I researched every Texans loss in their short history, and I've listed and detailed all of the heartbreakers. I think we'd all benefit from this getting pinned by rec's -- who doesn't love rehashing futility?
October 19, 2003 Jets 19, Texans 14
The Texans led the New York Jets 14-0 at the two-minute warning in the first half, thanks to two touchdown runs by Stacey Mack. Vinny Testaverde hit Santana Moss from 18 yards out for a TD to get within 7 at the half.
At the two-minute warning in the second half, the Texans were still holding on to a 14-13 lead. With 1:26 left, LaMont Jordan rumbled 8 yards for the game-winning touchdown.
FAIL SCALE: 6/10 -- young franchise, outgained the Jets by 29 yards, no turnovers and only allowed two sacks
October 26, 2003 Colts 30, Texans 21
The Texans allowed only a late field goal in the first quarter, and led the Colts 14-3 nearing the warning in the second quarter. Manning hit Marcus Pollard right at the two-minute warning for a one-yard TD, and Domanick Davis fumbled on the Texans next possession. Manning then hit Reggie Wayne for a two-yard TD before the half to take a 17-14 lead. They never looked back
FAIL SCALE: 6/10 David Carr (8/9, 88 yards) got hurt early in the second quarter, Tony Banks went 12/17 with 1 INT in his stead; in the end, it was Peyton being Peyton and the Texans being the Texans -- an inauspicious combo now nine years running
November 23, 2003 Patriots 23, Texans 20 (OT)
Coming off a Super Bowl year (and on their way to another), the Patriots came to Houston at 8-2 and on a six-game winning streak. The Texans were coming off three straight nailbiters (14-10, 27-34, 12-10), so looking back it's not as surprising that the Texans kept this close.
Houston led 3-0, trailed 10-3, tied 10-10 at the half. They went down 13-10, but took a 20-13 lead with three minutes left. That was too much time for Brady & Company.
With 48 seconds to go, Brady hit Daniel Graham for the game-tying touchdown, and the game went to overtime. DEEP into overtime.
The Patriots set themselves up for a 30-yard field goal three minutes into the extra 15, but Houston blocked the attempt (Vinatieri's second miss of the game) and hope was alive for the Texans' FIRST EVER WINNING STREAK! Houston couldn't score though, and after some back-and-forth, the most clutch kicker in history came through with the game winner with 1:40 left.
FAIL SCALE: 8/10 The Texans were outgained 472-169 but won the turnover battle 3-2, forcing two picks. They also sacked Brady four times, while Banks went down only three. The fact that Viniateri gave them a chance and they blew it against the Super Bowl Champs just hurt so bad.
December 21, 2003 Titans 27, Texans 24
I don't even want to relive this. There are too many that hurt to the Titans. I'll just sum it up quickly:
Houston trailed 20-17 for most of the fourth quarter, but they scored the go-ahead touchdown with 1:53 left to go up 24-20. Then Steve "Air" McNair found Drew Bennett for 23 yards with 24 seconds left to steal the road victory. This was the first "modern loss," as I'll call them.
FAIL SCALE: 9/10 You have to finish against division opponents. Period.
December 28, 2003 Colts 20, Texans 17
The Texans led 17-3 entering the fourth quarter, but gave up 17 in the final stanza including a Mike Vanderjagt 43-yarder as time expired to lose another game to a divisional opponent.
FAIL SCALE: 9/10 Again they got outgained by more than double (418-204) and won the turnover battle (2-1) but couldn't beat an elite team because they SUCK BALLS.
October 10, 2004 Vikings 34, Texans 38 (OT)
I remember watching this game while I was an Astros playoff game. The 'Stros were busy getting their first postseason series win against the Atlanta Braves.
The Texans got down 21-0 in the first 20 minutes of the game. David Carr caught fire midway through the second quarter though and led the Texans to a 28-7 run, which culminated in a 22-yard touchdown strike to Andre Johnson with two minutes left in regulation to tie it.
It's bad enough to lose in overtime, but that happens. It's worse when you came back from a 21-point deficit. It's worst of all when you stop the other team on their first drive, go three-and-out, and then give up a 50-yard walk-off from Daunte Freaking Culpepper to Marcus Robinson (who?) to lose at home. Culpepper went 36-50 for 396 yards and 5 touchdowns; there were no turnovers in the game.
FAIL SCALE: 7/10 The second ever "modern loss." A real heart-breaker that would have put the Texans at 3-2 for the first time ever. (They went on to win their next two to get to 4-2 before losing five of six.)
