I don't know why I'm doing this, other than out of a warped sense of responsibility and a serious case of self-loathing. Last Sunday's game was the stuff nightmares are made of. I've been wracking my brain, and I'm pretty sure that I have to consider the latest loss to Jacksonville the worst of the Kubiak Era. Not because of the score, mind you, but because I honestly cannot recall another game where both the offense and defense looked so wretched simultaneously. Even worse, the Jags opened the game making the kind of mistakes that opposing coaches dream of. Take a look at the play-by-play, and tell me that it doesn't make you want to scream.
A good team would have put the Jags in a seventeen (17) point hole with ten minutes to play in the second quarter. The Texans put the Jags in a six (6) point hole. Why? Because the Texans are completely impotent in the redzone. From today's Chronicle:
Worse, the Texans have failed to score a touchdown five times from inside the 10 in the last three games..."
Sickening stat, particularly about the quintuple failure to get six when inside the ten yard line the last three weeks. And let's not forget who two of those opponents were--Atlanta and Miami, neither of whom is expected to challenge for .500, much less a playoff spot. Here's an even more terrifying thought--if Kris Brown doesn't nail that fifty-seven (57!) yarder on 10/07/07, your Texans are on a four-game skid. Before I get any more depressed, let's just move on to the game observations:
- Dear Kevin Walter: I am sorry I ever doubted you. 12 catches for 160 yards has made me realize just how special you really are. When this season gets sorted out, I think you and me should get an apartment together. Warmest Regards--Tim
- For the life of me, I don't understand the running game. First drive: Ahman Green nets 12 yards. Second drive: Green nets another 10 yards. The rest of the game? Another 20 yards for Ahman. Huh? And the tried and true "we were playing from behind" defense doesn't work here. The Texans were only down by 7 at the beginning of the fourth quarter. What the hell happened?
- Speaking of playcalling, it's been three (3) days since Kubes called for a QB draw on 3rd and 2 from the two yard line on that first drive against a team that features Marcus Stroud and John Henderson at DT, and I'm closer to curing the common cold than I am to understanding that decision.
- It's not often you get to see a team fumble the ball out of the opponent's endzone. Thank you, Apostrophe Davis, for providing all of us with the opportunity to witness such a rare phenomenon. I could have, however, done without the aneurysm that immediately followed the play.
- It's beginning to resemble DeMeco's "The Extraordinary Is Ordinary," but it must be noted that Owen Daniels reeled in another 5 catches for 79 yards.
- How 'bout that David Anderson? Some really big catches on third down from him. Of course, the score was 73-9 at that point, but still.
- With the exception of Ephraim Salaam, who got beat like he stole something from Paul Spicer, I thought the offensive line performed reasonably well in pass protection versus one of the best defenses in the league. It wasn't a great game for the OL, but the pass-blocking was certainly not one of the biggest reasons for the loss.
- I hate criticizing Super Mario. But that offsides penalty on what would have been a HUGE third down stop was inexcusable.
- You know what I hate even more than Petey Faggins' penchant for drive-sustaining penalties? The fact that he's always smiling after he commits them. Hey, Petey--no one told a funny joke. When you cripple the defense with another stupid play, please try to look remorseful instead of looking like you're at the circus. Given each of their respective efforts on Sunday, I refuse to believe that Fred Bennett won't be starting against Tennessee in a few days.
- C.C. Brown's forced fumble (not to mention Bennett's) was a big-time play, and an offense worth its salt would have done something with it.
- Fun Fact: The Jags were not forced to punt once throughout the entire game.
- Considering Jacksonville piled up 244 yards running the ball, why would they even need to think about punting? At that rate, why even dress a punter? Hold a contest and suit up a fan for the day. It's not like you'll miss your punter when you're averaging almost a first down (9.4) every carry.
- I will cease bragging about the Houston run defense until further notice. And by "further notice," I mean "they hold the opposition to less than 100 yards on the ground."
- It won't get as much attention as it should because of the final score and Houston's terrible performance, but the officiating in that game was the worst I've ever seen in the NFL. When the officials are letting the clock run when the player is out of bounds, heads should roll.
- Another thing that won't get any pub because of the final score--Kubes' decision not to call a timeout with 1:30 left in the first half immediately before the Jags kicked a FG. It looked like the ultimate indictment of the offense to me, as if he was saying, "I don't think we can put any points on the board." That's not the sort of gun-shy attitude I expect from Houston's coach. Houston's former coach, sure. But not our current one.
- Fake Game Balls: Offense--Kevin Walter. Defense--Anthony Maddox (for providing the sole sack of the afternoon on Jacksonville's first snap). Special Teams--Matt Turk (for booming a punt 56 yards and pinning the Jags inside the five).
So there you have it, albeit a few days late. It's like a bad hookup: It happened; let's just put it behind us and pray that it doesn't have any long-term ramifications. I think Solis said it best in assessing the Texans' performance:
Time to look ahead. I hear that some team that used to call Houston home is coming to town, and those in the know think they will be without a certain starting QB (though I think that's wishful thinking for Texans fans). A win on Sunday, at home, against a division rival, is non-negotiable. The good news is that we won't have to worry about a complacent squad taking the opponent lightly. After the last game, every Texan should be itching to prove that their last game was a mere anomaly and not a sign that this team is not nearly as good as we'd hoped. It's go time.