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Incompletions: Texans-Colts (The Inevitable End To A Foregone Conclusion)

With so much to write and talk about after every game, and not enough time for one person to write about it all, the masthead joins together and writes about another early playoff exit.

Wild Card Round - Houston Texans v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Matt Weston:

For me the 2018 Texans season was realizing, oooohhhhh, I got it, Bruce Willis is dead fifteen minutes after sitting down, and then waiting for the inevitable big spooky mind shifting reveal that was already known. That big reveal was the Texans record was propped up, not by beating bad teams, but by beating teams that had to run the ball, not even because they were particularly good at it but because it was the safest option, against the best run defense in football, and that once they played teams that could actually throw the ball the defense would be exposed, and it would be up to Deshaun Watson to score the 27 points or so needed to win games.

So I sat there every Sunday, and enjoyed myself regardless. Seeing one’s breath in a church will always be eerie. Pilgrims hanging from the rafters in the elementary school slayed me. The tent scene made each 2 a.m. trip to the bathroom horrifying. The evil stepmother pouring Pine-Sol into the soup made me think of my father’s girlfriend asking me if I wanted a glass of apple juice after school while pointing to the same type of cleaner, she never had kids, I don’t think she did at least, I’m sure it was a harmless mistake. Sure, it got so slow at times there in the middle, but overall, I enjoyed myself.

Jadeveon Clowney is obscene in the run game as he turns pulling blockers into piles of bones. J.J. Watt racking up sacks against backup right tackles always brings me back to those surreal D.P.O.Y. seasons. DeAndre Hopkins stacks so many wild-kitten catches ontop of another that you forget he made an under the legs catch earlier this year. Kareem Jackson is a brutal tackling barbarian, same with Benardrick McKinney. It’s been lovely seeing my large son Juli’en Davenport prove he’s a left tackle, and that yes, Wade Smith was wrong. And most importantly, Deshaun Watson is a franchise quarterback, that last season wasn’t a small sample touchdown rate fluke, and that he can lead an offense on his own.

But he didn’t yesterday. The Texans scored only seven points, and it took until there was 10:57 left in the fourth quarter to do so. The Colts on the other hand, scored touchdowns on three of their first four possessions, doing whatever they wanted through the air, and it took a redzone interception to extinguish that fourth.

During the big win streak I was annoyed once Watson looked healthy again. With purple lungs I was fine with him playing middle manager, handing the ball off, getting it out quick, and not throwing the ball downfield. But for him to do the same with pink lungs was excruciating. The entire point of the regular season is to not only win games, but it’s also the time to practice and prepare for the postseason at the same time, to be ready for games like this weekend, the one where Houston lost 21-7. I’m sure as Bill O’Brien stood on the sideline watching his wretched offense he wished he didn’t spend the majority of the season trying not to have the best offense in football, and better prepared his team to move the ball in effective and efficient ways, instead of Watson’s and Hopkin’s talent being the offense’s only option.

Saturday sucked, but it was the inevitable end conclusion to a top heavy team with a putrid secondary. Brian Gaine seems like a smart dude, and this offseason they’ll have draft capital and cap space to rebuild the secondary, they can ensure Ryan Griffin and Alfred Blue won’t see the field ever again, they can improve the offensive line, find someone who can actually rush from the interior, and who knows, maybe Will Fuller V will stay healthy for an entire year. Next year can be better if certain moves are made, but most importantly, they should be better, because Houston has Watson, and he’s proved throughout this season that’s more than enough.


Luke Beggs:

I hear Jim Nantz gentle rippling voice creep over me as a light piano trickles away in the background:

’’A tradition like any other’’

This is the Texans in the playoffs. Getting shit canned because they are not good. There are elements of this team which is good. Deshaun Watson is good, DeAndre Hopkins, Jadeveon Clowney, JJ Watt & parts of the defense has been good. This teams coaching staff however are not. I’m tired of getting excited because we strung together a series of close victories over juggernauts such as {REDACTED}, Case Keenum, Nathan Peterman and the hollowed out husk of the entity which used to be Blake Bortles.

There is a underlying problem that no matter who get’s put on this team they are still beholden unto a staff which will find a remarkable number of ways to fuck things up. Until Bill O’Brien is fired I will never be convinced that this team can go any further than a wildcard round loss.

