Entering week three, there were nine teams that started the season 0-2. Since 2002, only 9.4% of these teams have made the playoffs. The last team to start 0-3 and have a successful season was the 1998 Buffalo Bills, who rode the heart and integrity of Doug Flutie after a week six quarterback change. The Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints, Baltimore Ravens, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks, Indianapolis Colts, and your Houston Texans all fought to prevent low odds from turning into an insurmountable hole.
At the conclusion of Sunday the Giants, Eagles, Seahawks, Colts, and Texans all managed to fight off a lost season. Everyone else will say the right things.
"These men in this locker room are special, and I guarantee you we will never give up."
"Nothing is over until it's over."
"There's a lot of soul searching we gotta do. But we will right this ship."
"We will keep fighting the entire season. You aren't done hearing from us yet."
This is all fine and dandy, and we all must live with our illusions, but for the Lions, Ravens, Saints, and Bears the 2015 season is done, and all they can do now is evaluate internally, and begin-gulp-scouting players for next year.
Such is life in the cruel sixteen game schedule of the NFL where starting hot won't clinch anything, but starting cold will devour all hopes and possibilities of January football in only three weeks.
When it comes to the Houston Texans, they won one of the most mind-numbing games I've ever seen. Nothing of interest happened in this one. The touchdowns were boring: DeAndre Hopkins caught a slant, Alfred Blue ran for twenty yards untouched, the Texans couldn't tackle in the open field--yay? The interceptions were meh. J.J Watt's best plays were tackles coming from the backside. All of the awegasmic catches that Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson, the NFL's best double's volleyball team, could have made were broken up by some crafty Johnathan Joseph ballmanship, or were dropped, or were missing a foot inbounds. Ryan Mallett threw the ball hard but not far and averaged 5.8 yards an attempt. Bill O'Brien turned the patented Gary Kubiak third down draw into the third down Cecil Shorts III screen pass. DeAndre Hopkins dropped a few passes. Randy Bullock missed an extra point,and broke the NFL record for most field goals off the post in a career. Nate Washington couldn't find a possible touchdown pass. Alfred Blue carried the ball a lot. Kyle Brindza missed three field goals. The Houston Texans won. It was Dr. Phil's khaki pants, Ion television, reading the dictionary, and Hill Country Fair vanilla ice cream football.
Even though I'm in a state of comatose I will never recover from, the Texans won, are still alive, and they are tied for first place in the AFC South, where the Colts, Jaguars, Titans, and Texans are all a fearsome 1-2, ME-OW. Next weekend will be another game Houston will partake in a season still with meaning rather than quarterback lust, "WHO SHOULD THE TEXANS TAKE IN 2016?", and browsers bookmarked with mock drafts being refreshed. And for that, I'm happy, because I'm not ready to relive 2013 this soon, or for that matter, ever again for the rest of my silly little life.
Saved by the Opposing Kicker
Two sh*t teams diverged on astroturf
I took the team with less shanked field goals
And that has made all the difference
To be honest, the Texans probably should not have won that game. Kyle Brindza took 10 points off the board for Tampa Bay, and Mike Evans continuously dropping the football probably took off even more. Jameis Winston was smart, efficient, and mobile within the pocket - he played like a first overall pick is supposed to play. Unfortunately for him, though, his own team betrayed him with their uninspired play.
Now that being said, I don't necessarily think that Houston played a bad game either. Randy Bullock was inconsistent, sure, but Ryan Mallett was effective once again and the offensive line finally figured out how to run block. As this team gets more and more key contributors back from injury - Arian Foster, Duane Brown, and Mike Mohamed among them - I expect these narrow "lucky" wins to have a much larger margin
I'll Take Things That Should Never Be Said for $2,000, Alex
#LikeAProsch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) September 27, 2015
The Texans had no business winning that game, and, against a better team, it would have been our third loss in a row. While the offense was successful in getting 30 first downs, for that many first downs, more than 19 points should have been scored. Better teams will kill us if we can't produce points at a better rate than what we showed yesterday. The defense did a good job of handling the Bucs' huge receivers, and Johnathan Joseph had one of the best games in his career. Unfortunately, the tale of the turf remains an issue, with Bullock and Brindza missing kicks, and another unfortunate injury, so that our field surface continues to get more discussion around the league than our play on that field.
