There are way too many Texans fans out there singing the Steel Blues. I've been keeping a finger on the pulse of the Texans' play since Week 2, saying that the Texans are better than they've been playing.
The Texans are on an upswing. They have been grinding it out for 4 straight weeks against the Titans, Jags, Colts and finally breaking through against the Dolphins. And the Dolphins were no paper bag. It took Andre Johnson's ninja skills and the waterboy giving Schaub ice water on that last drive for the Texans to turn 4 weeks of battling into a win.
So let's take a look back at history.
Take any of the highlighted words from the string of quotes and you could write most of the coverage for the Texans' 2008 season.
2007 San Diego Chargers
- The San Diego Chargers didn't look like world-beaters
- With expectations high for both teams, it was far from the marquee matchup that hyped-up fans expected
- Rivers threw to Gates into double coverage and was intercepted by Brown.
- Philip Rivers threw for just 63 yards and had two interceptions in the first half.
- Vrabel sacked Rivers for a 10-yard loss on the first play and Colvin pushed them back 10 more yards on the next play, and the Chargers had to punt.
- the Chargers (1-2) gave up the record-tying touchdown minutes later, continuing their early slide under new coach Norv Turner
- Rivers was 27-of-36 for 306 yards, with three touchdowns and a late interception....It was another bad break in what is starting to look like a disappointing season for the Chargers
- The fans have had it just four games into Norv Turner's tenure as head coach, and Sunday's shocking 30-16 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs
- After booing ineffective quarterback Philip Rivers for most of the second half, the fans amped up their anger
- Things could be spinning out of control for the defending AFC West champions, who are now last in the division, behind even Oakland
2001 New England Patriots
- The New England offense stalled for too long to start the second half, and the Patriots fell 23-17 to Cincinnati in the season opener Sunday
- They obviously gave us some trouble. We had trouble tackling Dillon
- "We had our chances there, and I thought we had them on the ropes. We just couldn't make enough plays to win in the fourth quarter. We need to be able to do that."
- Stop me if you’ve heard this before. The Patriots offense moves the ball well at times, but fails to convert touchdowns from within the red zone. The defense plays solidly for the most part, but suffers a couple of lapses that allow the opponent to march 89 yards for a tying field goal and 93 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. Then the offense gets a couple of last-ditch chances, moves within scoring range, but fails to provide the tying or winning point
- Ah mistakes, where to start. Try four turnovers – the two interceptions and a pair of Marc Edwards fumbles – all coming with the Patriots knocking on the door. Of the four turnovers, two came inside the Jets 10 and the others came at the New York 37 and 34
- The Patriots actually outgained their opponents 308-238 and even ran the ball somewhat effectively. New England rushed 26 times for 107 yards (4.1 yards per carry) and mixed the run and pass well at times. But turnovers, red zone inefficiency (0-for-3) and penalties at the most inopportune times spelled disaster.
- "We’re not a bad football team," Cox said. "We suffer a little bit from confidence problems because of what has transpired over the last couple years, but we now have guys who actually come in here and play hard
- "Just like the two preceding weeks when we talked about us not being that bad and not getting too low, we have to guard against over confidence....We did what I thought we could do."
- Neither the offense nor special teams helped the defense. Shortly after Smith’s game-tying touchdown, the normally sure-handed Troy Brown muffed a punt at his own 10, which Miami recovered. The defense did well to keep the Dolphins to a field goal, but highlights were few a far between after that.
- "We need to learn from some of the mistakes here today," Belichick said. "More importantly, I would say we need to refocus and reenergize our efforts toward a more efficient football game. We can’t be turning the ball over. We can’t have penalties that cost us a lot of field position. We can’t be giving the other team opportunities that just make it hard for us to overcome. We can’t be donors. We can’t donate stuff to our opponents. We have to make them work for it. That’s where it starts. We were too generous."
So why did I drag you through that depressing trip down memory lane? Because of how both of those stories end. Both of those teams battled the first four weeks and came out with what looked like a losing record, and yet finished the season on top. They found something within themselves that took them on 9 and 10 game winning streaks. The Texans have the same thing within them. Call it fight. Call it gumption. Call it finishing. The Texans have it. Nowhere from the kickoff in Week 2 to Schaub's game winning QB sneak have the Texans stopped fighting. And that's why I believe.
The Texans have problems. They're obvious. As the Texans give Kubiak the two big things he's asking for - Protect the Ball & Finish - all the little things will take care of themselves and they will win.
Lastly, an odd little reason to hope. Kubiak finally has his running back. It's long been a point of contention that John Elway and the Broncos didn't achieve their greatness until Terrell Davis was in the backfield. Slaton and the OL have shown that the Texans running game is gaining steam. Schaub & Co.'s job will get easier and easier as names like Brown, Pitts, Myers, Brisiel and Winston are set loose downfield mauling.
This week we're going to be bringing you interviews with Tim Bulman (who hammered Chad Pennington and made a key block on Jacoby's TD return) & Mike Brisiel (who made the block on Starks to get Schaub into the end zone) to get you fired up. Stay tuned.