I don't like making excuses, so I don't want to sound like I'm making any for the Texans, who lost to an impressive Indianapolis Colts team Sunday at Reliant Stadium.
But I will say this: Yesterday's defeat showed more about the Texans' heart and resiliency than any game this season, including the come-from-behind road win at Carolina.
The Texans were in position to mount the go-ahead drive with around two minutes remaining in the game after trailing by 17 points late in the third quarter.
This was after the pregame inactives list was announced, and Pro Bowler Andre Johnson and backup running back Ron Dayne were included. This was after Cedric Killings' frightening neck injury in the first half that paused the game several minutes. And this was after starting running back Ahman Green left the game in the second quarter with a knee injury and did not return.
In fact, despite the Texans playing the fourth quarter without players who accounted for 84.3 percent of their rushing offense and 46.7 percent of their passing attack, the team scored 14 points and held the ball for 8:49 in the final period. That's called battling back.
Matt Schaub completed his final 14 passes of the game, including 10 consecutive fourth quarter completions to six different receivers for 77 combined yards and a touchdown. In the fourth quarter this season, Schaub is a perfect 15-of-15 for 124 yards and a touchdown. His 123.3 fourth quarter passer rating is third in the NFL and is tops among AFC quarterbacks. Schaub also ranks third in the NFL with a 117.2 passer rating on third down.
But it doesn't take stats to realize that Schaub is the answer behind center. The guy is a fighter, which makes me feel good about the team's prospects this year no matter how outrageous today's injury report turns out to be (watch coach Gary Kubiak's Monday presser live on Texans TV on HoustonTexans.com at 3:30 p.m. CT).
Bottom line is that the Texans had a whole lot of reasons to give up on Sunday, but they found more reasons to keep battling. There are no moral victories. Kubiak made that clear after the game. But a lesser team would have folded, and the fact that the Texans hung tough bodes well for the future of this team.
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