Colts 25, Texans 3: The Long, Painful Road Home
The Texans have never won in Indianapolis. Never. On Sunday, the status quo was thoroughly maintained with a 25-3 loss at the hands of the lackluster Colts. The Colts hadn't scored a first half touchdown in like 10 games (probably more like three, but that last sentence fragment may be the most dramatic thing related to Sunday's game, so let's go with it), but they got two against the lowly Texans, a little over a week after the firing of head coach Gary Kubiak.
Owner Bob McNair reportedly told the team he had no interest in the first pick in the 2014 draft and, instead, wanted a win in Indy and two more to follow. What he got was nearly as poor an effort as the Thursday night game that finally cost Kubiak (and special teams coach Joe Marciano) his job. In that game, the Texans had 14 penalties for 177 yards. Given those hideous numbers, the Texans showed improvement this week notching the same number of penalties, but this time for only 114 yards. At this point, you claw for any positive possible.
Speaking of good news, with wins by Minnesota, Atlanta and Cleveland, only Washington remains a threat to the No. 1 pick in the draft that McNair doesn't want. If the Texans were to end up tied with Washington in number of losses, it is likely the Redskins would wind up with the first pick based on strength of schedule, but given the pitiful performance by the Texans on Sunday, it is hard to imagine their losing streak will end before the season closes.
What went right: The game was conducive to napping. Seriously, the Texans were out of it by the half and certainly by the midway point of the third quarter, which left plenty of time for napping on the sofa or, if you are like me, cleaning out the garage. Anything was preferable to watching that dreck.
What went wrong: Penalties...again When the coach is fired because the team is completely undisciplined, it doesn't say much of the interim that the team looked just as bad. With a slew of pre-snap penalties, both sides of the ball -- and special teams -- looked disinterested and un-focused. It is hard to believe the team hasn't packed it in already.
What must improve: All of it. This is the second time this year I've suggested everything must improve, but after Sunday's wretched performance, I've concluded it's simply the truth. Andre Johsnon was dropping passes it was so bad. The offseason can't come quickly enough.
What should stay the same: Keep on Losing Second verse, same as the first. I'm not a fan of the Texans having the first pick because of what it means for the season and the franchise, but better to be in the driver's seat come draft day than have to wait to see what team's ahead of you decide to do. What did we learn from the game? No matter who coaches this team this year, it won't matter. The culture of this franchise must change and simply replacing Kubiak with Wade Phillips is not going to do it. Frankly, Rick Smith is lucky -- and maybe we as fans aren't -- to be keeping his job. The entire franchise needs a fresh start and cleaning house might be the best way to make it happen.
What do we never want to see/hear again? Hearing Solomon Wilcox talk about how Case Keenum might not be the guy for the Texans moving forward would be interesting if it weren't so obvious. Maybe the country -- whatever tens of people were watching outside Houston and Indy -- hasn't figured out the Matt Schaub is no longer the QB in Houston, but it sure sucks having to be reminded that he's out and his back up sucks too.
Key Moment of the Game When the Texans won the coin flip in the first half, they chose to defer to the Colts. On the radio broadcast, play-by-play announcer Marc Vandermeer and color commentator Andre Ware both mentioned how Kubiak always wanted the ball and this was just another way Phillips was trying to shake things up. Then the game started and, well, it looked like the same Texans. Perhaps if they had chosen to receive, they still would have been trounced, but they'd have had the chance to get the process started slightly later in the afternoon.
Game Balls: Ryan Griffin Look, no one was good, but it was refreshing to see a new face making plays. If the Texans have a knack for anything, it's plucking tight end talent out of the draft. With Owen Daniels still on IR and Garrett Graham out with an injury, Griffin got the start and produced, leading the team in catches.
Goats of the Week: Case Keenum Many people thought Keenum could be the starter for this team, but he has yet to get a win and his numbers, with only a couple exceptions, have been bad. On Sunday, he was 18-34 with two interceptions and no TDs. He was consistently confused in the pocket and doesn't seem to have the presence to move when pressured, giving up a safety at one point in the game. He will likely be a solid back up, but he's no starter.
Goats of the Week: Ben Tate Tate, who has not exactly ingratiated himself with fans this year, and is in a contract season, has continued to have serious ups and downs. Despite being the feature back since Arian Foster went down, he has been mediocre. His 72 yards and two fumbles on Sunday were more evidence of the same.
Random thought of the week: Only two more games...yipee!
Next Up: vs Denver Anyone hoping the Broncos might be resting guys the last two games of the season should think again. Denver is playing for a division title and will need to win in Houston. If the line is less than 20 points, you should absolutely take the Colts. I could envision one of the worst losses in franchise history at Reliant next week.
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