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Post-Game Breakdown--This Is What It Sounds Like When Doves Cry

Well...we probably won't see a game like that again in our lifetimes.  The positives?  Your Houston Texans did manage to hang twenty-nine (29) points on one of the best defenses in the NFL.  In a quarter.  And the defense played much better than the thirty-eight (38) points surrendered would indicate, particularly considering that the Titans began seven (7) of their sixteen (16) drives in Houston territory.  Finally and most importantly, the hometown team never gave up despite trailing by twenty-five (25) points at the end of the third quarter.

There.  I'm done with positives.  Let's get down to business.

For 75% of yesterday's contest, the Texans were an unadulterated embarrassment.  They were outplayed, outcoached, and outclassed in every facet of the game.  If the coaches and players had offered the equivalent of that "product" in any other field, 90% of them would have been fired immediately.  And then blacklisted from ever working in that field again.  It wasn't just a bad game.  It bordered on incompetence.  There are not words strong enough in the English language to describe how putrid the offense looked until the fourth quarter.  So I'll just let the numbers speak for themselves:  The Texans accumulated twenty-four (24) yards of offense in the first half.  24.  They rushed for thirty-nine (39) yards the entire game.  39.  Houston turned the ball over six (6) times on three (3) interceptions and three (3) fumbles.  

Gary Kubiak probably forgot more last week about football than I'll likely ever know in my lifetime.  But the fact is (confirmed by Kubes' own admission) that the Texans simply weren't ready to play yesterday.  And there's no excuse for that.  This is the NFL.  There's only sixteen (16) chances to prove that you're legitimate.  A team can't afford to squander any of those opportunities, but that's what yesterday's game was--a lost opportunity.  Granted, the team showed real grit in battling back and almost won a game they had no business winning.  But they didn't win, and the prospect of another finish in the cellar of the AFC South is now more likely than ever before.  Some quick observations from yesterday's game:

  1.  I've defended the offensive line like it's going out of style.  No more.  Chester Pitts and Ephraim Salaam might as well have stayed in the locker room; they didn't stop anyone all day.  The right side of the line held up considerably better; not that it mattered.
  2.  Prior to leaving the game for good with his second injury, The Schaub looked tentative.  I think that's due primarily to the fact that he was getting pounded mercilessly (even on three-step drops...witness the hit he took on one of the opening screen passes to Jacoby).  He's supposedly day-to-day.  I'll on record now with something that's sure to be unpopular:  I'd strongly consider sitting The Schaub until the Raiders game, if not the Saints game.  He is beyond beat up, and the thought of him gimping around against Merriman & Co. while the offensive line plays matador again, without a running game to keep San Diego honest, gives me nightmares.
  3.  Kevin Walter continues to impress, which is why it's all the more puzzling that he didn't seem to be targeted at all until the fourth quarter.
  4.  If the coaches had any doubt that Jacoby Jones could hang onto the ball, why did he return the opening kickoff?  And why run consecutive screen passes to him deep in your own territory on the first drive of the game?  Aren't these the kind of things that should be figured out before the other team is flying at you?
  5.  Speaking of returning punts...what in God's name was David Anderson doing back there?  That fumble in the fourth quarter seemed almost preordained, and I don't blame Anderson.  He shouldn't have been put in that position.
  6.  Owen Daniels had his first bad game of the season.
  7.  Now I know how those crackpots in the Pacific Northwest feel about Bigfoot.  I could have sworn I saw Jeb Putzier on Sunday.
  8.  It's common knowledge that the Texans have no running game.  But only running the ball twelve (12) times all game (3.2 YPC)?  Please...someone tell me what Ahman Green (and the offensive line, for that matter) is being paid to do again.
  9.  I didn't realize it at the time, but losing Steve McKinney in Week Three was a subtraction of cataclysmic proportions.  The Texans haven't had anything resembling a rushing attack since he went down.
  10.  He looked abysmal on his first few possessions, so this may be a ridiculous question.  But I'll throw it out there anyway.  Is Sage Rosenfels the best backup QB in the NFL?
I'll get to my thoughts on the defense in a second post...