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Incompletions: Texans v. Titans (This is the End)

With so much to write and talk about after every game, one person isn’t enough to write about it all, the masthead joins together to write about the last Houston Texans game of the 2021 NFL Season.

NFL: JAN 09 Titans at Texans Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

MATT WESTON:

One should never wish for the passing of time. It’s the only finite resource we all have. It’s the chain our mortal coils are tied to. This never ending bombarding towards our eventual demise, to leave this world alone, and enter the unknown. Imagine being sad. Imagine being unhappy. Each and every second is beautiful and wonderful and perfect.

Most of us spend all year waiting for the NFL season to get going again. Sundays with pigskin and Michelobs, the propane tank filled until it gets replaced by the crockpot, setting rosters, calling your brother and making your FOX pick sixes, and worming and planning your week around getting back to Sunday. Even when it’s bad, it’s good, and even when it’s sad, it’s good.

Although the Texans are 4-13, and were 4-12 a year ago, and the things we thought that would happen after the 2020 season never came to fruition, and, in fact, became seismically worse, this season was beautiful. We had the ‘We don’t Need Deshaun’ game against Jacksonville, the fake-fake punt, a nine turnover romp in Miami, monsoons in Nashville and Jacksonville, Brandin Cooks turning into Rey Mysterio and leaping off the top rope over multiple defenders, Tytus Howard finally getting to play left tackle, Kamu Gruiger-Hill making BIG play after BIG play, a surprisingly fun trio of defensive tackles, Lonnie Johnson Jr. playing right field safety, David Culley’s tongue, Rex Burkhead being the focal point of an offense in 2021, and Davis Mills playing better than he ever did at Stanford and morphing from unplayable to playable, an admirable feat that provides Houston some hope for 2022—that if enough things happen, Houston finding two new pass catchers, the run game becoming respectable, and the interior offensive line improving to competent, maybe they have something in the future.

The last two years have made me rethink why I love the game of football. It was just something I always watched, and was how I always spent my Sunday. Those days spent with my father in a smoke filled den picking up the games with rabbit ears, watching Dave Campo’s coach’s show before the pregame show, going to the Racetrack and having my own TV with Sunday ticket, turned into me watching by myself, then writing, then watching coach’s film, then watching condensed games, then learning about man-match principles and run fits, and turning the game into this thing I enjoy this very specific way.

I don’t watch the game to see if the Texans will win or lose. I watch it because I just like it. Who knows if next year will be any better, who knows when the team will actually be good and fun again, but for now, I hearken you to open up the tome, and dive in and find out whatever you need for this thing to bring you utility. Because if the end result is the only thing that matters, then the beautiful time you have will be wasted, and there is no greater sin than that.

BIGFATDRUNK:

Thank goodness this season is over. The Texans finish 4-13 and currently have the third worst point differential in the NFL.

The Texans are an old and talentless team, and Nick Caserio has a metric kitten-ton of work ahead of him.

One of the biggest questions of the off-season is the QB situation. Some people like Davis Mills! I am not one of them, and I will be spilling plenty of virtual ink on that subject.

The Texans have a long way to go to even suck.

L4BLTIZER:

Finally...the season is over. I think any Texans fan who was not overly inebriated or delusional or Jack Easterby, knew that this season would not be a great one...and in that regard, it didn’t disappoint. Multiple shutouts and periods of nearly unwatchable football. The best player on the roster never took a live snap, and if anyone had anything to say about the Texans, it was that a) they suck and b) What are they going to do about Watson with all of his legal issues and issues with the team?

Perhaps one could look at this game as a microcosm of the season. The first half of the game was brutal for the Texans, as the Titans, with the #1 in the conference on the line, used a dominant second quarter to take a 21-0 halftime lead. Yet, the second half saw the Texans decide it was time to maybe compete a little, and the Titans figured that bye was locked up. Tennessee almost got burned, but did just enough to hold off the Texans. If the Titans are to make any noise in the post-season, especially because of the bye, the Tannehill play on 3rd and 5 with 10 minutes in the 4th, where the Texans missed the sack and he found his receiver for a major gain, will be the defining moment. Mills had a strong second half (of the game and season), and while he may not be the future franchise QB, he has done enough that the Texans should not overdraft a QB prospect. If he is the starter for the 2022 opener, fine with me.

For Tennessee, while they have that bye, which will further help Derrick Henry get healthy to become the certified playoff nightmare he can be, this game should raise a few alarm bells. If the Texans could slice and dice their defense in the second half, what will happen against a playoff team in 2 weeks? Maybe it was human nature, and they relaxed too much, but the margins between defeat and victory are small enough in the regular season. Get to the playoffs, one slack play is the difference between advancing and spending the off-season wallowing in misery.

For the Texans, the real contest begins now. The team faces no shortage of challenges, from figuring out how to mitigate the nightmare dead cap space they will have to making a decision about Deshaun Watson. In the way-too-early 2022 season projections, do not look for the Texans to improve much beyond their 4-13 finish, which you could argue is surprisingly good, given the off-season predictions. Unfortunately, the McEasterby regime is firmly in place, so do not look for quick fixes or miracles. At least we can beat Jacksonville...right Colts?

MIKE BULLOCK:

Davis Mills might never be a franchise quarterback in the NFL, but he’s ok in my book. Any guy who completes not one, but two flea-flickers for touchdowns in a season is alright by me. Unfortunately, his footwork and other passing mechanics are still a long way from where they need to be. But, maybe Pep Hamilton can get him there with another off-season of coaching.

Regardless, thank God this season is over. I’ve been watching the NFL since I was a kid and never endured such a miserable season as a fan as this one. But, the old is gone, the new is here. The regular season is dead, long live the off-season.

In looking to the future, we really can’t discern the tea leaves by reading the Texans past. Nick Caserio is not Bill O’Brien, but he’s also not Bill Belichick. However, I’m sure he’s modeling his work after his former boss more than his H-Town predecessor. To that end, as long as Darth Bill has called the shots in New England, they have never had two down seasons in a row.

That notion gives me hope that Caserio doesn’t intend to tank 2022 as he did ‘21. Which means, he needs to move on from David Culley, bring in a quality head coach, load the roster with players that fit that coach’s scheme and turn this thing around quickly.

Unfortunately, Belichick was never dumb enough to agree to answer to Jack Easterby and Cal McNair... so, there’s that. Sigh.

Either way, at least we have a little respite before the Texans brass embarrasses the good people of Houston again. We hope.

CARLOS FLORES:

The long march is finally over, and we should all be $50 richer.

I think the only time I’ve ever been as frustrated with Texans football was in 2013. Even then, the roster warranted watching. It was a struggle to keep my eyes open for the games that I did manage to catch this year.

However, things are looking up. We have a full hand of cards for this year’s draft. Davis Mills gets another offseason to develop (with hopefully a new OC, he’s shown flashes this year). We should also see a new running back one in place because even the Texans aren’t dumb enough to rock with Burkhead leading the position.

This season is one to forget, but some would have you believe that we made the playoffs and have a competitive team. Ignorance is bliss, I guess.