A First And Seattle’s Second? They’d At Least Pick Up The Phone?:

Capt. Ron:

It’s been a a year of under performing on both sides of the ball. Sure, the OL and secondary are bottom-of-the-league bad, but the schemes and play calling were even worse in most games. How do you summarize the 2018 season for Houston? “AFCS Champs for six days and stopped sucking on special teams?” Oh and their reward for an 11-6 record as division champs is a later draft pick and a harder first-place schedule in 2019. Brilliant!

If Cal McNair wants to galvanize the fan base of the Houston Texans, he should:

1. Fire O’Brien and R.A.C. and bring in better coordinators to take advantage of the talent on both sides of the ball that can compete in 2019+ (as opposed to the 1970’s schemes).

2. Personally be at mid-field for the 2018 AFCS Championship banner ceremony and light the thing on fire and let it burn to ashes.

3. Then make a public statement that the division championship is the floor and not the ceiling in measurement of success and that Houston expects and demands better results from their NFL team.

4. Petition the league and change the standard uniform (at home) for the Texans to be the Color Rush option.


Mike Bullock:

Don’t have time to go into the psychology behind speaking things over yourself until they become your reality, but this:

The two things we’ve come to know will always be said by Bill O’Brien are the “be the best teammate you can be” and a paraphrase of him blaming himself. Sooner or later, it has to be obvious that he’s just not capable of taking the Texans to the next level and he’s been pointing that out all along.

That being said, the dropped passes, missed/erroneous ref calls and general lack of bringing their A game by most of the players didn’t help...

War, War Never Changes:

Matt Burnham:

The one thing I hate more than anything in sports is when the doubters are proven right. Luckily this game is probably gonna be the least talked about of the weekend so I don’t have to totally shut down sports media for the next week.

What a terrible display of football. Nobody was ready, seemed like both sides of the ball were out of sync, and every Olympics should begin with this secondary because I don’t think anything in this world is more easily torched.

I won’t use the word “choke” for a 23-year old in his first playoff game but Watson was obviously a lesser version of himself in this game and such a flawed team will look like it when there’s nothing to make up for the errors.


Diehard Chris:

Even though I picked the Texans to win Saturday, it certainly wasn’t based on anything tangible. It was just that, as bad as Houston’s secondary has been all year - the Colts aren’t THAT good of a team and I thought it was a tall task for them to come in and win two games at NRG over the span of just a few weeks. What a fool I am.

There was a lot of bad in this game, but I just keep going back to coaching and preparation. Seven points on offense? With Deshaun Watson as your QB? That is ludicrous. Yes, Deshaun also deserves a LOT of blame in this one - he was not good and that was a huge disappointment for someone who was looking forward to PLAYOFF DESHAUN WATSON. There’s no escaping Watson’s poor play, but we have seen enough of Watson to know that he’s the guy. Bill O’Brien, on the other hand, continues to just be the same guy he’s always been - good QB or bad QB.

The secondary was exactly what it’s been all year, and TY Hilton did what he always does, so we have to lay a lot of the blame on the secondary and Romeo Crennel. How do you just keep making the same mistakes over and over again when the template is so clear and obvious?

The AFC South sure is going to be interesting going forward. The Jaguars will catch up to the rest of the league in their desire to jettison Blake Bortles (did you also breathe a sigh of relief when they passed on Lamar Jackson?). The Colts clearly are going to be a PROBLEM, and they’re only going to get better. The Titans look like they might hover between 7 to 9 wins for a couple of years, and the Texans have the resources to be right back in the thick of everything next season. BUT the clock is ticking on Houston taking advantage of Deshaun’s rookie QB deal. This is a huge, huge offseason.

Quick offseason thoughts (limiting myself to four because this could be 15+ items):

1. Bill O’Brien isn’t going anywhere, so just get over it - will Cal McNair assert himself enough to at least demand an offensive coordinator that’s NOT in O’Brien’s image?

2. Brian Gaine has enough cap room and draft capital to flip the secondary, specifically the corners, in an offseason...

3. ... unless he uses those resources to flip the offensive line.

4. Will Fuller V’s impact on this offense is so drastic but I’ve seen enough to accept he’s just not going to be out there every week, so I would actually be okay with spending draft or cap space capital on ANOTHER speed-burning deep threat.

This Is Galaxy Brain Thinking: