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Incompletions: Texans v. Titans (My Sacrifice)

With so much to write and talk about after every game, one person isn’t enough to write about it all, so the Masthead joins together and finishes off the 2020 Texans season.

Tennessee Titans v Houston Texans Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

MATT WESTON:

You are going to read a lot of things, and listen to a lot of things about why the 2020 Texans season was disgusting, horrible, putrid, and wretched. This is true for one resounding and singular reason: any lost season with Deshaun Watson at quarterback is an absolute tragedy. This season, despite Bill O’Brien, despite starting 0-4, despite losing his best wide receiver, despite losing his best wide receiver again, despite playing with the worst run game in the NFL, and despite playing behind an offensive line wrapped together by Mike Develin’s duct tape, Watson solidified himself as a top five quarterback this season.

Yet, at the same time, this season was necessary. Sacrificing current utility for a better future is going to be worth it. It’s no different than dieting, exercising, studying, or anything else that improves yourself. Sure you’ll miss out on bottomless mimosas, the newest episode of the newest show, nights out where something could have happened that probably would not have happened, but this is all given up for something better in the future.

By starting 0-4, by going 4-12, the Houston Texans ensured that Bill O’Brien could no longer immolate this franchise with his ego, banal offensive game plans, and reactionary general manager decisions. We know what the ceiling is with Bill O’Brien. It’s the Divisional Round. It’s turning a cheat code, a great quarterback on a rookie contract, and getting the minimum out of it. It’s wasted life and wasted time. It’s being stuck in a present while knowing there is a better football team concurrently existing in another dimension. It’s turning your best players into muck, not understanding the importance of draft capital, and paying players contracts they aren’t worth all in the name of a culture that doesn’t exist.

The run defense not getting the ball back against Pittsburgh and then against Cleveland, Will Fuller’s failed one handed catch, A.J. Brown’s one handed catch, Nick Martin skidding the snap, Keke Coutee fumbling in the endzone, Sam Hubbard’s strip sack, and Sam Sloman’s doinker, all of this was worth it, because it finally sutured that pustulent boil that has poisoned this franchise for so long.

This was the difference between 2019 and 2020. The 2019 team gave Deshaun Watson the ability to make these plays to pull off the incredible and turn the third into the fourth. The 2020 team actively hindered Watson from the spectacular. In 2019 Houston went 9-3 in one score games including the postseason. In 2020 Houston went 2-7 in the same contests. The same coin toss Bill O’Brien hung onto to prove that he was a good coach, that carried out his idea that’s it hard to win games in the National Football League, and it’s all about staying close and pulling it out in the end, is the same reason why he lost his job this season.

Yes, this season sucked in a thousand different ways, and losing an incredible season from Watson because of O’Brien’s insidious decisions is disgusting and devastating, but it was necessary, so this franchise could move on and move forward to play the games it should be playing with a quarterback like Watson, instead of wasting away and rotting to the tunes of 9-7 and Divisional Round playoff exits.

Don’t cry because it happened. Smile because it’s over.

RIVERS McCOWN:

I will now sleep for a million years.

STOP WAITING; START MOVING ON:

CARLOS FLORES:

It’s done. Over. Finito. Kaputz. Fin.

For as bad as this season was and all the terrible endings we had to endure, it was necessary. We exorcised the demon that was BOB, discovered who should be kept around and who shouldn’t, and found out exactly what we were getting with Tim Kelly and Anthony Weaver.

This game was a microcosm of the Texans this year. Deshaun desperately trying to will us to victory while the defense let the game slip through their hands. The run defense was atrocious as it had been all year. If Derrick Henry didn’t get tired, he could have gone for 300. The secondary caved at the worst possible moment. A.J. Brown punked any and everyone put on him. The only consistent players we have are Deshaun Watson and Jon Weeks.

Vrabel did what he could to keep us in this game. There were key catches dropped on the BESFs behalf. If Henry didn’t fumble, who knows what this game looks like. It shouldn’t have been this close, but it was. Regardless, hopefully this is the last time we see this coaching staff take the field for this franchise.

