If the Houston Texans had won Saturday and gone on to march to the Super Bowl, Dan L P would have figured out how to bury a previous post like this:
But being a disingenuous hypocrite it seemed like an appropriate post to highlight at this time. Can Bill O'Brien get this team to the next level? The evidence from Saturday was not encouraging. If you had put together a list of do's and don'ts for this game, the Texans would have definitely checked every box in the don't column....in the wrong way.
- Don't let your opponent get the momentum and hush the home crowd early. The decision to defer until the second half and give the opening kickoff to a team and a QB you struggled to stop a few weeks ago was blockheaded stubborness on B.O'Bs part.
- Don't act like you woke up 30 minutes before the game and showed up shoving your cleats on your feet as you ran onto the field. Like too many key games before in the B.O'B era the Texans looked like they were playing an exhibition game in the first half leading to a quick 21-0 deficit.
Don't be stupid. The Texans were stupid early and often. They let Luck pull them offsides twice (like he did to clinch their last game) to assist in extending early drives. They lined up wrong to wipe out one nice gain. They had eight total penalties to the Colts two.
Don't let the Colts convert too many 3rd downs and don't fail to convert your own. In an extension of a bad recent habit, the Texans could not get off the field as they allowed the Colts to convert 9 of 14 3rd downs, while only converting 3 of 13 themselves. In the first half the Colts were only stopped by the Brandon Dunn interception and by running out of time on their last drive.
Don't fail to cash in your opportunities when they appear. In the first half the Texans gave the ball up on two fourth down plays, one on an interception by Deshaun Watson and one when he missed a wide open DeAndre Hopkins in the end zone from the nine yard line. The Texans did not cash in until Kekee Coutee's TD catch and dive in the 4th quarter.
- Don't let your opponent run for 200 yards. 'Nuff said.
Don't have your QB carry the whole offensive load. Deshaun Watson ran and passed for a combined 311 yards. The Texans' (non) running backs accumulated 29 yards rushing.
Don't let Andrew Luck go untouched and unhurried. They never sacked Sir Andrew and when they did flush him out a couple times he ran for some key drive extending first downs.
Don't play a home playoff game after an 11-5 season and have everyone wonder which team really should have been the Wild Card.