Imagine Peyton Manning taking the field without Marvin Harrison and losing Joseph Addai early (with his backup, Kenton Keith, already out of action). Then imagine Reggie Wayne going down in the second half when you need him most. And, oh yeah, center Jeff Saturday gets hurt as well. Plus an unsung working class reserve defensive lineman needs the best of medical attention with the story of Kevin Everett fresh in everyone's minds.
This is what the Texans were dealing with Sunday. And they played with heart only to have their hearts broken.
Don't talk to this team about moral victory. They won't have it. They took the Colts' best shot and were still standing in the 15th round ready to make a push. But it still amounts to a hard week of work gone by the boards.
Yes, there were mistakes. There were the interceptions. There was the draining of the clock at the end of the first half that Gary Kubiak said he would handle differently next time. There were some defensive issues in dealing with one of the greatest quarterbacks in history. But there was also the feeling that the Texans are better than ever, even with the injuries.
When Jerome Mathis returned the (second) opening kickoff for a TD, I thought the roof would blow off the stadium. But Manning is a menace. The Texans got a little heat on him as the game progressed, but not nearly enough. And the running game, which was outstanding last time, was nowhere to be found. How many people thought that it could be a landslide loss when the Colts went up 24-10 and 30-17? Not the guys in Deep Steel Blue.
Where they go from here is a mystery. The injury report is a nightmare. But the defensive side of the ball has almost all of its assets in tact. And as long as Matt Schaub is slinging the pigskin, you get the impression that this team has a fighting chance to continue to make this the best Texans season yet.
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