This team isn't just losing games. It's not just broken in multiple areas. It is absolutely dying. Necrosis is setting in across the organization and the majority of the fan base. There is so much to diagnose and correct that it is nearly impossible to even know where to start. If this team was a family member in the hospital, I'd likely recommend not pursuing life-support options. End the pain and suffering sooner for all involved. Yeah, it's THAT bad here in Houston.
We are nearly at the midpoint of the season, and the players are still confused about their assignment in every facet of the game on far too many plays. How do the coordinators still have their jobs at this point?
Then there is the news that a full-blown power struggle might be underway over at NRG Park, and things have devolved about as bad as they can for this season.
Sunday's dumpster fire of a loss to the Dolphins -- punctuated by Arian Foster tearing his Achilles -- was just the latest embarrassment in a season full of them. Where to start? From Ryan Mallett sleeping through his workday after losing his starting job to the quick hook for Brian Hoyer not even three-full quarters into Week 1, to the bizarre in-game quarterback shuffling, to Mallett missing the team charter to Miami, to the defense that can neither pressure nor cover nor tackle, to the offense that can do nothing consistently other then throw balls up for grabs for DeAndre Hopkins, nothing has gone right in Houston.
It was horrific, really. Like if Alabama played a mediocre high school team. Miami -- a middling outfit at best -- led 41-0 at the half and racked up like 450 yards in the process. The Dolphins had a yardage advantage of 275-4 at one point. Miami -- ridiculed for the past three years or so for having zero big-play pop in its offense -- was ripping off 50-yard chunk plays at will.
This was a collective failure of spirit, discipline, effort, pride, the degree of which is rarely seen in the NFL. This was one team playing its guts out and the other gassing up the bus to the plane. Hopefully someone managed to escort Mallett from the locker room on to the right flight and all, although cutting him in South Beach may have actually be more apropos.
Drastic changes this soon in the season rarely elicit much response, though these same Dolphins would offer a contrarian view on that at this point. And Bill O'Brien, as much as he's made a meal of this season, isn't going anywhere. He's the most influential figure in this organization and he's got a ton of money still due to him.
But at some point, altering play callers and/or philosophies has to happen. Staying the course will result in more disaster and this team just looks ill-equipped to play far too often. Houston entered this game with a first-half scoring differential of minus-55, worst in the NFL, and then nearly doubled it in the first half Sunday.
The Texans have eight total first-half offensive touchdowns in seven games. They cannot stop anyone, on the ground or through the air.
Besides Hopkins, almost no one is playing well. J.J. Watt is already my early pick for 2016 comeback player of the year, because double-teamed or not, he has not been the same guy this season and hasn't made nearly the kind of impactful plays for which he's become famous. Jadeveon Clowney still seems more like a science experiment than a quantifiable part of this team, Brian Cushing is in steep decline, and there are no playmakers in the secondary. The offensive line is not good, and even with Foster, this team could not run the football.
It's been no secret in NFL circles that O'Brien and general manager Rick Smith might not be a marriage that lasts all that long -- some might say they have already beat the odds -- and you'd have a helluva time convincing me this power structure remains unchanged if the season continues on anything close to this track.
BAM! Well said, Jason. I'd like to find something positive to grab onto right now, but there really is nothing to say other than J.J. Watt and DeAndre Hopkins are still Houston Texans. Oh, wait! I know something positive: Eddie Pleasant made it through the game without being flagged for a penalty. Small victories!
The Dolphins outclassed the Texans in every facet of the game in the first half. How dominant was interim head coach Dan Campbell's revitalized team? By the time the Texans registered their first yard of offense, the Dolphins had already built a 35-0 lead early in the second quarter. The lead ballooned to 41-0 before Campbell mercifully took his foot off the pedal after halftime.
Let's focus on a couple of key points from the two articles above:
The Dolphins had a yardage advantage of 275-4 at one point.
Houston entered this game with a first-half scoring differential of minus-55, worst in the NFL, and then nearly doubled it in the first half Sunday.
That pretty much sums up the game in a nutshell. It may be the worst two quarters of any game in NFL history. Alright, let's proceed to review the final stats. Unfortunately, the trash-time recovery in the second half for the Texans will not paint the true picture of how bad the game was overall.
Summary of Key Stats
|Net Rushing Yards||71||248|
|Net Passing Yards||251||255|
|Total Net Yards||322||503|
|Third Down Efficiency||6/15 (40%)||1/9 (11%)|
|Field Goals (made/attempted)||0 / 0||1 / 1|
|Extra Points (made/attempted)||2 / 4||5 / 6|
|Kicking (made/attempted)||2 / 3||5 / 6|
|Two Point Conversions (made/attempted)||0 / 1||0 / 0|
|Fumbles / Lost||3 / 0||1 / 1|
|Penalties (QTY / Yards)||3 - 25||8 - 52|
|Fumbles Recovered (defense)||1||0|
|Time of Possession||27:55||32:05|
|Red Zone Efficiency||3/4 (75%)||1/2 (50%)|
|Goal To Go Efficiency||3/3 (100%)||0/0 (0%)|
|Points From Turnovers||7||7|
Around the AFC South...
