Re: The Oilers would have lost this game
I think the reason the Oilers choked in the 1990s was because of leadership over them. Cocky, a bit on-the-edge, and when things didn't click perfectly the rats fled the ship. En masse.
For all of Kubiak's warts, one of his chief attributes is his ability to make people believe in themselves to the point that I think all 53 guys expect to win BUT they know they have to remember that failure is always knocking at the door of their courage.
I think there are key players who have instilled this attitude for Kubiak:
1. Schaub. Yeah, I would want Peyton Manning throwing the ball for us. But I would want Mat Schaub LEADING this team. One guy is a gem on camera, so we naturally think he's a great people-person with his coworkers. The other guy is a recluse and we think he might not a good locker room guy, but hey...turns out that Matt Schaub excels in areas that Peyton doesn't. And last time I checked, Peyton's gaudy stats don't always equal trophies.
2. Chris Myers. He has this vibe about him that says "I might be the center, but I could block anywhere you put me. Try me."
3. Owen Daniels. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, can get open and take a pass the way OD does. You want that 1st down? Throw it at his head, his ankles, 4 feet too far in front of him, he doesn't care. You KNOW you're getting that pass completed when you throw it to him.
4. Brian Cushing. A guy who eats football. Seriously, I think he boils footballs and makes smoothies out of them.
5. JJ Watt, Manning, JJo. The newest additions to the team, these guys have almost a serial killer mentality to how they play the game. They have raised the play of everyone around them. Period.
I would say that Andre Johnson and Arian Foster are two guys who are so chill and so fluid in their work ethic and game day talents...you can include them in the above group, but I think they are in a different league of their own. You cannot quantify these two guys. They are "x" factors that do things in a game you thought impossible. They are so heavily feared that often times the opponent screws up entirely because of just their presence on the field. They get the scores, they make a few highlight moves, and they pick up where the team might need them the most.
All in all, this team is talented like the mid-90's Oilers...but they have a built-in mechanism for success that I think that Oilers team lacked. When the pressure was truly on, the teams react differently. For one, it is an embracing of the pressure. For the other, it was a panic reactive response that always self-destructed out of fear of being called "losers."