After the first three games of the season, you may have feared the Texans were not nearly talented enough to be competitive in the NFL. Then they won two out of three and you felt better. After describing every moment of the loss to Tennessee, I feel like there is a lot to look forward to talent-wise, but that this team too often relapses into a mistake mode. Unforced errors like four of the five turnovers Sunday are ruining the chances of this being a good season.
Call this David Carr's first benching. Two weeks ago he was pulled in Dallas, but the game was basically over. Sunday, Sage Rosenfels came off the bench with a chance to pull it out and he almost did. If Pacman "I should have been suspended instead of playing" Jones doesn't get that johnny-on-the-spot pick off the deflection of Andre Johnson, it could have been a different day.
The defense was actually very good in the yardage department (second-best ever performance) and kept the Titans in check much of the day. Vince Young had pedestrian numbers, but made three big plays and didn't turn the ball over. Travis Henry came back down to earth after a career day against Washington. That's what is aggravating. Houston did what it needed to do on defense, but the game turned into a turnover fest.
Now we have a quarterback controversy on top of everything else. Gary Kubiak said quickly after the game that Carr would be the starter against the Giants. That didn't sit well with the fans on the post-game show and on the message boards.
The fans and media will not easily let go of images of Rosenfels leading the team back into the game. But Kubiak is not afraid to make unpopular decisions and is determined to get his new pupil to reach his full potential.
We all know David Carr can play well. We just saw it last week. But we've also seen days like Sunday when he coughs the ball up and makes some questionable decisions. We all know he, like every quarterback, needs a good running game and adequate pass protection.
But Kubiak's mantra heading into the Titans tilt was to play a "clean game." Carr made it dirty on the first drive with a head scratching pick to safety Chris Hope. Two more turnovers earned him a front row seat for the Sage Rosenfels show.
This was a very winable game. To be minus-5 in the turnover department, give up a punt return for a touchdown, rack up 10 penalties and only lose by 6 is actually amazing. Whether it's Carr or Rosenfels, if the Texans cut down on the silly mistakes, they'll make some noise in this league. But right now mistakes are part of their identity on the road. They have lost 11 straight away from home, which is the longest streak of that kind in the league. They'll get two more shots at correcting that in the next two weeks.