“It’s-not-you, it’s-me” worked as a great storyline on Seinfeld, but as a brand of NFL explanation it is a tiresome exercise.
If you’re an offensive lineman and you give up two big plays, no one wants to hear about how well you did on the other plays. And frankly, J.J. Watt did more than record two sacks. He recovered a fumble and was regularly wreaking havoc in the backfield.
There is no downplaying what he did or what he’s doing. He's the best defensive player in the NFL right now and he influenced the Texans' 38-14 win in a big way.
But Harris went ahead and downplayed Watt.
He had this to say about Watt, per Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.
“They didn’t do anything we weren’t prepared for. You have to be sound in your technique and I wasn’t today. (Watt) is not anything special; he is just persistent at what he does, and if you use bad technique he’ll exploit it. I locked him down most of the game except those two plays. If I do my technique I am fine. It is nothing he did; it is about execution. And I didn’t execute on those two plays.”
Harris has to be smarter than that and give credit where credit is due.
He’s got a knee issue that is lingering and gets used as a crutch for him. But he’s in his sixth year now and has rarely played like the guy the Titans thought he would be.
This bit of bravado is partially to blame on coach Mike Munchak and offensive line coach Bruce Matthews.
For a long time, they’ve been saying Harris is a good player who can be very good, almost wishing it true. And while he has not panned out the way they predicted, they’ve continued to show confidence in him.
He’s picked up on that, and frankly, thinks he’s better than he is.
"I did well except for two plays" is a silly thing to say. Two plays can change a game. We don’t care what he did on 58 plays if two of them were especially bad and influenced the outcome. (Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?)
And there is no way Harris is grading out well on the other 58. I saw Watt all over the place during that game.
In Houston today, Harris is a laughing stock. He may not care about that consequence, but it was easily avoidable.