A friend called me up and invited me to join him at the Texans game, so I was in attendance Sunday. On the ride over to NRG Stadium, I wondered if the NFL game would be anywhere near as exciting as the high school game I had attended the night before that featured two local rivals. In that game, our team was victorious, and delivered some of the most dramatic action I have seen in any football game: a 48-yard field goal, a punt pinned inside the opponent's 5-yard line, a blocked field goal, a 71-yard run for a touchdown, and multiple sacks, including a strip-sack fumble returned for a touchdown. The standing-room only crowd was rewarded with a sensational three hours of Texas high school football at its best.
As I left NRG Stadium, the answer I was provided from a tilt between the Texans and Buccaneers was not only "no," but it turned out to be one of the most frustratingly boring games I have ever witnessed. Some people will suggest that you take a "win" in the NFL and just be happy, but the performance on the field has me more concerned than ever about a Houston team that I have embraced and supported since their inception. As we drove home, I found myself in a state of mild-depression. My voice wasn't raw from cheering, and the only time I found myself out of my seat was to hike to the concession stands or restrooms. That may be a "first-ever" after attending 134 Texans games through the years. We won, and I wasn't elated?!!
If Tampa Bay and Houston are not both working out kickers this week, then fans of both teams should question the thinking of their coaches and general managers. This game was played in 73-degree weather (indoors) with no wind or precipitation, and on an artificial surface; perfect kicking conditions! Randy Bullock was again inconsistent, as he made a point after touchdown and field goals of 39, and 19 yards, but he also missed on a 43-yard attempt and a point after touchdown. Houston can't afford kicking inconsistencies in close games.
On the year, Houston has scored 56 points, and allowed 60 points, for a cumulative net point differential of -4.
The Texans' player of the game was clearly Tampa Bay kicker Kyle Brindza, who found a way to nail a 58-yard field goal for the Buc's first score of the game in the second quarter, but then he missed a point after touchdown and three field goals from 41, 33, and 57 yards. That's TEN points that Brindza left on the field for Tampa Bay; the difference in the final score.
Special teams continue to look like the Achilles heel for Houston, with abysmal coverage and returns. When will they address this? When?!!
For the third week in a row, there was very little pass rush from the Texans front-seven. They did a great job shutting down the running game, but they didn't get enough pressure on a rookie quarterback, and recorded zero sacks. I think it's safe to say that we expected more from this group than we have seen so far this season. Crennel seems intent on not blitzing, and preferring the "bend don't break" approach with only rushing three or four and dropping the rest of the defense into coverage.
The offensive game plan was not sexy at all. It was clear that O'Brien and Godsey intended to stress a physical running game, even at the cost of possession in several offensive series. Who could blame them when you have receivers like Nate Washington, who was deep down the sideline behind the defense, and lost sight of a perfectly thrown ball that would have been a big touchdown?
The offensive line continues to be a game of musical chairs. Mid-game, they had to replace an injured Brandon Brooks (sprained ankle) by moving Derek Newton over to right guard and putting Kendall Lamm at right tackle. This unit needs to get healthy to help the entire offense get into a comfortable rhythm to sustain drives and score points. On that note, I never want to see another attempt at a screen by this offensive unit. They simply don't understand how to design or execute any version of a screen.
It was a terribly boring game to watch, but they did notch their first win of the season. It's tough to win in the NFL, so we'll take it. I just wish it was more fun as an observer. The silver lining is that they are now tied for first place in the AFC South; then again they are also tied for last place in the AFC South.
/slow (and intentionally boring) golf clap
PS: If you haven't been to a local high school football game lately, I urge you to consider an evening under the Friday night lights (or Thursdays and Saturdays) to see these kids compete. It can certainly satiate your appetite for football to the point that you can at least endure the current condition of the Houston Texans.
Buccaneers vs Texans coverage