Wrapping up the most disappointing season in franchise history has been no easy task. During Monday's Texans Radio and TV programming we had to come up with the obligatory annual honors, even after the 2-14 disaster.
Here we go…
Most Improved Player: Brandon Brooks – The second year guard arrived on Texans campus in 2012 needing to cut weight and fit into the zone blocking scheme. He failed to rise above Ben Jones on the depth chart even though Jones was really drafted as a center and 'insurance' or swing guard. But Brooks "got it" in year two and made strides with a big, athletic body that will translate well into whatever system the Texans utilize next.
Most Valuable Player: Andre Johnson – This one is easy. Or is it? J.J. Watt had another sensational year that didn't statistically measure up to last season's player-of-the-year campaign but was still stellar. However, Andre Johnson continued to climb the all time charts on his way to Canton and put up his fourth 100 catch, 1,400 receiving yard campaign, tying him for most in NFL history. The fact that he did this while the passing game melted down with a team quarterback rating of 74, makes it that much more impressive.
Play of the Year: Cushing Pick Six vs San Diego – The Texans were down by 21 points in the opener, eventually cutting the lead to seven. Cushing stepped in front of a Phillip Rivers pass and took it to the house to tie the game. It was a statement that the Texans would win and that Cushing was back from a long off season of rehab. It was also what would become a rare takeaway in this lost season.
Assistant Coach of the Year: Bill Kollar, Defensive Line – As we said, Watt was sensational and Antonio Smith still put up five sacks, a very respectable number for a 3-4 defensive end. Add Earl Mitchell's super solid campaign and you have a very effective starting unit.
Defining Moment of the Year: Richard Sherman Interception for TD
– It will live in the infamy of painful moments of franchise history. It wasn't the first 'pick 6,' it was actually the third. And it didn't give Seattle the lead, it tied the game. But it defined a season that would see Houston drop to dead last in turnover margin (-20) and dead last in the standings.
Honorable Mention: Gary Kubiak's collapse vs Indianapolis – Had Kubiak not gone down, the Texans probably beat Indy and possibly change the course of history. It was a brutal moment in a horrible year for a man that deserved better. But he's certain to land on his feet and, thank God, he's healthy.