Sean Pendergast

Houston Texans: The Five Worst Losses of the Bill O'Brien Era

Shocking. Disgraceful. Deplorable. Dreadful. These are all adjectives that Ive seen describing the Texans' 20-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday afternoon. There are even those out there contending that the loss, which occurred at the hands of a Titans team missing its four most important offensive players, is the worst of the Bill O'Brien Era.

Now, I have done the postgame radio show for every single Bill O'Brien-coached game in Texans' history, except for one (Week 2, 2015, I was emceeing the one man show of my friend Jim Ross at Warehouse Live, a promise I'd made before I began working at SportsRadio 610), so with all due respect to those making their bombastic declarations of a nadir for the O'Brien Era, nobody is better qualified to make this assessment than I am.

I've taken all the phone calls, read all of the texts and tweets, and sat up until two in the morning after prime time games playing wet nurse to the fourth largest city in the world for over four years now. So, without further ado, here are the five worst losses of the Bill O'Brien portion of Texans history, with a few honorable mentions to start off:

DISHONORABLE MENTIONS (in chronological order)

COWBOYS 20, TEXANS 17 (OT) (Week 5, 2014)
The first taste of O'Brien's "too cute for his own good" play calling, when he dialed up a pass play on 3rd and 2 at the Dallas 48 yard line in overtime after Arian Foster busted out 24 yard and 6 yard runs just two plays before.  The pass fell incomplete, and four minutes later, the Cowboys closed out the game on a Dan Bailey field goal.

STEELERS 30, TEXANS 23 (Week 7, 2014)
The Texans were well in control of this Monday night affair, until the Steelers somehow scored 24 points in the final 3:08 of the first half to go into the locker room ahead 24-13. (And by "somehow" I mean the Texans turned the ball over TWICE in the final two minutes of the half.) That this somehow doesn't crack the top five says all you need to know about some of the heartbreak we've endured.

CHIEFS 27, TEXANS 20 (Week 1, 2015)
This was the game where Brian Hoyer threw a pick on the first offensive play of the season. Ryan Mallett would come in and lead an empty comeback to one of the more deceptive final scores in team history.

FALCONS 48, TEXANS 21 (Week 4, 2015)
It was tough choosing between this game and the Dolphins game three weeks later, as the two were so similar. I'll give you my reasons why I chose the Dolphins game, but in this one, just know that the Texans fell behind 42-0 before maximizing garbage time in the fourth quarter. (I'll always remember this game as the post game show where I had my first real tirade as the host. I destroyed everybody on the team, while sitting across the table from former Texan and postgame cohost Chris Myers, who was actually on the Texans the year before and teammates with most of the guys I'd just verbally murdered. Myers looked at me like he was ready to call 9-1-1. I miss you, Chris Myers.)

JAGUARS 29, TEXANS 7 (Week 1, 2017)
Like the Chiefs game in 2015, the starting quarterback didn't make it out of the first game before being yanked from the 2017 season opener. Coming into this game, the city was needing a rallying point following Hurricane Harvey. The highlight of the game was J.J. Watt running out of the tunnel with a Texas state flag. After that, it was all downhill.

Ok, here are my top five....

5. DOLPHINS 44, TEXANS 26 (Week 7, 2015)
Three weeks after falling behind 42-0 to the Falcons, the Texans fell behind 41-0 to a bad Miami team being coached by some interim nut job. Ryan Mallett, who'd lost the starting job back to Brian Hoyer (what an awful time in team history), missed the flight to the game, and Arian Foster's Texans career ended on a ruptured Achilles in the fourth quarter of a game he never should have been in.

4. COLTS 33, TEXANS 28 (Week 6, 2014)
One thing the 2014 Texans were really good at — giving up points in bunches. One week before giving up 24 points in three minutes to the Steelers, the Texans rewarded a Thursday night national TV audience by giving up 24 points in the first quarter to the visiting Colts. Included in there was a Colts onside kick, a rushing touchdown by Trent Richardson, and two Andrew Luck touchdown passes. The Texans made a second half comeback that fell short when Ryan Fitzpatrick fumbled on a sack with under two minutes to go on what could have been the go-ahead drive. Poor Fitzy.

3. PATRIOTS 27, TEXANS 0 (Week 3, 2016)
This was the Thursday night game where the Patriots were missing Tom Brady (suspended) and Jimmy Garoppolo (injured), so they started Jacoby Brissett, a third string rookie. Unfortunately, the Texans started Brock Osweiler, who miraculously (and unfortunately) was an iron man, immune to injury.

2. CHIEFS 30, TEXANS 0 (Wild Card Round, 2015)
In Bill O'Brien's playoff debut, the first play of the game was a Knile Davis kickoff return for a touchdown, Brian Hoyer turned the ball over five times, and J.J. Watt was used as a running back on a goal line play (running behind Vince Wilfork!) while nursing a groin injury that would, later that afternoon, tear completely and begin a vicious cycle of Watt ending seasons with debilitating injuries for three straight years.

1. TITANS 20, TEXANS 17 (Week 2, 2018)
Well, it turns out that everyone saying Sunday's was the worst loss in team history was correct. At least in all of these other games, the Texans were an underdog (or a PICK EM in New England in 2016). The Texans were a four-point favorite in this game. An utter disgrace.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at and like him on Facebook at
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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast