Everything is bigger in Texas, especially the amount of points by which the Texans lose on an almost weekly basis. Just a couple of weeks ago, we saw Houston get blanked 27-0 in New England. On Sunday in Minnesota they managed a garbage time touchdown to “only” lose 31-13. As a fan, it’s tortuous to watch these games. It’s like being forced to watch a “Saved by the Bell” marathon.
I experienced many emotions on Sunday as I watched the Vikings systematically dismantle the Texans. Surprise was not one of them. While it was both frustrating and disappointing, it was by no means surprising. This is a trend that Texans fans have unfortunately grown accustomed to. When Houston is on the road against a good opponent, they will lose. They will not only lose, they will get crushed in a gloriously pathetic fashion.
Let’s take a look at the games that the Texans have lost under coach Bill O’Brien, who is now in his third season at the helm. His teams have lost a total of 17 games during that span. We will begin in 2014. Take note of the early game deficits in each contest.
NY Giants 30 Texans 17: Houston trailed 14-0 at halftime
Colts 33 Texans 28: Houston trailed 24-0 in the first quarter (Thursday Night)
Steelers 34 Texans 23: Pittsburgh scored 24 points in the second quarter to lead 24-13 at half (Monday Night)
Summary: Houston trailed by a total of 62-13 at half in these three games. Note that two of these were prime time.
Chiefs 27 Texans 20: Houston trailed 27-9 at halftime
Falcons 48 Texans 21: Houston trailed 28-0 at half and 42-0 going into the fourth quarter
Dolphins 44 Texans 26: Houston trailed 41-0 at half
Bills 30 Texans 21: Houston trailed 21-13 at half
Patriots 27 Texans 6: Houston trailed 17-6 at half (Sunday Night)
Chiefs 30 Texans 0 (AFC Wildcard): Houston trailed 13-0 at half and 20-0 after three
Summary: The Texans trailed 147-27 by the half in these games
Patriots 27 Texans 0: Houston trailed 10-0 at half (Thursday Night)
Vikings 31 Texans 13: Houston trailed 24-6 at half
Summary: The Texans trailed by a total of 34-6 at halftime
Under coach O’Brien the Texans have developed a habit of getting behind early and being unable to come back. They have a reputation of withering under the bright lights and losing to good times by a million points. Houston is only able to hang with teams in their division, because it’s the AFC South and it’s probably the worst division in the NFL.
What happened on Sunday was another abomination. The defense was lost early in the first half. Corner Johnathan Joseph was half asleep on the first drive and gave up a long touchdown to Adam Thielen. Who in the hell is Adam Thielen? Coverages were blown and tackles were missed. There were stupid penalties that aided the Vikings march, not that they needed any help.
The offense was woeful. They couldn’t block, couldn’t run the ball, couldn’t pass the ball, and couldn’t get first downs. Other than that they were very formidable. Osweiler was skating around in the pocket like a penguin on ice. He was very skittish and obviously has no confidence in the offensive line. It was so bad that he even threw a few bounce passes to his receivers.
Did I mention that the special teams sucked too? Nick Novak missed a 51-yard field goal. I have no earthly idea why O’Brien even sends him out to kick from that distance. Novak is pretty solid from lesser distances, but he does not have a big leg. And the coup de gras was when the Vikings returned a punt 79 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. Houston was truly awful in all three phases.
Houston Chronicle writer John McClain summed it up with this tweet in the first half.
Brock Osweiler threw another interception, which now gives him 7 on the season. Only Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick have thrown more. Oh and by the way, rookies Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz have zero and one respectively. Osweiler is completing a paltry 58% of his passes and has thrown just 6 touchdowns. He looks scared, lost, and basically just terrible. There are already grumblings about the $72 million contract he was given.
The offensive line isn’t doing Osweiler any favors. They have been terrible, which is why the Texans are averaging just 3.8 yards per carry. The offense has been extremely ineffective despite all of the “weapons” they acquired in the offseason. Which brings me to the coaching.
Each time that Houston suffers a humiliating loss, they look completely unprepared. They look sluggish, sloppy, and way out of their league. That has to be on the coaches. Bill O’Brien recently took over play calling duties. The play calling in Minnesota was similar to that of a freshman team in high school. It was very vanilla, no creativity whatsoever. DeAndre Hopkins didn’t have a catch until the third quarter. Houston’s initial three first downs came as a result of penalties.
Texans fans are tired of the same old song and dance. If something doesn’t change, this very well could be the end for O’Brien. These losses are inexcusable. Houston faces the Colts at home this weekend. They will probably lose. They then travel to Denver for Monday Night Football. They will definitely lose and probably very badly.
Other than their division games they still have to play Green Bay, Oakland, Cincinnati, San Diego, and Detroit. I would be surprised if they won 2 of these games. The Texans are a very bad team right now, and there’s little reason to believe they will get any better. I think Houston will likely finish with 8 wins at the most.