“You and me we’re goin’ nowhere slowly And we’ve gotta get away from the past There’s nothin’ wrong with goin’ nowhere, baby But we should be goin’ nowhere fast.”
-- Ellen Aim, “Nowhere Fast”
Admit it. You were sitting watching the Texans game, and you saw that 27-10 lead over the Colts with 8:08 to go, and you just knew, JUST KNEW, that the Texans were going to find a way to lose that damn game.
And lose they did.
How many times coming into a football season have we been told that this particular Houston Texans football team is different than the last version? Better? That the Texans have learned the lessons of the past? That the team has matured? That it won’t be making stupid mistakes?
And how often has this been true?
With 8:18 left in the fourth quarter, with Steve Slaton having just scored his second touchdown of the day, the Texans were up by 17 points. The Colts looked demoralized. They looked confused. They were a team that was having trouble figuring out the Texans' defense. A team that was having trouble stopping the Texans' offense.
But then Peyton Manning remembered that he was Peyton Manning.
Four minutes later, Manning threw for a TD to make the score 27-17. The Texans still had a ten point lead, and the ball, with 4:04 left on the clock. And because the Colts went for the onside kick, the Texans had the ball in great position. But then Sage Rosenfels fumbled on the Colts' 32 yard line. And that wouldn’t have been that big of deal. Wouldn’t have been but for the Colts’ Gary Brackett scooping up the ball and rumbling 62 yards for the touchdown.
Still, there wasn’t a problem because the Texans had the lead, the ball, and there was 3:36 left on the clock. All that the Texans had to do was run the ball – and the Colts hadn’t been able to stop the Texans' running game all day – and get a first down, and the victory would probably be sealed. Only the Texans were stuck on third down with eight yards to go and Sage Rosenfels decided to run. And while running he was hit by the Colts. And while being hit, he fumbled the ball.
This resulted in the Colts having the ball at the Texans' 20 yard line with 2:36 on the clock. And Peyton Manning ended up throwing a touchdown, and just like that, the Colts were up 31-27, having scored 21 points in the span of 2:10.
I suppose it’s okay to be shocked by this 31-27 loss. But really, one shouldn’t be. This is the way the Texans have always been. Give them a way to get a win, and they’ll take the loss. They’ll lose in overtime after a last minute comeback. They’ll get blown out. The offense will have a great game, and the defense won’t show up. The defense will put together a good game, and the offense will take the day off.
I’m sure we’ll hear the standard excuses for the loss from Gary Kubiak. He’ll stand up and take the blame in some fashion for the loss. The players will express their disgust and disappointment. But in the end, it’s just more of the same thing that the Texans have been giving the fans since 2002.
Just as Ellen Aim sang, there’s nothing wrong with going nowhere slowly, but wouldn’t it be better if they were going nowhere fast. Then at least things might be a little different. And I’d really like different over what the Texans give us every week.
SOME MISCELLANEOUS NOTES:
Here’s something strange. The Texans version of Kaz Matsui, Ahman Green, was not only able to play against the Colts, but made it through the game without injury. Matt Schaub, however, was unable to play after spending Saturday night in the hospital because of an intestinal illness. I wonder if that intestinal illness had anything to do with Schaub knowing that Dwight Freeney was going to be gunning for him.
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I swear, David Carr wasn’t the world’s greatest QB, but I don’t remember Carr taking a game off because of an intestinal illness. However, after the way Sage Rosenfels choked up the game, I don’t think Schaub has to worry about losing his starting job.
For the most part, the offense seemed to click with Rosenfels at QB unlike it has clicked all season. Andre Johnson was getting the ball. Rosenfels seemed to possess a certain confidence in his abilities that Schaub has been lacking. Then came those disastrous last four minutes in which, on three straight possessions, Schaub fumbled twice then threw an interception.
***************** I continue to be impressed by Steve Slaton. The guy seems to have easily picked up the blocking schemes, and he’s good running and catching the football. Is Ahman Green even necessary for this team anymore? I really thought this in the second quarter when the Texans tried a bit of a trick play down in Colts territory. With Rosenfels in the shotgun, the Texans instead snapped the ball to Ahman Green. And with a massive hole, Green slipped and barely made it to the line of scrimmage. Slaton would’ve easily turned that into a big gain.
-- John Royal