Cowboys, Texans wins not pretty, but still are wins
If anyone took the time to tabulate the number of false starts and defensive off-sides that occurred in the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans victories Sunday, they would have run out of fingers and had to finish counting on their toes.
But for those fans—like myself—who enjoy rooting for both of our Lone Star State’s National Football League franchises, Sunday was an exciting and enjoyable day.
The Cowboys looked sloppy and somewhat inept on offense, but the defense played as good as it did in the opening day upset victory over the World Champion New York Giants as the Pokes hung on for a 16-10 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Texans didn’t look as sloppy in their 31-25 win over the Denver Broncos as they overcame a safety on the first offensive play and fell behind 5-0 with 4:39 left in the initial period. But after leading 31-11 early in the fourth period they nearly allowed Denver’s new quarterback Peyton Manning to stage one of his late patented rallies.
Manning is newer to Denver than he is to the Texans, who had never beaten a Peyton Manning-quarterbacked team on the road and on Sunday won against the team he was quarterbacking for only the third time in 19 tries.
It also marked the very first time in franchise history the Texans ever won in Denver. And another first for the Texans’ franchise is to start a season 3-0.
In fact the NFL appears to have so much parity so far this season, Houston is the ONLY team in the American Football Conference that is undefeated, with only Arizona and Atlanta standing at 3-0 in the NFC.
Houston Texans fans shouldn’t rush out and order their Super Bowl tickets quite yet, because a lot of bad things can happen to a team in the final 13 games of a season. But it is rather exciting to be supporting the only 3-0 AFC team, knowing that the not-so-strong-yet Tennessee Titans will visit Reliant Stadium at noon on Sunday and the Texans are an early 12-point favorite to increase their unblemished record to 4-0.
Sunday’s 31-25 win over Denver has been categorized by the beat writers of the Houston Chronicle as one of Texans’ quarterback Matt Schaub’s most brilliant performances.
Schaub was driven into the turf by Denver linebacker Von Miller after releasing his throw that resulted in a 15-yard personal foul. On the very next play linebacker Joe Mays hit Schaub so viciously after the had thrown the ball that it knocked his helmet off and tore part of Schaub’s ear lobe off. The gutsy quarterback missed only one play and was back at the helm.
By the time this Korner hits the streets Wednesday, I would expect the NFL to level severe fines or even a suspension for either or both of those unnecessary and brutal attacks on Schaub.
Despite playing without his entire ear, Schaub threw four touchdown passes to four different receivers and finished the game with 290 yards, completing 17 of 30 passes and a nifty 115.3 passer rating.
“I felt fine,” Schaub told the female Houston Chronicle writer after the game. “You know, I just lost a little piece of my ear.” Head Coach Gary Kubiak added. “Boy, he played like a champ, today.”
Sunday marked the seventh consecutive game that star running back Arian Foster has scored a touchdown and the third consecutive game that he carried the football at least 25 times. He had 105 yards rushing, averaging 4.2 yard a carry. He also caught a three-yard touchdown pass from Schaub.
Things were much different for the Cowboys. They knew that their offensive mistakes could have cost them the game and that the defense is what saved them from another humiliating defeat.
The Pokes used an 11-yard touchdown scamper by DeMarco Murray and a trio of field goals by Dan Bailey to put their 16 points on the huge scoreboard at Jerry Jones’ billion dollar stadium scoreboard in Arlington for their home opener.
“It was far from artistic,” Cowboys’ head coach Jason Garrett evaluated after the game to a writer from the San Antonio Express-News. “We made enough mistakes to lose, but the defense bailed us out. It was just one of their best days. The defense was outstanding. Throughout the ball game, they were put in bad situations and they responded.”
The Cowboys did improve to 2-1 and presented owner Jerry Jones with his 200th win since buying the club back in 1989. But the Pokes committed three turnovers—all by quarterback Tony Romo—and 13 penalties for 105 yards. Romo was sacked four times and the running game generated just 38 yards.
Tight end Jason Witten continued to struggle, dropping three passes for the second straight game, including one that could have gone for a touchdown, and committed two false starts. Offensive lineman Doug Free was flagged four times for illegal procedure.
“We need to stop beating ourselves,” Garrett concluded. “We are going to look at it play by play and player by player and clean it up.” The Cowboys play on national television Monday night at home against the defensively-tough Chicago Bears.
KWICKIES…The Lamar Cardinals football team seems to be on a roller coaster so far this season. The Big Red opened the season with a 40-0 loss at Louisiana-Lafayette, shut out Prairie View A&M the next week 31-0, lost at Hawaii 54-2 and then Saturday white-washed NAIA combatant Langston 31-0. The Cards host Southeastern Louisiana Saturday at 3 p.m. in their Southland Conference opener. The Lions rallied to beat my alma mater McNeese State 25-24 Saturday in Hammond.
A couple of eagles were recorded last week by members of Sunset Grove Country Club. Jim Rodda chipped one in from 88 yards on the Par 4 No. 5 hole at Sunset Thursday while Vinton assistant football coach Bart Williams had one at the National course in West Lake, La. along with three birdies Sunday. He said he also had five bogeys and shot even par 72.
And while on the subject of golf, 31-year-old Brandt Snedecker put more than $11 million into his bank account Sunday by winning the PGA Tour championship with a 10-under par 270 and pocketing a check for $1,440,000. However, the victory also put him in first place for the $10 million bonus from the FedEx Cup, the richest payoff in golf.
It was a matter of the teacher beating the student Saturday when Kansas State’s 73-year-old head coach Bill Snyder waltzed into Oklahoma Memorial Stadium and led his Wildcats to a 24-19 upset victory over Oklahoma, coached by his star pupil Bob Stoops. The win vaulted K-State from 15th to No. 7 in this week’s Associated Press Top 25 College Football Poll while the Sooners sunk from No. 6 down to No. 16. Alabama remained No. 1 while Oregon and LSU swapped places. Florida and Georgia retained their fourth and fifth positions, South Carolina moved up one notch to No. 6, No. 8 Stanford and No. 9 West Virginia swapped places while Notre Dame moved up one spot to No. 10. Texas remained at No. 12 while TCU jumped two places to No. 15 and Baylor joined the poll at No. 25 after not being ranked last week.
Former Port Arthur Memorial and University of Texas star running back Jamaal Charles had a banner day Sunday, rushing for 233 yards including a Kansas City Chiefs franchise record 91-yard touchdown gallop which also was the longest run ever given up by the New Orleans Saints’ defense. The Saints fell to 0-3 for the season when Chiefs’ kicker Ryan Succop kicked his team-record sixth field goal, a 31-yard boot in overtime to give Kansas City a 27-24 victory. JUST BETWEEN US…The Houston Astros are expected to announce their choice as the new manager of the team sometime this week (it may have happened before this Korner hits the streets). Owner Jim Crane and General Manager Jeff Luhnow have been interviewing candidates for the past three weeks and trying to focus on those with some American League background like former Astro Tim Bogar, who is the Boston Red Sox bench coach and Dave Martinez, who serves in the same capacity with the Tampa Bay Rays. Astros’ interim manager Tony DeFrancesco, who served as a minor league manager and a major league coach with the Oakland A’s, is considered a leading candidate.