OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Texans chairman and CEO Bob McNair was as disappointed as anybody after Sunday's Divisional Round loss to the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. He also couldn't have been prouder of his team for what they accomplished this season.
The Texans overcame a mountain of adversity en route to a 10-6 record, their first AFC South title and the first trip to the playoffs in franchise history. They clinched the division in Week 14 and won their first-ever playoff game on Jan. 7 with a rookie quarterback, fifth-round pick T.J. Yates, at the helm.
"Look at any team around the league and ask yourself the question if they lost their number one and number two quarterbacks (Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart), had their best receiver (Andre Johnson) out for more than half the year, lost their number one defensive player (Mario Williams) and had their number one running back (Arian Foster) out the first three or four games, where would they have been in this league, and that's your answer," McNair said in the postgame locker room of what he thought of the Texans' season. "It's just remarkable.
"I've said all along that what we need to do, we were tough enough physically, and we had to be tougher mentally. I think that you saw that they've come of age from a mental and an emotional standpoint to be able to overcome the adversity they have and play the way they have this year. It's a team the whole city should be proud of."
The Texans almost overcame a 14-point first-quarter deficit at Baltimore on Sunday, cutting the gap to 17-13 before losing 20-13 at M&T Bank Stadium.
"It is hard after you've lost a tough game like this to try to be upbeat about it, but this game is history and there's nothing we can do about it, but we can look ahead," McNair said. "And I know that seeing the way we came back in this game, we were down 17-3, and to see them battle back the way they did and really control the line of scrimmage, I just thought was remarkable.
"They talk about how tough the Ravens are. Well, I tell you, they ain't as tough as the Texans. We made mistakes. We did it to ourselves; the Ravens didn't. But they're a good ballclub. I'm not taking anything away from 'em.
"It's just great to see the progress that the team is making. It kills me to lose like this, but that's life. You go on, you learn from it and build on it and try to make sure the mistakes you made, you don't make 'em again. I think this is a young team, it's learning and it's going to do nothing but pick up."
McNair, who founded the Texans in 2002, said he doesn't think there's any question they'll be Super Bowl contenders next season. He was effusive in his praise of head coach Gary Kubiak, who he pulled aside in the locker room for a one-on-one conversation after the game.
"I told him I wanted him to know how proud I was of the job he and the coaching staff have done," McNair said. "With all the adversity that they had been confronted with this year, to come out and play the way this team has played, I think it's just remarkable, absolutely remarkable.
"Ask yourself what other team in the league, where would they have been? Where would New England be if (Tom) Brady wasn't playing and Wes Welker wasn't playing, their best defensive player wasn't playing? I mean, go down the list of any of these teams and ask where they would be, and they wouldn't be in the playoffs. This team was the playoffs and played well and represented us well, and so I was proud of 'em."