The preacher from Sunday night mentioned people going from joy, to faith, to hope. When you lose joy and faith all you are left with is hope. We all hoped the players still cared. We hadn’t seen it in recent weeks. We saw it on Sunday. All 47 guys gave their blood, sweat, and tears to win that game. Most athletes care deeply about winning even when coaches, executives, and fans may not. Not all of them do. Fortunately for Houston Texans fans, the ones that don’t weren’t there on Sunday.
That faith in the players has been restored. They gave it their all. They care. There is no joy in Mudville. The Mighty Casey is gone and in his wake is a band of misfits not quite good enough to compete every Sunday. They competed this Sunday and they proved they are 1-11-1 not fully because of their incompetence, but because of something else. As far as the boys wearing polos off the field, there is only hope left. There is only hope that they care about winning. Like the players they coach, they are fallible. They are imperfect.
When watching the next to last series of the game that hope was tested. Without hope there is only despair. Those players need hope and faith more than anyone. If they can’t believe in their coaches then who can they believe in? Where does the hope come from? In those moments there is only incompetence or something else unspeakable. In the age of hot takes, we should always remember there are some bells you can’t un-ring. So, we hope for incompetence because that is really the only palatable option. Either way, the situation is untenable now. It cannot continue without severe repercussions. I think everyone knows this now.
Inside the Numbers
Total Yards: Cowboys 404, Texans 327
Rushing Yards: Cowboys 127, Texans 114
Passing Yards: Cowboys 277, Texans 213
Total Plays: Cowboys 71, Texans 64
Passes: Cowboys 39, Texans 28
Rushes: Texans 36, Cowboys 32
Yards Per Play: Cowboys 5.7, Texans 5.1
Time of Possession: Texans 33:14, Cowboys 26:46
Penalties: Cowboys 3/10, Texans 4/25
Turnovers: Texans 2, Cowboys 3
Three and Out: Cowboys 3, Texans 3
For 57 minutes of football this was Pep Hamilton’s finest 57 minutes as a Texan coach. Davis Mills played his best game of the season. Jeff Driskel was an actual weapon and threw the best touchdown pass of the year by any Texan quarterback. Pierce was running strong and Driskel gained key yardage on several runs. Chris Moore had the game of his life and Amari Rodgers was a revelation. Sure, there were plays that were clunkers, but there always are whether you are the Eagles or the Texans.
That’s why those four plays at the end of the game were so demoralizing. If it had been a game of ineptitude then you could just chalk it up to ineptitude. This was something else. Rex Burkhead hadn’t played in two weeks. Most of the masthead was shocked when he entered the game in the second half. We thought he was inactive. Then, the fourth best active running back on the team was featured in three of the four plays. The last play looked like an outtake of “Necessary Roughness”. In the moment when you can ice the game you have to call your best plays with your best available players. Pierce wasn’t available. That was unfortunate. Dare Ogunbowale and Eno Benjamin were available. They are both better football players than Burkhead. Driskel could have run some run/pass options. Simply handing it off to Burkhead or doing whatever the hell that last play was had to be the last options. Yet, those are the ones they went with.
The Mills Report
Yards Per Attempt: 8.3
ESPN QBR: 84.9
This was Mills best game of the year. The interception was a desperation toss at the end of the game that might have been his best pure throw of the season. It was probably the only loss he has been involved with that you can’t blame even partially on him. Hell, he wasn’t on the field for that fateful series. If we go back to the whole joy, faith, and hope paradigm then he has restored my faith that he can be a quality backup quarterback in a competent offensive system.
The game tape might be good for Pep Hamilton’s resume if you ignore those last two series. However, that tape ironically enough proves he needs to dust off that resume sooner rather than later. We cannot subject a rookie quarterback to this myopic mess and we cannot delay getting one because we want to keep this around for another year. This coaching staff has nailed the last nails in their collective coaching coffins. We can hang onto hope for only so long. This malaise of malarkey needs to end. It is time for a coaching staff that will both try to win and have some idea of how to do it.