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VanderBlog: Holiday Healing on the Agenda


Well, that wasn't what we were hoping for. 

But it's over. And the Texans are still right in the playoff mix. Had they won, their prospects would be that much better.

But guess what? They still would have a lot more work to do before you could be watching them play football in mid-January.

No one is going to make excuses. The injury big is biting hard. Already without their quarterback, star rookie edge player, star rookie receiver and leading tackler, to name a few, the Texans lost leading sack man Jonathan Greenard and safety Jimmie Ward, early on.

Cleveland capitalized with a gigantic passing day, including a career performance from Amari Cooper and a fountain-of-youth-drinking Joe Flacco, who looked as good as just about any opposing quarterback we've seen at NRG Stadium in the last few years.

The Texans offense had trouble crossing midfield for most of the first three quarters. They made life difficult for themselves with penalties that put them behind the sticks and pressures that thwarted drives.

To say Houston needs C.J. Stroud and the November passing attack back is an understatement. The Texans had to all but abandon the run as they fell behind. Devin Singletary came into the game as the third highest rushing back in the NFL since he began starting in week nine. But the Browns' onslaught took over.

We know this is a week-to-week league. Next Sunday presents a whole new challenge. Derrick Henry, who the Texans held to a historically low performance last week, woke up against Seattle in a tight loss for Tennessee. It's another gut-check game and the Texans have to be ready.

All their goals are still out there for them to accomplish. It's another big week for the coaching staff and athletic trainers to get all hands on deck and ready for business for the final two contests. With a precious opportunity in front of them, the Texans will do all they can to take advantage.

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