November 22, 2004 Packers 16, Texans 13
Sit children and I'll tell you a tale of when Brett Fav-ruh was a Cheesehead.
The Texans scored 13 points in the second quarter led 13-3 into the fourth. Their lead deteriorated throughout the final 15 on a 24-yard TD pass to Donald Driver, and a 39-yard field goal from Ryan Longwell tied the game with 8:11. The Texans couldn't respond at home, and Longwell kicked the 46-yard clincher with four seconds left.
FAIL SCALE: 6/10 Yeah you blew a 10-point lead at home, and you failed to do jack squat in the more important half, but Favre and Longwell were really good at the time.
January 2, 2005 Cleveland 22, Texans 14
Heavily favored at home and playing for their first .500 record in the final week of the season -- surprise, surprise, surprise -- the Texans choked. Even though the Texans never led after going down 9-7 late in the first half, it was such an inexcusable loss that Dom Capers' departure was imminent -- if not soon forthcoming.
FAIL SCALE: 5/10 The truth is, bad teams lose. The worst part about it was it set up the Texans' fans to be blindsided by the next year's 2-14 record.
November 7, 2005 Jaguars 21, Texans 14
The great thing about 2005 is that very few of the team's 14 losses were close. This was one they should have won.
The Texans led 14-7 going into the fourth quarter, but Byron Leftwich (who never amounted to more than his broken leg at Marshall) went 11/11 for 162 yards and a TD in the second half. The Jaguars at this point were the Texans' biggest rivals because of on-field fights and the cellar-dweller nitch in the AFC South.
Leftwich and Greg Jones ran for touchdowns in the fourth quarter, the latter of whose came with 3:07 and put the Jaguars ahead by the final margin. The Texans lost the ball on downs at the Jaguars 42 on the ensuing possession and that was that.
November 27, 2005 Rams 33, Texans 27 (OT)
Another home overtime loss. Houston looked like a real team in the first half, jumping out to a 24-3 lead behind three David Carr TD passes (Andre Johnson, Domanick Davis, Corey Bradford).
With seven minutes to go and Houston leading 24-10, St. Louis scored their second touchdown of the half to get with 7, but Houston struck back with what appeared to be a game-clinching field goal with 2:59 remaining.
Wellll poop, that didn't take long. Hall of Famer Isaac Bruce got behind the defense and hauled in a 43-yard fourth down bomb from Ryan Fitzpatrick to get within a field goal with 34 seconds left.
Guess which team didn't recover the following onside kick? I'll give you a hint: It starts with, "H," and ends with, "ouston Texans." With 30 seconds and no timeouts left, Fitzpatrick hit Torry Holt for 19 yards to set up the game-tying field goal with nine seconds left.
Enter overtime: On 3rd and 5 at the St. Louis 47, David Carr was sacked (SHOCKER!) and Chad Stanley punted it through the endzone. A holding penalty set up the Rams to start from their own 10, and six plays later Fitz hit Kevin Curtis streaking past the Texans secondary for the 56-yard walk-off.
FAIL SCALE: 9/10 Moral of the story: Never underestimate Ryan Fitzpatrick in crunch time. (srsly txns?)
December 4, 2005 Ravens 16, Texans 15
You can all see how this ends.
Boller led the Ravens from their own 13 yard line to the Texans' 21 (66 yards in 40 seconds). Matt Stover booted the winner with 20 seconds left.
Pun intended: The kicker in all of that? The Texans settled for a field goal down four with under four minutes left. Dumb move, right? Not after all -- the Texans forced a three-and-out and got a good punt return to set up Kris Brown with a 39-yarder. He hit it, and the Texans led an 3-8 team 15-to-13. The Ravens to that point in the game had only 172 yards of offense, but magically found life against that good ol' Texans D.
FAIL SCALE: 7/10 Up, down, down, up, dooown
December 11, 2005 Titans 13, Texans 10
The beginning of the AP wrap on this one: "The Houston Texans aren’t sure how many more ways they can find to lose games at the end."
Little did we stinkin' know.
So how'd they blow this one? By taking a 10-3 lead into halftime and not scoring in the second half. They didn't allow much in the second half on D -- Adam "Pacman" Jones returned a short punt 52 yards to tie the game late in the third quarter, and Rob Bironas (we'll get to the eight field goal game later) nailed the winner with 15 seconds left.
I remember this game mostly for two reasons: (1) I thought the Texans were going to blow their #1 draft ranking by winning; and (2) Kris Brown kicked a 31-yard field goal attempt through the side of the endzone.
