Texans Put A “Bad Taste” In Everyone’s Mouths
Everyone at home knew the Houston Texans were going into Thursday night’s game with a chance to accomplish a couple of franchise firsts, including winning 11 games in a season and winning a game in Indianapolis for the first time ever. Apparently, nobody told the Texans’ coaching staff there was a football game going on.
The Houston Texans (10-5) handed the Indianapolis Colts (2-13) their second win of the season in pathetic fashion, in a game riddled with penalties, missed opportunities, questionable play calling, and poor quarterback play.
Let’s give Dan Orlovsky some credit. He played a great game, going 23-41 for 244 yards, 1 touchdown, and no interceptions. His only turnover was on the first snap of the game, when he was strip sacked by Brian Cushing.
T.J. Yates went 13 of 16 for 132 yards, which doesn’t look too bad on paper. However, the play calling was absolutely miserable. For example, the Texans had the ball with a one point lead with under 3 minutes to play in the game, facing 3rd and 6 in the red zone. Kubiak called a third consecutive run, virtually conceding the touchdown for a field goal.
If you want to be a playoff team, you have to learn to finish out games. You don’t finish out games by kicking field goals. You finish out games by scoring touchdowns. The Texans will not win a playoff game attempting just 16 passes.
Yes, Yates is a rookie, and he has much to learn. But you have got to let the kid learn by giving him the opportunity to either succeed or fail. Simply taking that opportunity out of his hands completely will not help him grow.
This offense is so frustrating to watch because they seem to move the ball so well in between the 20’s. Arian Foster looked unstoppable most of the night, albeit he fumbled the ball for the fifth straight game. Foster had 23 carries for 158 yards, averaging 6.9 yards per carry.
With numbers like that, you would think the Texans would have won the time of possession battle. They came into the game leading the NFL in time of possession, while Indy was dead last. However, Indy controlled the tempo and the ball for most of this game, putting together several long, methodical drives by pounding the rock and allowing Orlovsky to throw the ball on third downs.
Coach Kubiak should take a hint from the Colts’ game plan tonight. The Colts played this game with a 3rd string quarterback, but they let him show what he could do. They did not handcuff him, and he came through with some great plays and timely first down conversions. Handing the ball off on 3rd and long will not win you many football games.
With all that being said, the NFL is getting out of control with protecting the quarterback and defenseless receivers. There were some good calls, but there were also several terrible calls. J.J. Watt played like a man tonight for the Texans, and he was flagged for two separate personal fouls that were quite frankly awful calls. If I were him, I’d be banging down Roger Goodell’s door in the morning.
The Texans were penalized 11 times in this game for 84 yards, and with an ultra-conservative game plan on offense, that was the killer.
It is never easy to stop a team in the red zone when the referees give them 16 downs to convert, though (I realize a couple of the calls were correct, but a couple of them were absolutely not).
Penalties aside, the Texans never should have been in this position in the first place.
This loss is on Gary Kubiak and the coaching staff. The Texans have now scored less than 20 points in five straight games, and if they don’t get something figured out fast, they will get blown out at home in their first ever playoff game. The conservative play calling isn’t working, and it has to stop. Give T.J. Yates a chance to make some plays. It can’t hurt, can it?
Having Andre Johnson back next week should help, assuming Kubiak doesn’t foolishly keep him out another week. The Texans must get back on track next week against the Titans to get some momentum heading into the playoffs.
If they don’t, they may have this “bad taste” in their mouths for the entire offseason.
- Jared’s Texans Take (rattleandhumsports.com)
- Houston Texans Postgame (rattleandhumsports.com)
- Jared’s Texans Postgame (rattleandhumsports.com)