The Colts (3-4)
Indy was down 20-0 at halftime against the New Orleans Saints (3-4), and despite a second-half comeback effort, lost 27-21. The Colts will visit the undefeated Carolina Panthers (6-0) on Monday Night Football next week.
The Jaguars (2-5)
Jacksonville won 34-31 in a tilt against the Buffalo Bills (3-4) at Wembley Stadium in London. They'll enjoy a bye week and start preparing for a trip to play the New York Jets (4-2) in Week Nine of the NFL regular season.
The Titans (1-5)
Tennessee led 7-3 at halftime against the Atlanta Falcons (6-1), but ended up losing the game 10-7. This makes the ninth consecutive loss at home for the Titans, and it marks the fifth straight loss for them this season. They now head to Houston to play the Texans at NRG Stadium. The NFL may have to apply pressure to the networks to fulfill their contracts and air the game as originally scheduled.
"I'm a doctor, not a mortician."
INJURY STATUS v. COLTS
ILB - Bernardrick McKinney: Concussion
CB - Kareem Jackson: Ankle
WR - Cecil Shorts III: Hamstring
RB - Arian Foster: Achilles
Last week, the Texans lost Lonnie Ballentine to a season-ending knee injury, and this week it appears that they'll lose Arian Foster for the season to a torn Achilles. At his age, this may be a career-ending situation for Foster.
Movie Quote (name it):
"Who dropped a whole truckload of fizzies into the varsity swim meet? Who delivered the medical school cadavers to the alumni dinner? Every Halloween, the trees are filled with underwear. Every spring, the toilets explode."
Bravo Zulu - Arian Foster
(Bravo Zulu is a naval signal, conveyed by flag hoist or vocal, for "Well Done")
Arian Foster played his heart out in what might end up being the last game of his career after suffering a torn Achilles. I had already penciled him in for this week's "BZ" recognition, based on his zealous effort alone, before he was injured. He was one of a few bright spots in an otherwise dark sea of despair for Houston. This marks the sixth time Foster has earned this recognition over the last three seasons.
Foster rushed 18 times for 59 yards and 1 touchdown and also had 5 receptions for 66 yards and 1 touchdown.
He teared up as he was carted off the field near the end of the game, and certainly thousands of fans felt like someone had just ripped their guts out knowing this uniquely gifted player may never wear Deep Steel Blue or Battle Red again.
Stories From The Brig
Just burn it all down, and start with the coordinators. There are many players and coaches who could be marched down the plank at the business end of a sword for this entire mess, but let's just move on.
Movie Quote II (a/k/a the hint)
"Mr. Blutarsky... zero... point... zero."
Before we likely watch Foster sail away into the sunset of his career, we need to recognize that he broke a franchise record yesterday with 50 career games of 100+ total yards from scrimmage.
Arian Foster eclipsed the 100-scrimmage yard mark during the Week 7 game at Miami.
In doing so, Foster became the franchise’ all-time leader in that category with 50 games in which he’s cracked 100 yards. He was tied with Andre Johnson, who accomplished that feat 49 times from 2003 to 2015.
Let's go below deck and see what's the chef has for us.
After that disaster in Miami, we're drinking!
This is a fantastic cocktail that possibly originates from pre-Civil War New Orleans. That point is still under dispute, but it is definitely one of the first (if not THE first) cocktail recipes in U.S. history.
1 cube sugar
1½ ounces (35ml) Sazerac Rye Whiskey or Buffalo Trace Bourbon
¼ ounce Herbsaint
3 dashes Peychaud's Bitters
Pack an Old-Fashioned glass with ice.
In a second Old-Fashioned glass place the sugar cube and add the Peychaud's Bitters to it, then crush the sugar cube.
Add the Sazerac Rye Whiskey or Buffalo Trace Bourbon to the second glass containing the Peychaud's Bitters and sugar.
Empty the ice from the first glass and coat the glass with the Herbsaint, then discard the remaining Herbsaint.
Empty the whiskey/bitters/sugar mixture from the second glass into the first glass and garnish with lemon peel.
It's a great drink to blot away the pain of watching the 2015 Texans!
On The Horizon...
Houston hosts the Tennessee Titans at NRG Stadium next Sunday. I can't imagine what the mood of the crowd will be if the Texans continue to struggle. Let's hope that it is a better day for the good guys.
Titans vs Texans coverage