Let me restate that: A field goal try from the 21 yard line went through the side of the endzone. It wasn't particularly windy. It was absolutely the worst kick attempt in the history of professional football. Brown only made 17 of 24 field goal attempts on the season, and almost all of the misses were spectacular.
FAIL SCALE: 6/10 Still can't finish against division opponents, but when you're 1-11 are you ever really surprised?
January 1, 2006 49ers 20, Texans 17
Another one where Dom Capers knew he was getting canned after the season and was trying to stick it to the franchise by winning and blowing the chance to draft
Reggie Bush Vince YoungMario Williams.
Still, as far as winning goes, if you're going to try, just to it. The Texans led 10-0 early, and 17-10 in the third before Tony Banks was picked off and Mike Adams returned it 40 yards for a touchdown. (Thanks you Mike Adams, whoever/wherever you are!)
Nobody scored in the fourth. Kris Brown missed another 31-yarder with 6:16 remaining (another godawful attempt).
Fortunately, Tony Banks was intercepted again in overtime by Ben Emanuel, who returned it for 31 yards. Joe Nedney kicked the winner two plays and six yards later to win the Reggie Bush Bowl, but ironically lose at the same time. Who'd they end up taking? Vernon Davis with the #6 pick. I think that worked out for both teams.
FAIL SCALE: 1/10 It was a bad way to lose, but it was a great game to lose. If you were rooting for the Texans, you were either a Titans, Saints, Jets, Packers or 49ers fan. INTERESTING NOTE: The top seven picks that draft: Mario Williams, Reggie Bush, Vince Young, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, A.J. Hawk, Vernon Davis and Michael Huff. There are four Pro Bowlers in there and only one real bust -- The Brickhouse, who was the presumed darkhorse #3 for the Texans behind Bush and VY.
November 19, 2006 Bills 24, Texans 21
How many ways can you lose to the Buffalo Friggin' Bills?
The Texans went down 14-0 in the first 8:25 thanks to drive-consecutive 83-yard passes from J.P. Losman to Lee Evans. That's 166 yards on two passes to one player running one route in one quarter.
Dunta Robinson intercepted J.P. Losman for a nine-yard TD return in the third quarter for a touchdown to take a 21-17 lead, which the Texans held for 21 minutes and 53 seconds. Unfortunately, the pick happened 22 minutes and 2 seconds before the clock hit 00:00.
Losman became Winman on a 15-yard connection with Peerles Price with 9 seconds to go. FREAKING BILLS!
FAIL SCALE: 8/10 You know who else is "Peerless?" The Texans, when it comes to finding ways to lose, especially at home.
December 10, 2006 Titans 26, Texans 20 (OT)
The Ron Dayne-led Texans were ahead of the Titans 14-6 late in the third quarter. They allowed Travis Henry (who?) to run for a nine-yard TD to bring the Old Oilers within 1, but Kris Brown put the Texans up 4 with a 49-yarder on the ensuing possession.
A couple series later, Henry scored again to put the Titans up with under 4 minutes remaining. If you've been following closely, you know the Texans will either tie it or not score at all -- if they got the TD, it wouldn't be on this list.
Brown makes up for his wtf-fest from the previous year with a 26-yarder to send it into overtime, but then passed-on-hometown-rookie Vince Young made the Texans look foolish on the opening drive. It's hard to imagine somebody who scored a 6 on the Wonderlic Test having the coordination to tiptoe as elegantly as VY did through the Texans line, linebackers and secondary on his way to a 39-yard walk-off win.
FAIL SCALE: 8/10 Another home overtime loss. The fact that VY was responsible made it hurt more than anything. Carr went 17/23 in the game, but only threw for 140 yards and no touchdowns.
October 21, 2007 Titans 38, Texans 36
Field goal mania!
Vince Young was on the sideline with a strained quad, but who needs touchdowns when Kerry Collins is good enough to set up up for eight gottdanged field goals?
Houston trailed, led, and trailed again. Through three quarters, it was clear that Tennessee brought their "A Game," and probably their rape face too. The score was 32-7 through the first 45! Then Sage Rosenfels came in and made himself known as the NFL's best backup loser. He through four touchdown passes in the fourth quarter (7, 6, 7, 53 yards) and converted a two-point conversion throw.
After a touchdown pass to Jeb Putzier pulled the Texans within six with 1:37 to go, Houston recovered the onside kick and the clouds appeared to start clearing. The 53-yarder came three plays later to Andre Davis streaking down the seam with 57 seconds left. The TD+1 gave the Texans 36-35 lead that they COULDN'T. POSSIBLY. BLOW.
