NFL fans marvel, rightfully so, at teams that are able to string together long periods -- games, seasons, coaching regimes -- of sustained success. Performing any task and achieving the desired result with no hiccups or potholes is incredibly difficult.
However, in the parity ridden world that is NFL football, it's equally remarkable (even if unintentional) when a team manages to go consecutive games or seasons with uninterrupted failure, the thinking being that even bad teams luck their way into achieving a desired result by accident once in a while.
So it is with the appropriate amount of awe (mathematically driven awe more than anything) that I give you the following statistic regarding the Texans' ignominious 0-13 streak on the road in Indianapolis to begin the franchise's history:
Based on the approximate moneylines (gamble-speak for the odds on picking the straight up winner of a game) of games between the Texans and Colts in Indianapolis from 2002 through yesterday (a 17-10 loss which, for all intents and purposes, ended the Texans' 2014 season), if a bettor opened a 13 game parlay and bet on the Colts to beat the Texans in Indianapolis every season, risking $100 initially, that bettor would've cashed a $14,277 ticket yesterday.
Yes, the odds on what the Texans have "accomplished" in losing thirteen straight times in Indianapolis to open the season is approximately 143 to 1. That is noteworthy, even if the Texans' have only been favored twice in that timeframe (2011 and 2012) and in the other eleven games have been underdogs of at least 5.5 points.
Someday, the Texans will beat the Colts in Indy. It may come when we least expect it. Once Ryan Fitzpatrick went down with a broken leg in the second quarter yesterday, nobody expected it. But there was no Christmas surprise, just another losing yuletide log to throw on the fire that is another playoff-less season in Houston.
As always, yesterday saw its share of winners and losers. Here are a few....
4. Romeo Crennel If someone said before the game that Crennel's defense would hold the Colts to 278 yards of total offense, 2 for 12 on third down conversions, and force Andrew Luck into an 18 for 34 completion rate and notch a pick six, I would've said "Hey Mr. Hypothetical, that sounds like a winning formula to me!" Crennel's crew, in particular J.J. Watt (as usual), Mike Mohamed (leading tackler and a couple passes broken up), and the entire secondary, deserve Monday off. Tackling was crisp, big plays were minimized, and for the first time in his NFL career, T.Y. Hilton (4 catches for 50 yards) was mortal. Great game plan by Crennel, and even better execution by his defense. Especially.....
3. J.J. Watt As usual, a lot of crooked numbers in his box score -- 6 tackles (5 solo), 2 sacks, 2 tackles for loss, 1 pass defended, 2 QB hits. And also as usual, at least one massive play that didn't show up in the box score, as J.J. drew a hold on tackle Anthony Costanzo on a play that would've been a deep ball, deflected pass for a touchdown to Donte Moncrief. For all the touchdowns Watt has actually scored this year, this play was equally impactful, as he kept seven Indy points off the board. The only downside to the afternoon for Watt was that the virtual elimination of his team from the postseason means he couldn't take advantage of Aaron Rodgers' worst day of the season (17-42, 185 yards, 2 INT) in the MVP race. That's a shame.
2. Andre Johnson's 2015 cap figure As big a topic as "What will the Texans do about Andre Johnson and his $16 million cap figure for 2015?" has been, I was anxious to see if the drop from DeAndre Hopkins and Andre Johnson to whoever-is-next-on-the-target-list would be as precipitous as I figured it would be. Not surprisingly, it was. These numbers area all caveated, to a degree, by Fitzpatrick's leaving the game and Savage's debut, but outside of Hopkins' 5 catches for 77 yards, the rest of the receiving/tight end corps -- Damaris Johnson, Keshawn Martin, DeVier Posey, Ryan Griffin, C.J. Fiedorowicz -- accounted for 8 catches for 80 yards, 30 of which came on one play to Posey, his only target of the day. If you're looking for a "poster position" for the precarious depth situation on this team, receiver and tight end are good places to start.
1. The Texans' 2011 defense Glover Quin had a game changing interception for the Lions on Sunday. Mario Williams had a game clinching strip for a fumble for the Bills on Aaron Rodgers. Hell, as I'm typing this, Connor Barwin just sacked Tony Romo! Life outside Houston seems to be suiting all of them just fine.
4. Texans health insurance provider If you're looking for someone to blame for the spate of Texans of injuries over the last several days, look at me. At one point on my radio show this past week, I was making the point that the Texans had been relatively fortunate on the injury front this season -- the only serious injury of an anticipated 2014 regular was the Jadeveon Clowney's knee (not to minimize that) and a few random games missing Arian Foster and Brian Cushing. But overall, health has not been a huge issue. And then literally within 48 hours Whitney Mericlus' back forces him out, Garrett Graham's injury keeps him out another week, and Andre Johnson fails the concussion protocol. Then the Fitzpatrick thing. THIS IS MY FAULT, and not even Robin Williams can tell me that it isn't...
3. Tom Savage Hell, not even Savage could escape the reach of my jinx tractor beam, as he took a pop to his lower extremities on the second to last play from scrimmage...
By the way, a lot of Texans fans were looking for a low hit personal foul on the Colts, but I think the refs got it right. The rule reads as follows:
No defensive player who has an unrestricted path to the quarterback may hit him flagrantly in the area of the knee(s) or below when approaching in any direction.
My personal take is the impact from the hit was closer to the upper thigh and Savage's knee getting dinged was more an unfortunate byproduct of how the bodies crumbled on top of him. Bad timing for Savage who, if he really turns out to be hurt, will miss out on a two game audition to close out the season.
(By the way, Savage's injury means that four of the Texans' top five 2014 draft picks either missed the game or were actually injured on Sunday. Rough game, man.)
2. This guy... Seriously, how big a fucking loser do you have to be to leave the house with a steering wheel around your neck so you can mock Cam Newton?
— Cork Gaines (@CorkGaines) December 14, 2014
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1. Johnny Manziel Well, I guess we now know why Mike Pettine waited until the absolute last possible second this season to change quarterbacks. 10-18, 80 yards, 2 interceptions, and a back breaking 30-0 loss to the Bengals to effectively end the Browns season, bringing this guy into our lives....
— Busted Coverage (@bustedcoverage) December 14, 2014
Factory of sadness, indeed.