Tuesday Morning Quarterbacking: Close Call for Texans, Almost Total Collapse for Cowboys

I don’t know about you, but I had visions of the collapse against the Indianapolis Colts dancing through my head Sunday afternoon as the Texans held on to defeat the Detroit Lions. The Texans jolted out of the gate, taking a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter. The team scored on its first three possessions – all relatively long drives – and the Lions didn’t seem to have a clue as to how to stop them.

But with about four minutes left in the game, the Lions kicked a field goal to make the score 28-21. And there the Texans were, choking away a game that they should have won easily. Only this loss wasn’t going to be the Colts, it was going to be against the Lions, one of the worst teams in the NFL.

The Texans held on for the win. But they shouldn’t have had to hold on.

The Lions had one legit playmaker on the offensive side of the ball, wide receiver Calvin Johnson. And for some reason, the Texans thought it was a bright idea to put DeMarcus Faggins on him, and after struggling to find Johnson for most of the game, Lions QB Dan Orlovsky finally found him in the fourth quarter on a 96-yard pass play.

How did it happen? Well, Kubiak says it’s his fault: “It all comes back to coaching, you know, and that’s me. I’ve got to find a way to get those four or five plays out of this football team. And if I can, and I will, OK. This team is capable of beating anybody. It’s a maturing process, and we’ve just got to keep finding a way to get that done.”

But this is the same thing I’ve been hearing from Kubiak since he took the job. That it’s his fault. That it’s a maturing process. Dude, you’re into year number three on this job. You’ve got to start maturing at some point. You’ve got to stop making the same stupid decisions from game to game to game.

You know. Decisions like playing DeMarcus Faggins straight up on Calvin Johnson. But that’s “not his fault, that’s our fault as coaches,” Kubiak says. “It’s our fault as coaches to not get the player to not do his job in that situation. We’ll get him right and we’ve got to clean that up.”

We can blame the mediocre defense on the players all we want. But ultimately, it comes down to the coaches. The coaches are supposed to put the players in the best position to execute properly. And week after week, the Texans coaches fail to do this.

Sure, the Texans got the win. You can make mistakes and beat crappy teams like the Lions. The next opponent is the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals are another really bad team. But unlike the Lions, they’ve got more than one legit player on offense, and they’re all receivers. Let’s see if the Texans coaches can find a way to put their players in the best position to do their jobs and win the game.

SOME MISCELLANEOUS NFL NOTES:

It is disaster time up the interstate as the Cowboys were blown out 34-14 by the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. Roy Williams (the defensive back, not the receiver) is out for the season. Tony Romo has the hurt pinkie – which Brett Favre tried to get him to play through. Terrell Owens only had two catches. Jerry Jones tore into the team after the game.

The blow-up is coming. And it should be fun to watch.

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Speaking of Brett Favre and the Detroit Lions…the latest news is that prior to a Lions/Packers game last month, Brett Favre called the Lions coaching staff and debriefed them for over an hour on the Packers signals and offensive formations – not that it helped Detroit. That’s real classy, Brett. Maybe you should spend a little less time on the phone with Tony Romo and the Lions coaches while spending a bit more time with the New York Jets playbook and preparing for Jets games. They are the ones giving you a paycheck, after all.

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Next up for the Texans are the 0-7 Cincinnati Bengals. They lost 38-10 to Pittsburgh on Sunday. Carson Palmer is out with an elbow injury, and he’s been replaced at QB by Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Bengals are 0-7 for the fifth time since 1991 – talk about futility. Yet, the Bengals have played good football in many of their games, and have stayed close. And with a receiving corps including Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, it’s possible that if Fitzpatrick can get any time to look for receivers that the Bengals will make the Texans defensive backfield look very, very bad.

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The good news, if there is any, is that the Houston Oilers Tennessee Titans are 6-0 and are the only undefeated team in the NFL. They set the franchise record on Sunday by gaining 332 rushing yards in their 34-10 defeat of the Kansas City Chiefs. LenDale White lumbered for 149 yards and three touchdowns while rookie Chris Johnson scampered for 168 yards and a touchdown.

Kerry Collins is still starting in place of Vince Young, and he seems to have discovered the perfect QB tactic for the Titans. Hand off the ball and get out of the way.

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And the ax fell in San Francisco as the word is that 49ers coach Mike Nolan has been fired.

-- John Royal

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