FRED FAOUR

This is the Texans offense fans had been waiting all season to see

Deshaun Watson had a monster game. Andy Lyons/Getty Images

This is what Texans fans had been waiting all season for. An exciting, aggressive offense that could go up and down the field with anyone. An offense good enough to overcome a struggling defense. An offense with motion, bootlegs and misdirection, much like the team we saw during Deshaun Watson's six starts last season.

An offense that had been MIA all year.

With their backs to the wall Sunday in Indianapolis and an 0-4 start looming, they came up with their best effort of the season and stole a 37-34 win over Indianapolis in overtime.

Watson was terrific with 375 yards passing, two touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed for 41 yards and another touchdown.

They also got just enough from a once again shaky defense. 

Jadeveon Clowney, doing his best Sue Storm impression the first three games, showed up with a fumble recovery for a touchdown and a pair of sacks, one late in the game that helped lead to the game-winning field goal.

For once, a questionable coaching decision by the opponent helped the Texans. With the score tied 31-31 with 27 seonds left in OT, Colts coach Frank Reich chose to go for it on fourth and four on his own 43. After an incomplete pass, the Texans hit DeAndre Hopkins for a big gain, then Ka'imi Fairbairn nailed the game-winning field goal.

(For the record, I don't know that it was that bad of a call. The Texans had not stopped the Colts since the third quarter, and Reich's only chance to win was to convert. But if you fail, you likely lose, and the Colts did. He gambled and it did not pay off). 

There were a lot of positives besides Watson. Keke Coutee made his NFL debut and had 11 catches for 109 yards. Hopkins had 10 for 169 and a touchdown in addition to the play that set up the win.

While they blew a 28-10 second half lead, they made enough plays when it counted, and benefitted from Reich's failed decision.

The Texans won despite a defense that was once again brutal. As has been the case all season, penalties were killers (Clowney alone had three offsides). The team overall was penalized 10 times for 54 yards, often in key situations. The defense was unable to cover T.Y. Hilton, who torched them for 4 catches and 115 yards despite twice leaving the field with injuries. They weren't great at getting off the field on third down (The Colts converted a ridiculous 10 of 17). They blew assignments (no one covered Eric Ebron on the Colts' third touchdown, and before he got hurt, Hilton was wide open all over the place). On the last two drives in regulation, they let the Colts walk down the field and score despite three holding penalties on the first drive and no Hilton. The Colts were perfect in the red zone. Andrew Luck threw for 464 yards despite missing Hilton for much of the game. The defense went a third straight game without getting an interception. It is hard to win a football game like that.

And yet they did. 

They did because they made a few plays on defense, and that was one of the key differences that gave them a chance. They forced two turnovers (well, one wasn't really "forced;" the Colts muffed a snap in the end zone that was recovered by Clowney for the first touchdown). They got pressure at times, with four sacks, two by Clowney and two by J.J. Watt. Clowney also blew up the running game in the backfield several times. But with the game on the line for the third straight week, the stars were invisible on defense until Clowney picked up his second sack on the second drive of overtime, which helped lead to the win.

Offensively, they once again had issues protecting Watson, who was sacked seven times. But they overcame that, in part because of Watson's mobility.

And Watson did enough to win the game, especially with his fouth-quarter drive where they went 54 yards in 10 plays and kicked a field goal to go up 31-23. However, the defense allowed the tying touchdown and two-point conversion, sending it to overtime. Watson led the Texans to a tying field goal in OT, then hit the big pass to set up the game winner.

In a way, the win was frustrating. Where has this offense been all season? This play calling? The plays that gave the Texans a shot? At 1-3, it might be too late, but at least Watson and the offense was back for one game.

The win ended a nine-game losing streak and was just the Texans second victory in 14 games. It was only their third in Indianapolis in franchise history. There was no doubt it was a must-win.

And win they did. 

 

Photo via Kansas City Chiefs/Facebook

History repeats itself, unless it doesn't.

(And they say a University of Maryland education is worthless.)

So here's some history worth repeating: In February 1999, President Clinton, after being impeached by the House of Representatives, was acquitted by the Senate; Super Bowl 33 that year was played in Miami. In February 2020, President Trump, after being impeached by the House, likely will be acquitted by the Senate; Super Bowl 54 this year will be played in Miami.