Oh, wait a minute.
After a touchback, Collins went 2/4 with completions of 17 and 46 yards, and Lendale White rushed once for six yards to set up Rob Bironas for a potential game-winner.
In most games -- and especially after a furious, 25-point comeback -- you assume the kicker is feeling an elevated level of pressure as he lines up for The Decider. This was not most games. Everybody is the whole stupid stadium know he would make it. Not only is 29 yards a chipshot by NFL standards, but Bironas was already SEVEN-FOR-SEVEN in the game. He had already tied the record for most field goals made in one game. It was over when the snap was caught and the hold was down.
FAIL SCALE: 9/10 Titans, Bills, Titans, Bills, Titans. This was the game we all realized it wasn't bad luck -- it
wasis a curse.
September 28, 2008 Jaguars 30, Texans 27 (OT)
Guess who lost in overtime?
This might not be fair for the list since neither team ever led by more than seven points. The end was wild, though.
Houston led 24-20 at the two-minute warning (where have I heard that before?), but with 1:48 left, David Garrard scrambled up the middle for a five-yard touchdown that gave the Jags a three-point lead.
Second-year Texan Matt Schaub led his 0-3 squad 53 yards to give Kris Brown a 47-yard game-tying opportunity, and Brown capitalized.
Six plays into overtime, Josh Scobee kicked his third field goal of the game and it was over. Just like that. Again.
FAIL SCALE: 5/10 You come back, lose to a division rival, and nobody is surprised.
October 5, 2008 Colts 31, Texans 27
Down 10-0 after the 1st. 27-0 run. 17-point lead, under five minutes left. Rosencopter.
FAIL SCALE: What-do-you-friggin'-think?/10
Six of the Texans' 7 losses were by one score. This season was a doozy.
September 27, 2009 Jaguars 31, Texans 24
This wasn't a particularly egregious loss in and of itself, but it represented a new way for the Texans to stylize losing. Down 31-24 with the ball at the Jaguars 2 and two minutes remaining, RB Chris Brown fumbled the game away.
Keep an eye on that cat.
FAIL SCALE: 3/10 Even if he scores, you probably lose in overtime since the Texans, to this point, still had never won an extended game.
October 11, 2009 Cardinals 28, Texans 21
The Texans trailed 21-0 at the intermission before staging a second-half rally to tie the game at 21 with 6:59 left. Driving for the game-winning score, Schaub threw a pick-six to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie that gave the Cards the lead.
The Houston offense wasn't done failing, though. The Texans got a 63-yard kickoff return by Andre Davis (Boy could the team use him this year). Starting at the Arizona 40, Schaub passed the offense down to the 6 on three passes. On 2nd and Goal at the 1, Chris Brown got stuffed. On 3rd and Goal at the 1, Schaub threw and missed. On 4th and Goal at the 1, Chris Brown got stuffed again.
Told you to keep an eye on him.
FAIL SCALE: 6/10 Two losses on one back-up running back?
November 8, 2009 Colts 20, Texans 17
A third straight game on this list where the last play of the game could have tied it but not won it, this is another game that wouldn't make the list if the blame didn't lie on a guy named Ch/Kris Brown.
This time, the kicker Kris Brown had a chance to tie the game at the end of regulation. Having already made a 56-yard kick, the 42-yarder indoors seemed like a sure bet.
God hates Houston.
FAIL SCALE: 7/10 Everybody named Ch/Kris Brown in Houston: GTFO!
November 24, 2009 Titans 20, Texans 17
With the game tied at 17 with 50 seconds left, Rob Bironas makes a 53-yard field goal to take the lead. Schaub leads the Texans down the field and Kris Brown misses another game-tying field goal.
FAIL SCALE: 8/10 If you're keeping score at home, that's Chris Brown 2, Kris Brown 2.
November 29, 2009 Colts 35, Texans 27
The Texans led 17-0 early in the 2nd quarter and were up 20-7 at the half. They wouldn't score again until they were down 35-20 with 18 seconds left.
FAIL SCALE: 7/10 Another blown lead against a division rival, and the Colts of all teams.
December 6, 2009 Jaguars 23, Texans 18
The Texans never led. Why is this on the list? Remember Chris Brown? Yeah, well, the Texans would have won if he hadn't tried out for the role of Sage Rosenfels in the Sage Rosenfels Movie midway through the fourth quarter.
On 1st and Goal at the 5, Gary Kubiak called for a halfback pass off a toss to the right, and Chris Brown was dumb enough to fall for it. Unfortunately, the Jaguars defense was not. Gerald Alexander picked off Brown's Jackpot throw and returned it to the Jacksonville 2.
