NFL

Cards finally line up for Texans

The FOX NFL Sunday gang recaps Week 14.
The FOX NFL Sunday gang recaps Week 14.
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Jimmy Johnson

Jimmy Johnson was the architect of the Dallas Cowboys' dynasty in the mid-1990s. His team celebrated two consecutive Super Bowl victories with Johnson at the helm. He joined "FOX NFL Sunday" in 2010. Follow him on Twitter.

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The Texans have been on the verge of something special the last couple of years and I’m not surprised they're going to the playoffs. I think what has put this team over the top is how well it is playing on defense. Hiring Wade Phillips as the defensive coordinator was a big plus for this team. Phillips has the defense playing extremely well, considering the Texans lost their best player in Mario Williams.

T.J. Yates was an interesting prospect coming out of North Carolina. He’s a smart kid who started a lot of games there. He’s really fit well into Gary Kubiak’s offensive system. I think the whole key on a contending team like the Texans is that I would always want a veteran as a backup but also have a young kid as a project in a long-term situation, whether it was on the roster or on the practice squad.

In their situation, the Texans weren’t totally sure about Yates and that’s why they signed Jake Delhomme. So they do have the veteran backup who has the experience if they really need him but also someone who can mentor Yates.

But I really think, after spending the entire season with him, that the Texans believed that Yates had a lot of potential. And that’s why they have been able to play him and also believe in what he can do.

You can tell how comfortable the coaches and his offensive teammates are with him. I mean, he had to drive his team down the field with very little time on the clock to beat Cincinnati. That was a veteran-quality drive. He really throws the ball very well. I’m not saying he’s great, but he’s playing very well.

Brady's (verbal) brawl

I know a lot of the fans were caught totally off guard by the sideline argument between Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and his offensive coordinator, Bill O’Brien. But those things happen in football.

Fans have to understand what an emotional game it can be. The Patriots had a big lead and Washington kept coming back and the Redskins even tied it. That’s when the tension gets high on both sides – with the offensive coordinator and Tom Brady.

I saw that Brady thought he deserved to be yelled out. He said, “You make bad plays and you’re supposed to get yelled at by your coaches. It’s certainly not the first time and I don’t think it’ll be the last. You can’t do it (throw a red-zone interception) in that situation. I made a terrible play and he let me know it.”

Now, they hugged at the end of the game and everything is probably fine. But those things happen and now there are cameras everywhere to catch everything that happens. You should see some of the things that happen at practice where there are no cameras out there. You would be amazed.

I agree there’s a lot of pressure on Brady and O’Brien to score as much as possible. They know their defense can’t stop a lot of people. But they also set the bar awfully high in New England. The bar is awfully high to succeed and do well there. I mean, those two know how much they have to carry that football team because the defense is struggling.

I do want to say that every year is different and, yes, I know the Patriots haven’t won a playoff game since the 2007 season and we all know how that ended, with a Super Bowl loss to the Giants. I think the media and the fans look at that history more so than players and coaches. Players and coaches look at everything year to year, game to game.

Cold cards

Of the wild-card teams today, it was a rough day for the Bears while the Lions and Falcons were fortunate.

Atlanta really started off poorly against Carolina, but Cam Newton let them right back into the game by throwing two interceptions. However, Atlanta showed that it does have a quality team by coming back to win on the road in the second half.

Detroit was disappointing to me because Minnesota gave the Lions some gifts early on. I think Minnesota had six turnovers in that game to zero for Detroit. That game should have been a runaway for the Lions.

For Detroit to let Minnesota back into that ballgame was disappointing to me. In fact, the Lions were lucky to win. At the end, Minnesota was a couple yards away from the end zone and blew the game.

Anytime you win a game you are going to feel better, but the Eagles have had a horrible season.

STARGAZING

Everybody loves the NFL, even celebrities. See A-list actors and recording artists on the sidelines.

Regardless of how many games the Eagles win here at the end of the season, their season is going to end and they all are going to look back and say what a disappointing year it was. I’m sure some heads are going to roll. I don’t know if it’s going to be Andy Reid’s head, but there will be some on that coaching staff.

The bottom line in that game is that Miami is marginal on offense and when you are marginal in one phase or the other and the other phase doesn’t play well, you are in trouble. That’s what happened to the Dolphins.

They turned the ball over and they didn’t run the ball well and they are not good enough offensively to overcome all of that. The Eagles took advantage of every mistake they made.

Tagged: Lions, Patriots, Eagles, Panthers, Texans, Tom Brady, T.J. Yates

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