Christopher Herbert

Contributor
3 Articles Published
Christopher Activity
Texans Win 8th straight against Titans, becoming formidable under Head Coach O’Brien

The 2018-19 NFL season has been an unmitigated roller coaster for the Houston Texans franchise.

After three consecutive losses to the New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans, and New York Giants, all signs of the team's poor efforts in those games signaled a lost season. Head Coach Bill O’Brien was also on a hot seat that was doused in gasoline.

Somehow, after defeating the Tennessee Titans Monday night 34-17, the Texans were able to turn their pitiful start into an historic eight-game win streak. While this has been a complete team effort, O’Brien deserves high praise for this dramatic turnaround.

Down 10 only five minutes into the first quarter, Houston was able to score 14 unanswered as Deshaun Watson hit Demaryius Thomas on a 12-yard pass play, followed by a 15-yard run a drive later.

The sequence that won the Texans the game was midway through the second quarter as the Texans defense was able to stop the Titans offense on a goal line stand, setting up a 97-yard touchdown run by Lamar Miller, giving Houston a 21-10 lead. The Titans were unable to keep up, scoring only one touchdown in the second half.

What makes this win so special was that as the team was wrapping their game plan preparations for their division rival, their owner, Bob McNair, passed away after a four-year battle with cancer.

But in spite of all the pressure the Texans were under, the team proved Monday night as well as the rest of the season that they can perform well in high-pressure situations. As everyone already knows, this is something that the franchise hadn’t been able to do previously.

In Weeks 4 and 5, The Texans were able to survive in overtime victories against the Indianapolis Colts and Dallas Cowboys.

After a shaky team performance against Buffalo in Week 6, Houston’s defense dominated division rival Jacksonville Jaguars 20-7 in Week 7. The offense shined against the Miami Dolphins 45-23 in Week 8, where Deshaun Watson threw for five touchdowns on Thursday night in primetime.

After losing WR Will Fuller for the season, the Team was able to acquire veteran Demaryius Thomas via trade and highlight undrafted free agent Keke Coutee to reload their receiving corps in wins over the Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins.

The Texans defense also witnessed a resurgent JJ Watt and has seen Kareem Jackson dominating after converting from Corner to Safety. Both are currently the highest-rated players in their positions, according to Pro Football Reference.

Overall, the Texans have matured into a formidable team this season, which is something the team has not looked like in previous seasons under O’Brien.

In each of O’Brien’s first three seasons, the Texans looked like an average team, finishing at 9-7. They then fell apart after losing Watson in 2017, finishing the season 4-12. Consequently, O’Brien and his coaching staff have faced heavy criticism for the way the Texans have finished out each season.

While an eight-win streak is not a playoff victory or a Super Bowl championship, it is also not something that should be taken lightly. The Texans are now one of the hottest teams in the league and have a huge chance to not only clinch the AFC South, but the entire conference as well.

With five games left in the season, we should start giving Bill O’Brien more credit for his coaching efforts.

Source: @pff_Texans on twitter and NFL.com

Jimmy Butler to the Sixers

The 2018-19 NBA Season is still early, but it looks like we have our first major story that will impact the league.

After 13 games into the 2018-19 season, the Minnesota Timberwolves have traded their disgruntled star, Jimmy Butler, along with former 1st round pick Justin Patton to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for rotational forwards Robert Covington, Dario Saric, and a 2022 1st round pick.

Butler, who led the 4-9 T-Wolves with 21.3 points per game, along with 5.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists a game, will join a young, but already proven Eastern Conference contender in Philadelphia. The 76’ers, who are led by the young, exciting frontcourt of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, are currently 3rd in the conference with an 8-5 record.

The Timberwolves on the other hand, now have a clear direction to shift their focus back to their young stars Karl Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, who reportedly (and publicly) had their on-court issues with Butler during the 2017-18 season, as well as the beginning of this season.

The situation with Butler, Wiggins, and Towns had gotten so bad for the T-Wolves that it was reported Butler had asked to be traded during the beginning of the 2018-19 season. Butler held out for most of the team’s training camp and even started a rift with the team after a team scrimmage in practice.

Another team affected by this trade is the Houston Rockets, who expressed heavy interest in the veteran forward Butler, and were reportedly willing to trade four future first-round draft picks.

