Chiefs 51, Texans 31

Texans vs Chiefs Divisional Round: Good, bad and ugly

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With a chance to host the Titans in the AFC Championship game on the line, the Texans got beat by the Chiefs 31-51 in a thriller. Here are my observations:

The Good

-On their sixth play from scrimmage, the Texans scored a touchdown on a 54-yard Deshaun Watson to Kenny Stills hookup. The Chiefs' defense fell for the bubble screen which left Stills wide open. It was the Texans' first opening drive touchdown in postseason history (10 games).

-Deshaun Watson played his ass off. 31/52 for 388 yards with two passing touchdowns, plus six carries for 37 yards and a touchdown rushing. His escapability prolonged plays and always makes for an entertaining watch. He's the football equivalent to an offensive rebound the way he extends plays. My favorite play was the sack he took, but made the Chiefs defense work for almost 10 seconds to get on their first possession of the 3rd quarter.

-Watson looked great because he had a full compliment of healthy receivers. Will Fuller has been the main culprit of bad health. He had 89 yards on five catches. DeAndre Hopkins and Stills, the healthy guys, combined for 198 yards on 12 catches and a touchdown. If the defense can get their act together, this offense (when healthy) can be dangerous.

The Bad

-Lonnie Johnson Jr was called for a 28-yard pass interference on Kelce that led to the Chiefs' second touchdown. He was getting his head around and made minimal contact, but the refs threw the flag anyway. Later in the first half, DeAndre Hopkins dropped a key 3rd down when Tyrann Mathieu made obvious contact before the ball got there, but the refs didn't throw a flag there. Pass interference calls and reviews have been a complete joke all year.

-Down 17 with 11:45 left in the game on 4th&4 from Chiefs, Bill O'Brien called a timeout because he was about to punt. Inexcusable in that situation for O'Brien not to have a play dialed up. Again, situational football isn't his thing. He needs to relinquish some control to someone/people he knows and respects that'll help him navigate situational football, as well as some other things.

-Failure to continue to run the ball effectively was a contributing factor to this loss. The Texans ran it 21 times for 94 yards at a 4.5 yard per carry average. I'm no genius, but that means a lot of shorter distances to go 2nd & 3rd downs if you can rush for your average. This was the same thing the Ravens did. They too panicked unnecessarily and decided to start playing flag football. Dance with the one you got there with instead of shooting your shot at the one you can't get with.

The Ugly

-After going up 24-0, the Texans gave up a 58-yard kickoff return, 25-yard pass to Travis Kelce, and a 17-yard touchdown pass to Damien Williams to make it 24-7. They followed up their next offensive possession by missing on a 4th&4 fake punt giving the Chiefs a short field. Next thing you know, it's 24-14 and the Chiefs started shifting momentum. Then...

-...the Chiefs really made it a game when Deandre Carter fumbled the ensuing kickoff recovered by Darwin Thompson and returned to the six yard line. The Chiefs scored on 3rd&Goal when Mahomes found Kelce after scrambling. It went to 24-21 and Arrowhead Stadium turned back into a party. IT WAS STILL THE FIRST HALF! It was all down hill from there.

-The last 35 minutes of the game was all UGLY! How the hell do you go up 24-0 on the road, then give up 41 unanswered?!? Romeo Crennel should be fired immediately! People will blame O'Brien and his gambles that didn't work, but the defense failed to stop or slow down the Chiefs.

I stated on Twitter before the game started that Chris Jones being out for the Chiefs was bigger than Will Fuller being healthy for the Texans. That was true for the first 20 minutes of the game. The Texans proceeded to implode as if the moment was too big for them. They compounded mistakes by making more egregious errors, then componded them by making tactical blunders, and ultimately failed to execute. I hope this serves as a learning tool for the organization moving forward. The players didn't quit when things started going south. That is a testament to O'Brien. If he was as bad as most think he is, his team would quit on him. While this sin't an endorsement, it is a sign that the players like him even though no one else appears to. When you give up a 51-7 run in football, you'll lose every time; unless you're up by more than 45 points. Word to Booger McFarland.

Hyde 1070, Chiefs RBs 1292

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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