It's that time of year again. The 2014 Houston Texans are making their yearly pilgrimage to Indianapolis in hopes of accomplishing something their predecessors have failed to do 12 times now. They've faced Peyton Manning, Dan Orlovsky and now Andrew Luck, all with the same result. Tania Ganguli summed it up yesterday:
Indianapolis holds the longest active streak of wins against a division opponent, and it's not even close. They have won their past 11 games against the Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars and Texans. The next longest streak belongs to two teams -- the Philadelphia Eagles and Denver Broncos, both of whom have five consecutive divisional wins.
This year, the Texans are making the trip north while shouldering the slim hopes of a playoff berth. Their victory last week vaulted them to a couple of spots outside the final wild card spot, but it'll all be pointless if they can't beat the Colts for the very first time in their short history.
So as we look forward to the game, we'll also look back and remember the five worst losses we've been unlucky enough to witness the Texans have in Indy. Here we go.
5. November 1, 2010 – Texans 17, Colts 30
Sitting at 4-2 and having already beaten the Colts in Houston to kick off the season, the team traveled to Indianapolis to play under the bright lights of Monday Night Football. The loss would lead to the Texans losing seven of their next eight games, completely crushing the hopes built up early in the season.
Peyton Manning was his usual methodical self, tearing up what would become one of the worst pass defenses in NFL history. Conversely, Matt Schaub wilted under the gaze of the entire country and threw a devastating interception returned for a touchdown in the second quarter. Predictably, the game would end on a Matt Schaub fumble lost.
"It was a collective effort of mishaps. Everybody was taking turns making mistakes. We had mental lapses, when you have those things, you’re not going to win." – Andre Johnson.
4. December 1, 2002 – Texans 3, Colts 19
The game that started it all. David Carr and the Texans made their league-mandated trip to Indianapolis for the first time and promptly set the tone for the next decade. Thanks in part to six sacks allowed throughout the game, the team punted 11 times and fumbled once before they managed to notch a Kris Brown field goal… with just 3:55 left in the 4th quarter. Meanwhile, Manning and the Colts had (rather lazily) built up a 19-point lead.
This embarrassment of a game would foreshadow years of futility.
"They come out and do the same thing every week and they’re good at it. They shoot you down. What’s so frustrating about it, is you have to sustain drives. Or you have to be in a two-minute situation. You’re not going to get big plays against this team." – David Carr.
3. November 14, 2004 – Texans 14, Colts 49
A prototypical Peyton Manning blowout. Despite having a growing superstar in Andre Johnson, David Carr couldn’t help but throw an interception returned for a touchdown to go alongside a lost fumble that was returned for a score as well. Toss in two more interceptions and two more fumbles, and you have the quintessential David Carr experience.
"We knew coming in that we were going to have to execute to come into their stadium and compete with them. We didn’t." – Dom Capers, then-head coach of the Texans.
2. November 8, 2009 – Texans 17, Colts 20
The 2009 season brought with it the frustrating end of kicker Kris Brown’s career with the Houston Texans. Then the team’s first and only kicker, Brown missed a staggering 11 field goals throughout the season. Few were more costly than the kick he missed against the Colts.
With 1:46 left in the 4th quarter, Schaub moved the offense down the field and gave his kicker a chance to send the game into overtime with just one second left on the clock. Of course, Brown would go on to push the kick wide to the left, leaving teammates and fans screaming in agony.
"I missed the kick. I was going through my routine, and I felt good walking on the field. I take a lot of pride in kicking, especially in these situations. To have that happen is very disappointing." – Kris Brown.
1. December 22, 2011 – Texans 16, Colts 19
And lest one say, "Clearly, future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning is the reason for these losses," we have the most abysmal loss in Texans history.
Peyton Manning missed the entire 2011 season because of a rather serious neck injury. In his place, the Colts, in all their infinite wisdom, fielded the shambling corpse of Kerry Collins, the inept Curtis Painter, and former Texan Dan Orlovsky at various points of the 2011 season. By the time the Texans flew into Lucas Oil Stadium, Orlovsky had the reins to this dying horse.
Too easy, right? The 2011 Houston Texans represented the absolute peak of the Gary Kubiak era. The team ranked in the top 10 in almost every offensive and defensive category and had already destroyed the Colts in Houston to the tune of 34-7. A win against the hated Colts would have possibly secured a first-round bye in the playoffs. The ability and motivation was there, but it was not meant to be.
With young T.J. Yates at the helm, the offense sputtered and stalled. After an early, first quarter touchdown, the offense would go on to score just nine points the rest of the game.
This was all the Colts’ perennial journeyman quarterback would need. With just 1:56 left in the game, Orlovsky moved the team 78 yards and ended the drive with a Reggie Wayne touchdown. Dan Orlovsky, the man who once accidentally ran out of his own end zone for a safety, beat the most talented team the Texans have ever fielded and gave the Colts only the second victory they’d ever notch in 2011.
"We make one play offensively at the end, the game’s over... we make one stop at the end, the game’s over." – head coach Gary Kubiak.
Most recently, we Texans fans witnessed Case Keenum continue his hard regression while getting destroyed by Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton. The game ended 25-3 after a 20-3 halftime score. Yeah, it was bad, and it's not even in my Top 5 list.
There you have it: the five stinkiest turds from the heaping pile of manure excremented by your Houston Texans in the not-so-great state of Indiana. So will we see another nail-biter? Or a soul-crushing blowout? We'll find out soon enough. Do you agree with my list? Are there worse losses that I missed? Discuss down in the comments!
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