In Super Bowl 33, the AFC champion Denver Broncos beat the NFC champion Atlanta Falcons, 34-19. In Super Bowl 54, it is almost fated that the AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs will beat the NFC champion San Francisco 49ers by the EXACT SAME SCORE, 34-19.

Wow.

And now, as a public service, I am here to provide my 54th annual Super Bowl Viewing Guide (for Super Bowl Parties of Six or More):

This is the Chiefs' first Super Bowl appearance in 50 years. A lot is being made of this. You know who is tired of hearing it? Fans of the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars, the four NFL teams yet to play in a Super Bowl.

Here is a fun Patrick Mahomes factoid. In the 2014 MLB draft, he was selected in the 37th round by the Detroit Tigers. This means that the Tigers have drafted one more Super Bowl quarterback than the Lions have.

Here is a fun Patrick Mahomes observation. He is Stephen Curry in cleats.

I'm not a big nepotism fan – what did my dad ever do for me? – but it sure pays the bills. Mike Shanahan and Kyle Shanahan are the first father-son Super Bowl head-coaching duo; the elder Shanahan won back-to-back titles with the Denver Broncos and son Kyle is the 49ers' honcho. Meanwhile, Joe Buck is calling his sixth Super Bowl for Fox; his dad Jack Buck broadcast Super Bowl 4 on CBS with Pat Summerall.

Family ties are big in sports AND politics. John Adams was the second president (1797-1801) and son John Quincy Adams was the sixth (1825-29). It happened again with George H.W. Bush (1989-93) and George W. Bush (2001-2009). And Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr. could very well become the first father-son presidential combo to be impeached.

Jimmy Garoppolo apparently completes more passes off the field than on the field. The 49ers quarterback reportedly has dated adult film star Kiara Mia, model Alexandra King and, recently, a VIP bottle-service gal from Sacramento. With the ladies, he makes Tom Brady look like Trent Dilfer.

Here is a controversial take I do not apologize for – on Super Bowl Sunday, dogs are okay and spouses are optional. Toni, a k a She Is The One (And Then Some), will attest to this: I have thrown her out of the house so I can watch in peace, but our beloved pit mix Daisy is allowed to sit by my side, licking herself through endless replay reviews ITAL and END ITAL critical third downs.

There are other, more sobering viewing options on Sunday. For those of you who miss the presence of the New England Patriots, I suggest the three-part Netflix docuseries, Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez.

Your guests deserve wise choices on food and beverage. No to kale, no to quinoa, no to chard, no to coconut water, no to all Budweiser products. Yes to Yuengling, Dr. Brown's Black Cherry soda, San Pellegrino sparkling water, Fritos, olives, capocollo, pigs in a blanket and cacio e pepe.

Super Bowl prop bets are bigger than ever. They're usually bad bets. My favorite? William Hill sports book is offering 9,999-1 odds on the Chiefs scoring exactly four points. Four points? When's the last time an NFL team scored four points? Like, maybe, NEVER. So why waste a dollar? Plus, this should pay 999,999-1, not 9,999-1. Geez.

Only one prop bet is an (almost) sure winner. Heads or tails on the coin flip: It's tails. Trust me. No one has flipped more coins than Couch Slouch. I flip a coin every morning – heads I get dressed, tails I go back to sleep – and I'm in bed almost the entire week.

Ask The Slouch

Special Houston Astros Edition

Q. Will MLB be investigating whether the infamous Cleveland Indians drum-playing fan is actually relaying signs to Indians hitters, or does the team's lack of success make it a moot point? (Dan Cantwell; Albany, N.Y.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

Q. Will the Astros be able to hit major league pitching if they don't know what pitch is coming? (Michael Seltz; Alexandria, Va.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

Q. Will any win over the Astros in the future be described as a buzzer beater? (John Haluska; Guilderland, N.Y.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

Q. How might the Astros have fared if Mitch McConnell were commissioner instead of Rob Manfred? (Joe Salo; Latham, N.Y.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

Q. Does MLB' s one-year suspension of A.J. Hinch prevent him from getting a job with the New England Patriots? (Bruce Ellisen; Washington, D.C.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email asktheslouch@aol.com and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!

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