By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
Season Lowlight: With the chance to have the franchise's first non-losing record (8-8), the Texans had only to beat the lowly Cleveland Browns, coming into Reliant Stadium with a 3-12 record. The Browns had their golf clubs packed, were looking at their watches the whole time and — well, let's leave the evenhanded Associated Press to describe what happened:
"David Carr was sacked, hurried and harassed by the Cleveland Browns defense all day Sunday.
"But his trouble didn't stop there, as Houston Texans fans piled on the abuse with a steady stream of boos that began in the first quarter and reached a crescendo in the final three minutes of a 22-14 loss to the hapless Browns...The crowd jeered Carr while he was sprawled on the turf, and when he was escorted off the field."
Maybe they weren't booing, maybe they were cheering "Hall of Famer!!" in an obscure language in which that phrase rhymes with "moo."
Inexplicable Moment Which Summed Up the Texans' Futility: After Carr was forced out of the game with an injury, back-up QB Tony Banks immediately threw a 16-yard completion. Carr then returned to the field, to resounding boos (Or, possibly, "Hall of Famer!!" chants in an obscure foreign language).
Trend Which Cruelly Gave Hope for the Future: This marked the first year the Texans had ever won back-to-back games. And, after all, they should have finished 8-8, which wouldn't have been bad.
Final Season Record: 7-9. How bad did they play in that last game? "We need to be slapped in the face," tight end Billy Miller told reporters in the locker room. "It was despicable. It was disgraceful." And don't forget to order your 2005 season tickets now, fans!
The Fourth Season: Mere Anarchy Is Loosed Upon the World
By now, you might be noticing a pattern when it comes to off-season moves by the Texans — they tend to make bad ones. All that changed before the 2005 season, though: The team decided to make a terrible one.
Needing help just about everywhere, GM Charley Casserly decided to trade a second- and third-round pick in the upcoming draft for Phillip Buchanon, a DB from the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders had absolutely wowed everyone in the league with their secondary work on their way to a 5-11 record the previous year, Casserly analyzed, so he outbid whatever other teams were throwing draft picks at Oakland for Buchanon. (Answer: none.) Buchanon went on to have an impressive career of sucking as a Texan.
Still, by the time the new season started, bitter memories of the Cleveland Browns debacle had faded. After almost reaching the .500 point the season before, fans were happily confident that the fourth year would be the team's breakout season.
Things didn't quite work out as planned.
Season Highlight: They took their revenge for that Browns debacle by beating Cleveland in Reliant! Unfortunately, the Texans were 0-6 at that point.
On the plus side, they fired their offensive coordinator a mere two games into the season after managing just seven points each week. This proved conclusively that, despite all evidence to the contrary, the Texans actually had employed an offensive coordinator up to this point.
Season Lowlight: The Tennessee Titans, the former Oilers, won only four games this year; two of those victories came against the Texans. In one of them, David Carr — yes, he was still playing — had his longest pass completion of the game go for 16 yards. We forget the play, but we're guessing it was a two-yard down-and-out in which the receiver broke a tackle and added 14 yards.
Inexplicable Moment Which Summed Up the Texans' Futility: The team, 1-12 at the time, beat the equally hapless Arizona Cardinals amidst criticism it was intentionally losing games in order to get the first draft pick. Andre Johnson gave an inspirational quote for the ages after the contest, telling reporters, "If we were really trying to lose, why did we win this one?" Experts could offer no answer.
Trend Which Cruelly Gave Hope for the Future: The Texans played the terrible 49ers in the last game of the season in the "Bush Bowl": whoever lost would get the No. 1 draft pick, which obviously would be used to take electric USC running back Reggie Bush. The Texans did their part by losing; Andre Johnson offered no inspiring quotes this time.
Final Season Record: 2-14. Rock-bottom. And remember, this was a season that began with hopes of the playoffs. Lord knows what it would have been like if they were expected to stink. We're talking 1-15, maybe.
The Fifth Season: A Savior Cometh, Although Not That You'd Noticeth
Let the world go forth: No one goes 2-14 on Bob McNair and keeps their job. Dom Capers was gone, taking with him his game plans that were designed to produce a lot of wins with scores like 13-7. Gone was Charley Casserly, much to the dismay of the Tony Bosellis and Dave Ragones and Phillip Buchanons of the world. In came new head coach Gary Kubiak, a Houstonian who had actually been an offensive coordinator.