Butler, a Houston native, grew up in a toxic environment from the beginning of his childhood. Butler's father abandoned him when he was an infant and he was kicked out of his home by his mother at the age of 13.

Butler was able to channel his rough beginnings by becoming a star player for Tomball High School from 2003-2007. He also played a season at Tyler Junior College before transferring to Marquette in 2008.

While the Rockets did miss out on their chance to land Butler in a trade, the star forward’s current contract has him as an unrestricted free agent in 2020.

For now, the 76er’s have a major chance to contend in an Eastern Conference that seems up for grabs.

The Giants Have Failed Odell Beckham, Jr.

The New York Giants have a problem with their team, but believe it or not, it actually isn’t Odell Beckham Jr.

Before the Giants lost 33-31 on a record-tying 63-yard kick by Panthers kicker, Graham Gano, the Giants superstar wide receiver garnered a lot of negative backlash Sunday morning for his Sunday NFL Countdown interview with ESPN personality Josina Anderson with multi-platinum selling artist Lil’ Wayne by his side.

The 7 minute interview captured Beckham’s current frustrations with: his team’s inability to score; the Giants then 1-3 record; his thoughts on Eli Manning not passing him the ball how he wants; and teams with high-powered offenses, such as the currently 5-0 Los Angeles Rams. Anderson even asked about Beckham’s happiness with the team currently.

Beckham answered every question truthfully, and this drove media personalities, and Giants head coach, Pat Shurmur, into a frenzy. Before the interview aired, the Giants Head Coach actually confronted Beckham about his comments, which lead to the disgruntled wide receiver publicly apologizing to his teammates before their Sunday afternoon matchup in Carolina.

As for the game itself, the Giants still lost, but the offense was able to score 31 points; the most the team has scored since January 3rd, 2016 in a 35-30 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Beckham led all players with 8 catches on 131 yards and a receiving touchdown. Ironically, he even threw a touchdown pass for 57 yards to Saquon Barkley, which is the longest pass play the Giants have had in since Week 5 in 2017. Beckham also graded out as the highest rated player on the Giants with 90.7.

After the loss, Beckham addressed the media and said he doesn’t regret his ESPN interview and believed his words were a positive influence. Based on his and the team’s numbers for the game, one has to wonder why Beckham continues to receive such criticism for his comments (and basically everything else he does on and off the field.)

What makes this situation even more concerning, is that Beckham straightforwardly expressed his opinion publicly, and the team, especially their offense, responded in a way the team hasn’t in nearly two years. Despite this, the general consensus appears to be that Beckham was wrong for what he said.

It is understandable that Beckham’s past behavior earned him the reputation of being a disruptive player, and many said he made a fool of himself. Who can forget him attacking a kicking net, throwing tantrums on the sideline, and getting into an on-field fight with Redskins corner Josh Norman? However, all of this is behind him.

Ever since the Giants re-signed Beckham to a five-year, 90 million dollar extension to make him the highest paid player in his position, he has also been the leader of the team. In every game this season, he congratulated his teammates when they scored or made big plays and consoled them in stressful situations. Yet, the majority of mass media continue to make him out as a bad guy.

The Giants organization on the other hand, hasn’t lived up to their expectations like Beckham has. Back in 2016, New York finally cut ties with long-term head coach Tom Coughlin after 12 seasons, 5 playoff berths, 3 divisional championships, and 2 Super Bowl Championships. Since then, the Giants fired Ben McAdoo in 2017 after a disastrous 3-13 season, following their 11-5 season in 2016.

So far, things look the same with Shurmur, as the team is 1-4 and currently has the highest chance of earning the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. 

As a fan of the Giants, I can honestly say that the team has failed Beckham, not the other way around. He is playing in his fifth season, and, though regarded as one of the league's most polarizing athletes, he continues to produce at a superstar level. His 39 catches for 462 yards is fourth in the NFL among receivers. His team on the other hand, makes you scoff at the fact that they once won two Super Bowls in a five year span.

With an upcoming Primetime matchup against the defending Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday, Beckham and the New York Giants either need to come together to produce a win or they will continue to be the media circus have been so far in 2018.

All Stats and info was used from Pro Football Reference and Giants.com