DH2K:

BIGFATDRUNK:

On January 3, 1993, the Houston Oilers lost a playoff game to the Buffalo Bills 41-38. Even after all these years, I still vividly remember this game.

28 years later, your Houston Texans lost a game 41-38. The symmetry and the stupid are *chefs kiss*.

The Texans end the season 4-12. All of BOB’s stupid luck winning one-score games ran out this year. That BOB sacrificed the defense to make his offense mediocre came back to haunt us.

Losing to the BE-SFs in this manner, especially after the way we lost to them earlier this year, is absolutely kittening perfect.

WAS THAT THE END?

L4BLITZER:

Sometimes it is too easy to think that one game sums up everything about a team. This game wasn’t quite that. However, it did show off the greatest strengths and greatest weaknesses of this team as we projected coming into this season. At best, we figured that Deshaun Watson would spread the ball around, and while he would miss Hopkins in spots (red zone), he could still make things happen, usually good things. He led the league in passing and proved that he was not just the beneficiary of Hopkins. Assuming he stays healthy and motivated, his place among the most dynamic and effective quarterbacks is assured.

Yet, just as quickly, we saw the greatest flaw of the Texans come back to bite them one last time. Most figured the defense could be a significant weakness. It definitely was. I can’t think the last time I have ever seen a NFL running back average over 211+ yards a game against a team for 3 straight games. Well, at least until today. Henry blew by the 2,000 yard mark, and if this game had gone into overtime, he might just have set the single game rushing record, if not the league rushing record for a season. Then you had the huge pass play after the Texans tied the game. Most had the secondary as the biggest weakness of the team. That was NOT dispelled today. Yes, the team had injuries/suspensions, but even if Roby and/or Conley were on the field, Tannehill probably still put up some big passing plays. Watson won’t win any league awards this year, given the Texans 4-12 record, but yet, it must be accounted for that every time he took the field, he had to fight against two forces: The opposing team’s defense, and his own. Not that the Titans should feel all that good about their defense heading into the playoffs, but man, they can look at themselves and at least say “thank goodness we don’t suck like the Texans,”

This game is the zenith of what the BO’B/Easterby GM Consortium wrought for this team. Miami will own the 3rd and 35th picks in the draft, to say nothing of their original 1st and 2nd round picks. Perhaps Tua is not the man, but if they don’t like him, they have no shortage of good options. If they think he can still get them there, then watch out, as they can put together some great talent with low cap costs. As for the Texans, they face perhaps the biggest off-season in their short history. By all rights, this team is looking at a long rebuild (multiple-seasons), especially with little cap space and few quality picks. Yet, with Watson, there is hope that with the right hire, especially at GM, this team could be back in playoff contention sooner rather than later.

At least the dumpster fire that was the 2020 season for the team is over, but the real game is only just beginning. That might be more entertaining than some of the actual games from this past year.

THE PAST ISN’T PAST; IT’S NOT EVEN PAST:

MIKE BULLOCK:

Praise be this season is over.

Pros:

—Deshaun Watson didn’t get hurt

—Watson finally got the rest of the Texans QB records he didn’t have already

—Bill O’Brien is gone

—Miami gets some nice draft picks and I have a good friend who’s a diehard Dolphins fan

Cons:

—Everything else

As much as I love Romeo Crennel, and as much as the players love Romeo Crennel, it’s clear he’s not a head coach at the NFL level. While the Texans certainly improved once Bill O’Brien was launched, it wasn’t good enough to keep Crennel around as the new head coach. And, hopefully it wasn’t good enough to keep Jack Easterby around either.

Let’s all hope the pain of the 2020 Texans season doesn’t continue into the 2021 off-season with Easterby calling the shots and Cal McNair hiring a soon-to-be-fired-for-not-fitting-Easterby’s-culture general manager and head coach.

PLAY THE GIF AGAIN: