At one point or another all of us have done it. We dabble in the extremes. That was the best movie I ever saw. That was the worst movie I ever saw. That was the best game I have ever seen. That was the worst game I have ever seen. We have the best quarterback in the league. We have the worst quarterback in the league. When you stop to think about it, these statements are patently ridiculous. These performances are always the best or the worst (usually worst in our case) until the next one. There is no bottom. There is just the illusion that it can’t get any worse. It can and it will.
These are the thoughts that bounce around my brain as I attempt to make sense of what we just saw. Sure, the Houston Texans have been blown out many times. Sure, the Texans have looked worse before. Sure, there have been more maddening defeats and bigger blows to the collective ego. We’ve all seen these things before. The immediacy of our bias just tells us we haven’t. It tells us that THIS time it was worse. It tells us that THIS opportunity was the biggest one we’ve squandered. It tells us that THIS team is the worst team in Texans history.
Maybe it is the worst team in franchise history. Maybe I could go dive down the rabbit hole and “prove” it statistically. However, there are still five games left and each one presents a unique opportunity to find a new bottom. I suppose I should acknowledge the possibility that they will luck into another win at some point. “Any given Sunday” as they always say. The future is unwritten and is full of all kinds of fantastic and ridiculous possibilities.
Total Yards: Browns 304, Texans 283
Passing Yards: Texans 201, Browns 130
Rushing Yards: Browns 174, Texans 82
Total Plays: Browns 61, Texans 61
Passes: Texans 39, Browns 23
Rushes: Browns 38, Texans 22
Yards Per Play: Browns 5.0, Texans 4.6
Turnovers: Browns 2, Texans 4
Penalties: Texans 5/31, Browns 6/56
Time of Possession: Browns 32:16, Texans 27:44
Three and Out: Browns 2, Texans 4
Believe it or not, two things are undoubtedly true. The Texans do not have the worst offense in the NFL and this week was not their worst performance of the season. Actually, three things are true. They also do not have the worst defense in the NFL. The fact that they are the worst team in the NFL can be of little doubt. Not to completely nerd out, but the concept goes back to a Greek mathematician named Pythagoras. Essentially, when you are good or bad in all three phases of the game then you look dominant or pathetic. I think we know which one the Texans are in.
The key sequence of the game was when they had first and goal inside the five. They ran it once and threw it three times. We will get to Kyle Allen in a moment, but that sequence of plays encapsulates everything that is wrong with the Texans. Dameon Pierce is their best player on offense. That’s not a hot take. That’s not a revelation and it didn’t take an hour pouring over spreadsheets to figure that out. Everyone knows this. Dameon Pierce not only did not get the ball, but he wasn’t even on the field.
The poor guy was asked about it after the game. He said something about Pep Hamilton being smarter than him and seeing that the Browns were going heavy, so they countered. Remember, this is a Browns defense that has been terrible against the run this season. They haven’t been Texans bad, but few in the history of the NFL can make that statement. You are a running team with one of the top ten running backs in football. You have the 32nd best starting quarterback in the game. You put it in his hands. Sure, that makes perfect sense. I’m shocked we didn’t score a touchdown there.
This is simple. If you say you are a running team that takes care of the football then you at least try to do those things. It’s not the losing that is bothersome. It is the unbridled incompetence of it all. If you hand off to Pierce four times inside the five and you fail to score then at least you failed going to your very best player. If you try four times without having him even be on the field then you are an idiot. We can’t sugarcoat this anymore. Either you are trying to lose or you just don’t have the first damn clue and how dare you put a rookie running back in position to have to defend that garbage to the press.
The Allen Report
Yards Per Attempt: 5.2
Quarterback Rating: 53.5
ESPN QBR: 3.0
I really can’t do this. At a certain point it just becomes too much. I can’t bag on Kyle Allen. I spent nearly ten years coaching kids and I spent much longer than that watching them play from youth sports all the way to college. I knew many of them personally. They know when they aren’t good. They know when they completely stunk up the field or court. So, to point these things out just becomes cruel.
The truth is that Kyle Allen and Davis Mills have not been put in a position to succeed. You can blame it on the talent, but I won’t. There are too many teams and too many coaches that have taken similar talent and made them at least presentable. There are coaches around the league that inherited dumpster fires and are at least competitive at this point. No one would call the Lions or the Jets good football teams. Yet, they hired coaches at the same time as the Texans hired David Culley and they have five or more wins.
What does this all mean? It means this madness needs to stop. It means we need to stop messing around with coaches that are either coaching two to three rungs above where they should or guys that should have been put out to pasture ten years ago. Can you even blame Lovie Smith for what he is? Can you blame Pep Hamilton? I suppose you can if you want to, but someone knew what they were and put them in positions of authority. The clown show needs to stop, but it won’t for another five weeks. Buckle in folks, it’s going to be quite a ride.