Great teams find a way to win. Bad teams find a way to lose. Actually, that may be oversimplifying things a bit. Your Houston Texans are not a truly wretched football team, in that they don't always get the snot beat out of them week after week. A loss is a loss is a loss, yet it's not like they're getting rolled by double digits every Sunday (or Thursday, or Monday). The Texans are far more likely to lose in heartbreaking fashion--or it would be heartbreaking, if it didn't happen every single week, thus leaving fans with nothing but scar tissue and rage at this point of the season--than they are to get drubbed. That's something, I guess.
It is not, however, enough. The Texans have played fifteen games. They have lost ten of those fifteen games. We can applaud the brilliance of Andre Johnson and Arian Foster. We can debate whether Matt Schaub is a top ten QB. We can wonder about the impact a healthy DeMeco Ryans and/or Mario Williams might have had. We can do all those things, but any objective analysis has to conclude that the Texans, in their ninth year in the NFL and their fifth year under this regime, are not where they should be. Whether you attribute that failure to Bob McNair, Rick Smith, Gary Kubiak, Frank Bush, David Gibbs, someone else, or some combination thereof is your call. What we can all agree on, however, is that the Texans are 5-10, and 5-10 is unacceptable under any rubric.
If we're looking for ways to make yesterday's loss unique, I suppose the fact that it was a collapse, rather than a furious comeback that fell short, qualifies. This season, the Texans have been far more likely to play dead until halftime before making a game of it. This time, they raced out to a 17-0 lead, only to blow said lead to a reeling 3-11 team that was starting a rookie QB who many fans and pundits alike fervently believe will not be successful in the NFL.
Speaking of Tim Tebow...kudos to him. The Tebow is not Rusty Smith. Tebow got the job done. We can discount it all we want in light of the historically bad defense he preyed upon, but Tebow rallied his squad to victory. Many (and I'm one of them) wonder whether we'll look back on December 26, 2010 as the high water mark of his professional career. That's cold comfort now. The Texans lost. Again.
Throughout the afternoon, the Texans were screened to death by Denver's offense with nary an adjustment from Frank Bush. The defense gave up big play after big play when it mattered most in the second half, with the occasional horrific penalty (Glover Quin, come on down!) thrown in to keep Denver drives alive during the rare times the Broncos were not moving the ball at will. This isn't news. It's been happening all season. The only thing that changes is the team running up and down the field against the Texans. Unless Rusty Smith is under center, the Houston defense is overwhelmed and virtually useless.
The Houston defense is like roadkill on a highly-traveled interstate: It's clearly been dead for a long time. Day after day, it gets run over so frequently that it doesn't even bare a passing resemblance to what it was supposed to be. To take this tortured analogy a step further, Gary Kubiak really should stop his car and scrape Frank Bush's scheme off the blacktop, but he's in a hurry and doesn't want to stop (burn a timeout?) to do it. Kubes will get around to cleaning up the mess; he just wants to do it on his schedule. And that's fine, because if there's one thing we know about Gary Kubiak,
Offensive Coordinator Head Coach, it's that he's exceptionally wise when it comes to time management.
There are surely many other things about yesterday's game to discuss, like whether Arian Foster should have had more carries in the second half, or why Steve Slaton is still returning kicks, or Neil Rackers taking advantage of the thin Mile High air, or Matt Turk doing everything but stitching "Stanley" on the back of his jersey to torture the fan base, or the team's inability to convert third downs, or Tim Jamison getting snaps, or Mark Anderson continuing to impress. Rackers and Jamison aside, we've talked about the rest of those things ad nauseum this season. We're not covering any new ground here. The weeks run together, and the memories of one game become indistinguishable from the memories of another. The failure has become homogeneous.
In seasons past, I've dreaded Week 17. With no playoff appearances to look forward to, it's always meant that we're going to be without meaningful Texans football games for eight (8) months. That's always a drag. I love watching football, and I love watching the Texans.
This year? A big part of me is actually looking forward to not being subjected to this disappointment next week. I'd wager I'm not the only Texans fan who feels that way. If that's not a damning indictment of the 2010 Houston Texans, I don't know what is.Texans vs Broncos coverage