In what has got to have been one of the worst match ups in the history of Thursday Night Football, an already God awful concept the NFL concocted to keep fans interested in the middle of the week, the Texans and Jaguars -- arguably the league's two worst teams (and franchises?) -- played a fairly entertaining game. In typical 2013-14 season fashion for the Texans, it ended in a loss as they fell 27-20 to Jacksonville. It was the first win for Jacksonville at home since last November and their fourth win in five games, two of which came at the expense of Houston.
The loss keeps the Texans firmly in the driver's seat for the No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft. Neither team was particularly good, but the Texans lack of discipline, which led them to 14 penalties for an astonishing 177 yards, ultimately cost them. Add to that the fact that Matt Schaub, once again, took over for Case Keenum late in the third quarter and managed one touchdown to go with a critical interception and a sack on the final play of the game and, well sir, you have the Texans season in a nutshell.
With remaining games at Indianapolis, home for Denver and at Tennessee, there is no reason to think the Texans will win again this season and every reason to believe they will have a new quarterback (and coach) to start next season.
What went right: Thursday Night Game Means No Wasted Sunday The best part of a Thursday night game is that my Sunday is not bogged down with having to watch another miserable Texans loss. I can do more fun stuff like rake the yard or punch myself repeatedly in the face.
What went wrong: Penalties When you have 14 penalties for 177 yards, something went very, very wrong. When a handful of those artificially propped up drives for the opponent and even led to scores (including unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on third down), it means your team has zero discipline.
What must improve: Anger Management In the second straight week, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on a third down cost the Texans. In this case, DJ Swearinger got a taunting penalty that sustained a drive for the Jags and led to points on the board. It was immature, stupid and, as Chronicle beat writer would so aptly put it, pathetic.
What should stay the same: Keep on Losing The only thing they have to lose is losing itself. The No. 1 pick in the draft has real value for a team that needs help all over the field. Keep in mind that the result of finishing last is drafting first in every round of the draft. Having those picks also makes them valuable trade commodities as well. What did we learn from the game? Bob McNair has no control over this team. No owner should allow a coach's team, so bereft of discipline and mired in an 11-game losing streak, to suffer through a quarterback controversy between two guys who won't even get the starting job next year. At this point, these games should be designed for one thing and one thing only: giving Case Keenum a chance to grow as a player. He won't be the long-term solution at starting QB, but there is no reason he can't be a good, serviceable backup. Putting in Schaub is simply moronic and McNair needs to put a stop to it for everyone's sake.
What do we never want to see/hear again? After watching this game, I feel like my dreams will be haunted with yellow flags floating through the air. I mean, I like my TV, but I had to continually adjust the contrast with the penalty flags flying around and blinding me with their bright color.
Key Moment of the Game I'd call the INT late in the fourth quarter here, but nothing beats what led up to it. In the third quarter, Matt Schaub entered the game and drove the team down the field for a touchdown. It was completely worthless and did nothing to help the team in the short or long term. Gary Kubiak will explain it along with the decision to play the hurry up offense, something he claims he is not comfortable doing with Case Keenum, but it is yet another example of how disconnected the coaching staff is from where this franchise is going long term.
Game Balls: Garrett Graham Best of luck, Owen Daniels. Since the starter was lost with an injury, Graham has come in and put up numbers, none better than his 8 catches for 73 yards and a touchdown on Thursday night. He doesn't have Daniels offensive skill set, but he also doesn't count $6 million against the salary cap.
Game Balls: Andre Johnson I've become a maniac watching the Texans. I'm now that guy who cheers for Schaub to throw an interception or get sacked. My wife can't tell who or what I'm yelling at. It's sad really. But, you will never catch me rooting against this guy. With another 13 catches for 124 yards, even at his age, he is one of the all-time greats.
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Goat of the Week: DJ Swearinger The rookie safety has been very good this season since taking over for Ed Reed (remember that guy?), but he'll want to burn the tapes of Thursday night's game. He was whistled for multiple penalties, none worse than the taunting flag he drew in the second quarter that allowed the Jags sustain a drive and tack on points before halftime. Kid has got to learn some restraint.
Random thought of the week: Do I really have to watch the remaining three games? Seriously?
Next Up: at Indianapolis The Colts have not looked particularly good lately, but winning in Indy isn't exactly a pastime for this franchise no matter who is under center.