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NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

What a horrible week. After the gruesome Will Fuller and Bradley Roby suspensions, the Texans had to craft a successful game plan against one of the best offenses and defenses in the league, who is also a divisional rival. Once again in 2020, the cards seemed stacked against the Texans, and once again Deshaun Watson had to prove himself worthy of accomplishing the impossible.

And they did just exactly that. In an act of war against the hands of fate, the Houston Texans absorbed every blow the Colts could muster, and came swinging back harder. A resurgent Keke Coutee proved he was every bit of the electric speedster we hoped he was when he caught 8 passes for 141 yards, and newly activated Chad Hansen (who?) caught 5 receptions for 101 yards. Out of nowhere, these two receivers entered the season and dominated as Deshaun Watson played another near perfect game in his MVP campaign.

But, despite the absolutely ridiculous stat line, the Texans would need to score a touchdown on the last drive in order to snag victory. In the finale, the stars shined the brightest, and Watson and Brandin Cooks marched downfield right into the 10-yard line.

Despite Watson’s fury, fate would not relinquish it’s iron grip on the forbidden fruit the Texans have been chasing all year. It is not meant for us, and never was.

With victory literally just blades of grass away, otherworldly winds floated through the open roof of NRG Stadium. One bad snap and a slip of the fingers, and all Deshaun could do was watch the game and our fringe playoff hopes slip away at the 9-yard line.

Even T.Y. Hilton honor the contemporary Sisyphus:

So close. So close again. So close to another victory, another glimmer of hope, another ray of sunshine. So close to another story. Despite Watson’s duel with fate, it’s still just the same old Texans.

Time to take a journey back to yesteryear, where our rose-tinted shades depict a brighter moment in Houston Texans history

Undoubtedly one of the best wins of the 2019 campaign, the Texans welcomed the 10-1 Patriots into Houston and booted them to the stars. In both Bill O’Brien and Deshaun Watson’s first victory against New England, the Texans kickstarted the Patriots’ spiral into a 2-2 finish and wildcard exit. Hope, optimism, talent everywhere on offense, it only took a single year for it to wither away.

While our short term prospects are incalculably worse than last year, let’s look on the bright side of things: Bill O’Brien is gone, Deshaun Watson is still here, and rarely-never used pieces like Keke Coutee and Chad Hansen can ball out any given week. Maybe the young core here is better than we expected them to be.

Here’s where the analysts have us after they heard Houston’s heart give out.

ESPN:

24. Houston Texans (4-8)

Week 13 ranking: 25

Person with most at stake: RB David Johnson

With a $9 million cap hit next season, it would make sense for whoever takes over Houston’s football operations to move on from Johnson. In nine games this season, Johnson has 452 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 113 carries. He missed three games with a concussion. But while Johnson might not be back in Houston, he is certainly playing for his next contract. Backup running back Duke Johnson also could be on this list. With a cap hit of $5.1 million in 2021 and one year left on his contract, the new front office/coaching staff could part ways with Duke Johnson as well, and start from scratch at the position next season. — Sarah Barshop

PRO FOOTBALL TALK:

26. Texans (No. 25; 4-8): Deshaun Watson continues to do everything he can to help an overmatched team win.

THE RINGER:

26. Houston Texans (4-8)

BLEACHER REPORT:

22. Houston Texans (4-8)

High: 19

Low: 23

Last Week: 19

Week 13 Result: Lost 26-20 vs. Indianapolis

The Houston Texans’ entire 2020 season can be summed up by one play in Sunday’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

With less than two minutes remaining in the game, the Texans had driven inside the Colts’ 5-yard line. An upset win and fourth victory in five games was within reach.

That is, until a terrible shotgun snap squirted across the ground and the Colts recovered. Just like that, any chance the Texans had for a third straight winning season was gone.

It’s 2020 in a nutshell for the Texans: disappointment meets unforced error.

