Vandermeer's View: Down but "not out of anything"


This is the business we've chosen.

Isn't that what Hyman Roth said in Godfather II when explaining there were certain things that men in his profession just had to find acceptable and work through?

Of course the context is different but Bill O'Brien just might be saying something similar to his coaching staff after the latest Texans set back.

In a 31-21 loss to Philadelphia, the Texans saw their season slide below .500 again and slip into serious condition with seven games to go. The margin for error is paper thin, the injuries are piling up and time is running out for the big bounce back campaign we were all hoping for.

Against Philly, the Texans had some big breaks. We thought one of them was Nick Foles leaving with a shoulder injury. But in came Mark Sanchez, who won his rookie debut at NRG Stadium in 2009 with the Jets, and there was virtually no drop off in the passing attack.

Sure the Texans had three picks and won the turnover battle 4-1, but it didn't matter. A missed second half field goal and an eight minute, 15 play fourth quarter drive helped send the Texans into the bye trying to solve some of the same issues that have hurt them throughout the campaign.

O'Brien knows that his team can't keep committing drive killing penalties on offense and governor's pardon type penalties on defense.

The offense had two false starts on a somewhat promising opening series. The defense was all but off the field when an illegal use of hands call, away from the ball, helped extend the 15 play dagger in the fourth quarter. There were nine penalties total.

And even though Arian Foster has been having another Pro Bowl campaign, the offense, though pretty clean today, hasn't been putting together consistent performances. Today's 300 yard total at home was an overall disappointment against a team that gives up over 380 per game. Forget the yardage though. The offense needed to put up more than 14 points (the other same came on A.J. Bouye's pick 6 with the help of pressure from J.J. Watt).

They still have a chance to surprise us. Four of the last seven are at home. Four games are in the division. And the toughest road game is Indy. The other two are in Cleveland and Jacksonville.

"We're still certainly not out of anything." O'Brien said after Sunday's loss. He cited the Eagles themselves, who were 3-5 last year before going on a division winning run. He didn't bring up Washington, which two years ago started 3-6 and captured the NFC East (didn't we talk about that last season?).

This is a league of opportunities. The Texans must rest up, regroup and find a way to take advantage of what's in front of them.

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