really interesting to see the juxtaposition of Brady and Watson, who are 18 years apart. Watson was able to juke past defenders for key first downs on runs, after which he smartly slid to the turf at the right time. And there was the Brady statue, standing tall and delivering strikes – often releasing the ball before receivers made their cuts. It would be real easy to say that there was a passing of the QB mantle if Houston had won, but Brady still looks like he could play a few more years. So it looks to me like Brady is still Da MAN.
To keep up, Watson needs to get some years of experience under his belt, as well as his own supermodel girlfriend.
NFL NATIONAL ANTHEM CONTROVERSY – I feel I am as patriotic as the next guy. I think it is proper to stand at attention with your hand over your heart for the National Anthem before athletic events. But as a recovering journalist, I feel strongly about the First Amendment and how it allows people to protest. The current protest is not about the American flag, but calling into view police brutality and racism in America.
I have no problems with protesting. That’s how America got its kick-start to Brexit 1776, by protesting taxation without representation.
Consequently, people can boycott the NFL if they want because some football players take a knee during the National Anthem – that is the consumers’ right, too. But no one should force anyone to either side of the issue. It’s like a lively, lengthy Facebook debate, which is always ugly because most already have their minds made up and few change.
An example is when I was in the Astrodome with my family in the 1990s. During the National Anthem, a law enforcement officer walked sharply up to me when I had a baseball hat on and was talking to my 3-year-old daughter whom I held in my right arm. The officer told me I was going to remove my hat during the anthem. I just looked at him. He had no right to say that to me. I tried to diffuse the incident and walked away with my 3-year-old on my right arm. But he followed me in an animated fashion, telling me again that I will remove my hat. My mother-in-law took the hat off of my head as I walked by her, and the policeman smiled and walked back to his previous position. All during the National Anthem.
Do what you think is right, but don’t force others into your beliefs like a Gestapo, jack-booted thug in a police uniform. You can’t force patriotism. And you can’t muzzle protesting in America. But you can talk about both.
LIKED ONLY IN NORMAN – Is there anyone in the country outside of Norman who likes University of Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield? The guy is a PR disaster. He started at the Texas Tech program as a walk-on, and transferred to OU. He said some negative things about Lubbock – c’mon, who hasn’t? – but his words seemed to stick in the Tech fans craw. When he led the OU football team in Lubbock against Texas Tech last year, the Red Raider fans chanted, “F*ck you, Baker,” which could be heard on the telecast. OU went on to win.
After beating Ohio State in Columbus this year, he tried to plant an OU flag in midfield in the AstroTurf at the Horseshoe. (All right, I kind of liked that one.)
On Saturday, he allegedly said in pregame to some Baylor players: You forgot who daddy is. I’m going to have to spank you today.
During the game, he received a personal foul penalty. He was being talked to on the sideline by coaches, but I don’t seem him changing his attitude. Tigers don’t change their stripes; Bakers don’t change their recipes. He then led OU to a comeback win against the Bears, 49-41.
He is a top candidate for the Heisman this year, which might or might not have a character clause with voters. So who would vote for him? Arrogant Heisman voters. But then again, arrogant Heisman voters could be redundant.
NEW STAR TREK – Star Trek Discovery debuted on Sunday night on CBS. My first thought: I will watch future episodes. The show started off with Klingons. Cool. You knew there would be a conflict when the Klingon leader said negative things about the Federation’s mantra of “We come in peace.”
The show also used part of the original Star Trek Theme when the Federation starship appeared, as well as at the end of the show’s opening credits. (The overall opening credits theme was disappointing.)
Another negative was how many commercials there were.
I won’t spoil anything, but there is a conflict between the captain and the first officer that turns major. But the Klingons are what make this show, and they are just one level below the powerful awesomeness of JJ Watt.
TAKE THE CARR TO LOOK FOR THE LEAF – The top draft busts for every NFL team. There seems to be an inordinate number of quarterbacks.
TEXANA ON FILM — A stunningly accurate list of the best films that give you the Texas experience, including Friday Night Lights – one of the best high school football films ever made. My heart is full…
WHISKEY A GO-GO – If you are serious about your whiskey, here is an expensive event talking place this weekend in the Galleria.
CLASSICAL NOTES: Richard Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra. The ultimate overture. The best version is from 2001: A Space Odyssey. This piece kicks butt.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: Get the facts first. You can distort them later. – Mark Twain
HOTTIE OF THE DAY: Is she the Heisman muse? Maybe or maybe not, but the underboob is almost never underrated.