By NEAL FARMER
A group of us decided to play a Texans bingo drinking game on Sunday, which was my take-off on the political debate drinking game: you take a drink when a politician says a pre-described word or phrase. Like last year when Trump said, “Lock her up,” or when Clinton said, “Tax breaks for the rich.”
Only on Sunday, I would put a lip-lock on a brewski when Tom Savage threw an interception, was sacked because he held the ball too long, lost the ball on a strip-sack, or threw into double-coverage against the Tennessee Titans – the former Houston Oilers who were smarting after Houston pummeled them earlier in the year at home. Savage started the day with 12 turnovers in five games, so odds were that I might have to make a beer run during the game.
I took a sip of Whitmeyer’s single-barrel whiskey drink to start the game, and decided to go with Karbach beer the rest of the way (it’s cheaper than whiskey).
To make a long story short, I entered the second half without more drinking than usual. Savage took a sack with more than four minutes before halftime and I took a drink. Fairbairn missed the ensuing field goal attempt. Savage didn’t kick the ball, but he did make it more difficult for Fairbairn.
But for the most part, Savage was consistent, although I was able to take two more first-half drinks when he forced the ball into double-coverage. But no one intercepts, so no harm – no foul – no buzz.
Then I slowly begin to notice that Texans are going out of the game with injuries, especially the wide receivers. I had made no provisions for injuries affecting Savage’s game, so I take a drink of Karbach while I mull over how to handle this unforeseen change of events. C.J. Fiedorowicz, Braxton Miller and Bruce Ellington all go out at some point. Will Fuller was already out. RB Andre Ellington was pressed into service as a WR, and at times had to listen to DeAndre Hopkins when both were on the line of scrimmage so he would know what route to run. Do I toss beer out if Andre Ellington has a catch after a decent throw from Savage after the Texans took on fate? I take a swig and think about it. I theorized that drinking the beer is too darn important.
So, I decided I will take a drink if Savage forces the ball into double- and triple-teamed D-Hop, who appears to be the only option at times. But Hopkins actually makes a toe-tapping catch along the sideline.
I decide to take a swig in D-Hop’s honor out of respect for the WR. I mean, drinking a beer in his honor for his highlight catch was the right thing to do.
I look up in the second half to see quarterback Case Keenum threw a touchdown and cheer. I suddenly realize that it was only a replay of the Minnesota game, and that I must be dreaming to think that the Texans have Keenum as their highly regarded QB (sarcasm font).
Maybe I should be a Vikings fan this year.
The TV shows a shot of T.J. Yates, and I remember the game where he defeated Cincinnati in the playoffs. But Yates no longer rates with O’Brien.
Now back to Savage reality. And that reality is that Savage was on his way to throwing for 365 yards. I realize that if I had started this drinking game last week, I would not have made it out of the first half. But he looked damn decent against Tennessee. Until late in the second half.
With fourth and four from the Tennessee 36-yard line and down 17-10 on the scoreboard, left tackle Jeff Allen had three consecutive false starts to make it fourth and 19. But Savage finds Stephen Anderson for a 22-yard catch and the Texans look like there is a chance. I was too busy cheering to take a swig.
But Savage then threw a jump ball to Hopkins in the end zone, which looked like it was thrown instead to Tennessee CB LeShaun Sims, who intercepted the ball. Game over.
It looks like even playing one of his best games, but then became Savage again. Three plays later, Derrick Henry bolts for a 75-yard TD run for a 24-13 win.
I think the lesson learned is that with multiple interceptions or a single, heart-breaking pick in the last minute, the Texans just aren’t going to win with Savage. Stop me if you have heard that one before. And I then downed a beer out of frustration.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS – I am disappointed that the selection committee put Alabama in the four-team playoffs. I thought a team had to win its conference championship.
But at the same time, I have to laugh at the Ohio State fans, the team Alabama beat out to make the playoffs in 2017. In 2016, Ohio State fan was adamant that you didn’t have to win your conference championship to be in the playoffs. This year, they felt the opposite – because it benefited them.
Just congratulate Bama and shut the hell up. Ohio State had two defeats, including a 31-point loss to unranked Iowa, which is my guess as to why the Buckeyes got Blackeyes and didn’t make it.
FEEL-GOOD COLLEGE FOOTBALL STORY – I don’t know if you like feel-good stories about teams you don’t follow, but here is one that involves the Aggies. No, not the Texas Aggies, the New Mexico State Aggies. They are going to a bowl game for the first time in 57 years. The sad part is that NMSU had to go to a bowl geographically close to Las Cruces, N.M., or they could not have afforded to go.
PARTY ON – I have to admit: They know how to party in Georgia after winning a big football game.
MANVEL CHEERLEADER VIDEO GOES VIRAL – A Manvel High School cheerleader goes viral with a gravity-defying move on the sidelines. It’s a trick, but I had to look at it twice.
BIG 12 BOWLS – The conference teams and their bowl selections in one place.
ELF ON THE SHELF GOES HUNTING – A new take on the old elf that I found very satisfying, especially after beers during the Texans game.
CLASSIC NOTES – Tchaikovsky, who is one of the great ones. His Nutcracker Suite is standard at Christmas – the Houston Ballet performs is every year. The top piece from it is the Russian Dance.
QUOTE OF THE DAY – If the world was perfect, it wouldn’t be. – Yogi Berra, but applying today to the Alabama-Ohio State controversy.
HOTTIE OF THE DAY