Sean Pendergast

NFL Week 9: Dolphins 17, Texans 9 — Four Winners, Four Losers

It just isn't getting any better for the Texans and their coaching staff.
It just isn't getting any better for the Texans and their coaching staff. Photo by Eric Sauseda
It would look a lot better with Tyrod Taylor at quarterback, we told ourselves. Tyrod Taylor gave the Texans the best chance to win on Sunday, David Culley would tell us. I chose to believe all of that, the improved watchability and the improved odds of winning on Sunday in Miami against the Dolphins, and in the end, it looked all too similar, at least offensively, to the Texans' efforts the last six weeks with David Mills at quarterback.

The 1-7 Texans (now 1-8) lost Sunday to the 1-7 Miami Dolphins (now 2-7) by a final score fo 17-9. It was the fourth straight road game the Texans played without scoring a touchdown. It's been 251 minutes and 32 seconds of football clock time since the Texans scored a road touchdown, all the way back in Week 2 at Cleveland.

On Sunday, the Texans actually managed to make some degree of history, as they miraculously scored only nine points in a game where they forced five turnovers:

It's going from bad to worse for the Texans, and about the only good thing going on right now is they don't have to play football next week. Let's get to winners and losers from yesterday's loss....


WINNERS

4. Maliek Collins
I feel the need to recognize the Texans defense in some way, shape, or form, so I'll choose the one player who had both a sack (well, half a sack) and an interception, and that would be defensive tackle Maliek Collins. Collins has had a decent season on his one year deal he signed back in March. he continually shows up pressuring opposing passers from the interior, and has been very solid in run defense. I think the highest compliment I can pay Collins is that he is one of the few veterans here on a one year deal that I would welcome bringing back in 2022 on a multi year deal. He's been very solid.

3. Mike Gesickt, acrobat
Even Texan fans had to appreciate these catches by Mike Gesicki. WOW.

2. This 6 year old kid, who is DEFINITELY better than Phillip Lindsay and David Johnson
This was my favorite video of the weekend....

1. The Texans' offense, evidently, according to David Culley
If you're looking for the David Culley Era summed up in one second hand report by a sideline reporter, well, here was Sunday's sideline reporter for FOX, Jen Hale:
Yes, you heard that right — if the Texans just weren't turning the ball over, David Culley would have been TOTALLY cool with a half of football in which his team scored six points against one of the bottom feeding defenses in all the NFL. I swear, there are times when I think that Culley believes the actual scoreboard is determined directly by turnover margin, not points. He is so overwhelmed, so under qualified, and it's directly affecting the team's ability to win games. So he is under the "winner" category here sarcastically and ironically, and yes, I know he belongs......

LOSERS


4.  David Culley, game manager
..... down here!

With the Texans being on the wrong end of blowouts the last few weeks, any poor decisions made bY David Culley in managing these games probably were largely unnoticed, because the decisions ultimately carried no consequences. With this game being a tussle between two 1-7 teams, with a 5.5 point spread, chances were Culley would be asked to make choices that affect the outcome of the game. Sure enough, there was a stretch in the second half where "David Culley, donkey-level game manager" was on display. First, he used a timeout late in the third quarter to avoid a delay of game penalty on a 3rd and 13 from his own four yard line. He basically burned a crucial timeout to save two yards on a 3rd and long play. Then, at the end of the same drive, early in the fourth quarter, On 4th and goal from the Miami two yard line, down 11, Culley chose to kick a field goal. Yes, for a team that hasn't been in a goal to go situation in like a month, he thought "No problem, we will be right back here next drive! GIMME THREE POINTS, BABY!" Woof.

3. Odell Beckham, Jr.
I suppose whether or not Beckham is a winner or loser is in the eye of the beholder. Beckham's inner circle are probably stoked that the Browns cut him loose late last week, allowing him to enter the waiver wire, and go play somewhere else. Given how Beckham forced his way out of Cleveland, by having his father post a video of all the times Baker Mayfield "ignored him while he was wide open," I'll go with loser. For the record, here is the odds board on which team will pick up Beckham and add him to their squad, courtesy of PointsBet:

Raiders +300
Saints +450
Patriots +450
Ravens +550
Bills +700
Niners +1200
Packers +1200
Seahawks +1200
Titans +1400
Colts +1600
Eagles +1600
Vikings +2000
Rams +2200
Panthers +2200
Of the teams with longer odds, I kind of like the 49ers at +1200, or the Colts at +1600. Those are teams with playoff aspirations, who are a little desperate right now.

2. Bill O'Brien, crusher of Alabama souls
Bill O'Brien is the offensive coordinator for the Alabama Crimson Tide this season, which on paper, should look like a pretty good gig, with Alabama currently number two in the nation in the College Football Playoff rankings. The problems are that (a) expectations in Alabama are really high, so it's not just about wining, it's about THUMPING your opponent, and (b) O'Brien's offense is the reason they lost to A&M a couple weeks ago and barely beat LSU on Saturday. So here is how it's going for O'Brien right now, in case you're wondering....
Good times!

1. Tyrod Taylor, supreme protector of balls
Taylor was supposed to give the Texans a better chance to win, in no small part, because of his ability to protect the football. Well, Tyrod Taylor threw three interceptions. He did the opposite of what Culley forecasted. He was a HUGE reason the Texans LOST the game. This interception was particularly mind numbing....
I think we all could use a bye week, honestly.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.
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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