BARRY WARNER'S VIEW

Off the top of my bald head: Texans get a much-needed win over Cardinals

Andre Johnson honored by the Texans Bob Levey/Getty Images

When I checked out the flip card before the game and saw the name of the marquee referee Ed Hochuli one thing came to mind. Who in the hell did he piss off at the league office to get a crapola game between two injury depleted teams?

The Texans ended their three-game losing streak with a 31-21 win in front of a lackluster crowd and about 15,000 empty seats.

Imagine what attendance would have been if it was not Andre Johnson’s induction as the first member of the Ring of Honor.

For the first time in a month, we did not hear the usual Bill O’Brien “It’s on me or I have to do a better job of coaching” after a game.

Tom Savage turnovers gave Arizona two touchdowns, threw for a pair of scores and finished the day 22-of-32 for 230 yards, two touchdowns and a 97.1 passer rating. For the first time the tough, honest kid from Pitt showed leadership. In spite of poor field position there was a different air about No. 3.  Savage channeled his inner Deshaun Watson, buying time, extending the pocket with his feet

The touchdown pass to DAndre Hopkins over Patrick Peterson belongs in the Museum of Fine Throws, a perfect strike.

It’s always a treat to watch the best against the best. Arizona Cardinals Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson in man coverage against D-Hop.  The Texans acrobatic receiver caught four passes for 76 yards and one score. D-Hop also made a pair of spectacular grabs, but did not have not feet inbounds.

Texans PR staff opened windows in press box for final two minutes of first half to hear the halftime tribute to the classy, non-diva Johnson. For a moment time stood still, like the days at the Astrodome before the sterile atmosphere on Sundays.

With a classy tribute, Dre came out of the tunnel, surrounded by former teammates on either side to the podium. Cheers continued when the McNair family was introduced.  But with the windows opened, we heard the fans booing of Rick Smith McNair. That is a first in my years covering sports in Houston, a city that had its share of incompetent decision makers.

Must be nice to have a gig with that type of job security.

Video tributes from Charley Casserly, original Texans GM, Gary Kubiak, Michael Irvin, followed by huge ovation from Arian Foster.

Bad Blaine Gabbert threw three touchdowns, including a pair to former Sealy All Stater and Aggie Ricky Seals-Jones. For the third consecutive game Jonathan Joseph got beat in man coverage

The punching bag of jokes, the offensive line had a solid day.  The Human Turnstile, left tackle Chris Clark, dominated Chandler Jones, and Xavier Su’a Filo opened holes on the left as the ground game picked up 130 yards.

Jadeveon Clowney continues to smear egg all over the idiots who called him a bust. The first pick in the draft four years ago as an outside backer, but he spends the majority of his time with his hand in the dirt as a pass rusher. Two sacks and three tackles for loss in yet another All Pro day at the office. Benardrick McKinney led the team with nine tackles, including two for loss.

The Texans regained the lead in the second half, winning the game with help from the Cardinals head coach.

Bruce Arians proved that Bill O’Brien is not the only NFL genius capable of having brain farts.  For some strange reason, he went for a first down on fourth-and-one at his own 34 while trailing by a mere three points with 6:36 remaining "It's very simple: I cost our team the game," Arians said. "Trust is a funny thing sometimes when you can't get it to it. You deserve to lose, especially when you make the decision I made and the play I called. So, there's your headline. You can write it. It comes down to that call. At that point in the game, in retrospect, we should have punted."

The Texans stopped Adrian Peterson for a one-yard loss, then went up by 10 when D'Onta Foreman scored on the next play. But the cursed Texans lost the rookie from Texas with a season ending Achilles injury.

Is NRG an Indian burial ground?  

Chirp!

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Another win for the Coogs! Photo by Getty Images.

The Cougars were supposed to play a game in Tampa against The University of South Florida on Jan. 14th, but this contest was postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing within the USF program. Houston was able to take advantage of the extra time off to rest their players and prepare for their next game against UCF.

Their previous game against the Knights in Orlando on December 26th was a close matchup which saw UCF and the Cougars tied at halftime. The second half was a back-and-fourth contest between the two teams, but Houston was able to come away with a nine point victory.

This game however was nowhere near as close and their previous meeting.

Houston immediately got off to a 12-0 start thanks to four straight 3-pointers from DeJon Jarreau (2x), Marcus Sasser & Quentin Grimes.

The Cougars continued to surge past the knights and at one point led 38-9 with 3:43 left to go in the contest.

Houston led 45-19 at halftime, their largest first half lead of the season.

The Cougars were able to maintain their commanding lead with both efficient scoring early on and elite level defense. Houston forced UCF to commit 20 turnovers that resulted in 22 points for the Cougars.

The Cougars won most of their games this season with commanding defense, dominating the boards and superior guard play. All three boxes were checked as Houston was able to secure a 75-58 victory.

UCF did outscore Houston in the second half 39-30, but the Cougars' lead proved to be an insurmountable obstacle to overcome for the Knights. Essentially, Houston was on cruse control the second half of the game and never saw their lead drop below double digits.

Grimes scored in double figures for his 11th straight game after opening the season with eight points against Lamar. Senior forward Justin Gorham scored a season high 15 points as well.

Houston has now won its fourth straight game since its loss to Tulsa and now remain in sole position of 1st place in the AAC.

The Cougars moved up from No.11 to the 8th ranked team in the country as multiple top-ranked teams suffered losses over the week.

Kelvin Sampson passed former Houston coach Tom Penders as he earned his 650th career win. This also moves him into sole possession of 41st place on the NCAA wins list. He is also the second winningest coach in Houston Cougars Men's Basketball history behind only the great Guy Lewis.

UP NEXT: Houston looks to exact revenge against the only team to defeat them this season as they host Tulsa at the Fertitta Center on Wednesday at 7pm.

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