The Texans will have a second chance to play spoiler against their rivals in a few weeks, but that’s essentially all that’s left for them at this point.

Then comes an offseason filled with looming questions, not the least of which is who will run the Texans both on the field and in the front office in 2021.

YAHOO! SPORTS:

26. Houston Texans (4-8, LW: 25)

The Texans got to the 2-yard line, trailing 26-20, when Deshaun Watson couldn’t grab a low snap and the Colts recovered. The incredulous reactions of the Texans to losing that way summed up a season that went sideways in a hurry.

Our late season surge in the rankings was unfortunately cut short by the Colts. Things could be worse, though. We could be the Chargers!

Here’s my power rankings to close this week out. (Note: these rankings are going up before the Ravens vs. Cowboys game on the beloved Tuesday Night Football. I expect the Ravens to win, both teams’ rankings will only reflect my feelings after their week thirteen losses):

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (Last Week: 2)
  2. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last Week: 1)
  3. New Orleans Saints (Last Week: 3)
  4. Buffalo Bills (Last Week: 4)
  5. Green Bay Packers (Last Week: 5)
  6. Los Angeles Rams (Last Week: 6)
  7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last Week: 7)
  8. Cleveland Browns (Last Week: 12)
  9. Miami Dolphins (Last Week: 11)
  10. Seattle Seahawks (Last Week: 8)
  11. Indianapolis Colts (Last Week: 10)
  12. Tennessee Titans (Last Week: 9)
  13. Las Vegas Raiders (Last Week: 14)
  14. Arizona Cardinals (Last Week: 13)
  15. Minnesota Vikings (Last Week: 16)
  16. New England Patriots (Last Week: 17)
  17. Baltimore Ravens (Last Week: 15)
  18. New York Giants (Last Week: 24)
  19. Atlanta Falcons (Last Week: 18)
  20. Washington Football Team (Last Week: 25)
  21. Carolina Panthers (Last Week: 21)
  22. Houston Texans (Last Week: 23)
  23. San Francisco 49ers (Last Week: 22)
  24. Los Angeles Chargers (Last Week: 19)
  25. Chicago Bears (Last Week: 20
  26. Denver Broncos (Last Week: 26)
  27. Detroit Lions (Last Week: 28)
  28. Philadelphia Eagles (Last Week: 27)
  29. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last Week: 29)
  30. Dallas Cowboys (Last Week: 30)
  31. Cincinnati Bengals (Last Week: 31)
  32. New York Jets (Last Week: 32)

Of course I’m gonna move the Colts down a tick and move the Texans up one! Without that bad snap and fumble, the Texans would have likely beaten a 7-4 Colts team with their best players (besides Watson) gone! It took a miracle for the Colts the escape defeat at the hands of Chad Hansen! They clearly have some weaknesses, and Deshaun just can’t stop himself from embarrassing every team’s defense. Tim Kelly has now officially unlocked the the next stage of Watson’s abilities, and now we have to be curious what this team could have been if this would have all worked out at the beginning of the season instead of the middle.

Chaos in the middle of the rankings as the Giants and Football Team get massive wins as the NFC East race gets interesting. These two teams have cleaned up their issues from the beginning of the season and are clearly not to be taken lightly. The Vikings threw up all over themselves during their overtime victory against the Jaguars, and now must prepare for the game that will decide their season: Tampa. Las Vegas spent most of Sunday losing its mind until the Jets outdid themselves and gave Henry Ruggs one-on-one coverage on a go-route. Chicago falls apart, again, this time to end their season, and the Chargers prove to the world that, yes, special teams can cause a blowout. That means the Patriots are still very much alive...and causing me to suffer. Cleveland also gets a massive gut-check victory against the Titans that gives them their first winning season in over a decade. When Baker is playing well, this team is dangerous and can score in a hurry.

Where do you think the Texans should be on the rankings? What do your rankings look like? Let us know in the comments!

Follow me on Twitter: @FizzyJoe