Four losses in a row. To Indianapolis. To Tennessee. To Indianapolis. And yesterday afternoon, to Jacksonville. From a 5-3 start and talk of playoff contention to a 5-7 record and virtual elimination from relevance. Your Houston Texans finish their 2009 campaign with a 1-5 record in the AFC South. That's failure.
On to the details of the latest crime against the Texans fan base:
1. The single good thing to come out of yesterday's disaster was Matt Schaub refusing to let a little thing like a dislocated shoulder keep him out of the game. Had Brett Favre been the guy who was driven into the ground, we'd be treated to a full week of praise for Favre about his grit, toughness, commitment to his teammates, excellence, and leadership. Since it's Schaub, it won't merit much talk outside of Houston and/or fantasy owners. Thus, allow me to pick up the slack on this one.
After Schaub went down on the first play from scrimmage, I never thought for a second he'd be back and was resigning myself to the remainder of the 2009 season playing out with Rex Grossman under center, followed by a stint in rehab for me come January. But then...with about seven minutes left in the first half, there was Schaub, warming up on the sideline. I couldn't believe it. From the second he went down, judging from the way he went down and then the way he was holding his arm as he left the field, I thought Schaub separated his shoulder. Remember--Schaub missed the last few weeks of the 2007 season with an identical injury. Not this time. Schaub re-entered the game and very nearly brought the Texans back. It showed a resolve we hadn't ever seen from him, and it should put to rest any questions about his resilience. If Schaub can play, he will play. People can criticize him, but not for being soft. The guy's a gamer.
2. Good thing that Schaub's a gamer, too, because Rex Grossman looked awful. I don't even want to talk about it anymore.
3. Once again, Ryan Moats shows a burst that we haven't seen from a running back all year long. And once again, I'm sure he'll be banished to the bottom of the depth chart for reasons that elude me. Can anyone explain why Moats doesn't get more carries? Anyone?
4. Of all the things that puzzled/enraged me about yesterday's game, the most puzzling/infuriating was Chris Brown being in the game on the very next series after he tried to shot-put the ball in Joel Dreessen's general direction. How is it that Kubes can bench Steve Slaton and/or Ryan Moats for turning the ball over but not apply the same zero tolerance policy on C. Brown?
5. I appreciate those of you who think the halfback pass was a good call at the time. I vehemently disagree, and I think it's just the latest example of Kyle Shanahan and/or Gary Kubiak trying to get cute. Just as I had no clue why the Texans called a pass on third down at the IND 15 with slightly more than a minute to go in the first half last week, I'll never understand why the Texans would ask Chris Brown to make that play at that point in the game. It was a truly awful decision, trumped only by even more awful execution.
6. Although he coughed one ball up that turned into an interception, I continue to be impressed by David Anderson. Seems like he very quietly is good for a big third down conversion every week.
8. I never had anything against Chris White. Until yesterday. His false start, late in the third quarter, as the Texans prepared to go for it on 4th and 2 from the JAC 9, was as back-breaking a penalty as I've seen in some time.
9. I mentioned this a few weeks back in the PGB, and I'll reiterate it now: Is anyone else amazed at how no one has taken Alex Gibbs to task this season for the performance of the offensive line? They haven't been able to run block all year, and false starts seem to occur at an alarming rate, especially during this four-game swoon.
10. Why does Frank Bush EVER put the Texans into a zone? It never works. Ever. It's the schematic equivalent of raising a white flag.
11. Judging from the way Gus Johnson was lavishing praise on Dunta Robinson, I'm firmly of the belief that (1) Gus is on Dunta's payroll and/or (2) Gus hasn't watched the Texans play at all this year. The latter possibility is particularly troubling, considering that Gus Johnson and Steve Tasker have called several Texans games this year.
12. Theory: There is not a single member of the Texans secondary who would start for a playoff team except perhaps Bernard Pollard. Agree or disagree?
13. There aren't a whole lot more depressing things as a fan than to watch your defense get gashed via the run when everyone watching knows exactly what's coming, who's getting the ball, and a stop is absolutely crucial to avoid losing the game. It's demoralizing to watch. I can't even imagine what it has to be like for DeMeco Ryans & Co. The odd part is that the Texans did a fine job keeping Maurice Jones-Drew in check all the way up until that last drive. When they absolutely needed it the most, they couldn't do it.
14. Even though the Texans managed to sack David Garrard on four (4) occasions, I never really felt like they got to him. Just like last time, Garrard made the plays when he needed to, regardless of what the numbers say.
15. The Jaguars did everything they possibly could to give this game to the Texans, and the Texans refused to do anything about it. This was the sloppiest game I've seen two teams play in a good long while.
16. The calls for Kubiak's head are getting louder and louder. Not coincidentally, each loss and absurd playcall makes defending him harder and harder. JMay wrote a great FanPost on the topic, and I'll be writing a longer piece myself in the coming days on the subject. For now, I'll leave you with this thought...if you can't get a proven Super Bowl winning coach, are you content with replacing Kubes with someone who has no head coaching experience?
The Seahawks are next on the schedule. Here's hoping that Reliant doesn't look like Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on Sunday.Texans vs Jaguars coverage