The Jags went three-and-out, and the Texans scores on their next possession (2pt conversion failed when Chris Brown drops Schaub's pass), but that spelled the end of Houston's hope in that game.
FAIL SCALE: 9/10 Chris Brown 3, Kris Brown 2. The Texans know just how Rhianna feels. Talk about your black eyes, 'mIright?
November 7, 2010 Chargers 29, Texans 23
The Texans were up 23-14 midway through the 3rd quarter, but the Chargers scored a touchdown in both second-half quarters to take a 29-23 lead.
The Texans started their final drive from their own 14 yard line, and it went a little something like this: 14 yard pass, incomplete, 33 yard pass, 4 yard pass, 7 yard pass, incomplete.
On 2nd and 10 at San Diego's 28 with 1:40 left and needing a touchdown and extra point (with ll Browns gone, that's not the issue it once was), Schaub went to the NFL's best receiver in Andre Johnson. The sure-handed Johnson booted the pass off his knee and right into the waiting, winning hands of Paul Oliver, and it was over just like that.
FAIL SCALE: 7/10 The Texans were 4-3 and needed this win after a few shaky weeks.
November 14, 2010 Jaguars 31, Texans 24
The Texans fought back from a 17-3 halftime deficit to tie the game at 24 with 4:19 left. As time expired, David Garrard heaved a Hail Mary 50 yards into the endzone, where Texans DB Glover Quin was waiting to knock it straight to the turf.
Only he didn't knock it straight to the turf. The Jag's turquoise unis were probably to blame.
The ball fell right into Mike Thomas' shocked, cradled arms as he stutter-stepped across the goal line.
FAIL SCALE: 9/10 Jesus Christ, can't we go back to doing this against non-division opponents?
November 21, 2010 Jets 30, Texans 27
The Texans started games in 2010 like a Yugo starts in March after sitting in a snow back all winter.
20 straight fourth-quarter points gave Houston a 27-23 advantage with under a minute to go, but then the Texans defense got to show their moxie.
Err, did I say moxie? I meant suckage. Mark Sanchez hit Braylon Edwards behind the young Texans' secondary for 42 yards -- despite the fact that they had no timeouts and all the Texans had to do was tackle him in bounds to win the game. On the next play, Marky Sanchize found Santonio Holmes in the endzone from six yards out to nail the Texans zombie offense corpse back in its coffin.
FAIL SCALE: 9/10 Well, there's that non-division opponent I was just begging for.
December 3, 2010 Eagles 34, Texans 24
20-10 Philly at the half. 24-20 Houston into the fourth. 34-24 final.
FAIL SCALE: 7/10 On the road in a tough environment facing maybe the best single player in the NFL, but again you have to finish.
December 13, 2010 Ravens 34, Texans 28 (OT)
Before halftime, ESPN's Mike Tirico called the first 30 minutes "garbage effort" from the Texans. As boos rained down from the stands, Jon Gruden added: "They deserve to be boo'd and they deserved to be down 21-0."
Well, they only went into the half down 21-7 thanks to a 46-yard floater to Andre Johnson beyond the safety help. That deficit cut lasted all of 15 game seconds, as Baltimore returned the second half kickoff 103 yards for a touchdown. The Texans kicked two field goals to get within 28-13.
ESPN's Steve Young called the Texans' fourth quarter of football the best 10 minutes any team has every played on offense. He literally said, "For the last ten minutes of the fourth quarter, they were THE BEST team in football." (Emphasis his.)
So Matt Schaub, after leading the Texans on consecutive drives of 99 and 95 yards for two touchdowns and finding Jacoby Jones in Andre Johnson's way for the tying two-point conversion, had to feel pretty comfortable getting the ball at his own 9 yard line after the Texans defense forced a three-and-out to start the overtime period, right?
Nope. Two plays in and it was over, a 12-yard pick-six making the Texans history in several ways. They're history as far as the playoffs, and they're they first team to ever trail by 14, come back to tie or lead, and still lose the game four times in one season.
One season? Go back and check this list. This may be a record for one year, but it's certainly nothing new for Houston fans.
FAIL SCALE: 9/10 The worst part about the 2010 team is that they come back and make you watch the whole game. It's like they want everybody to know how close to being great they are, and also to know that they never will be.
That's 29 ways to fail, courtesy of the Houston Texans. One more week and ESPN could make a whole 30 for 30 Season 2 based on our franchise.
And I apologize for spelling errors and cross-platform coding inconsistencies. It's 3 a.m.