Vandermeer's View: Halfway point progress


If you could have played Let's Make a Deal in the preseason and Wayne Brady (or Monty Hall for those of us more seasoned) had offered a 5-3 record at the halfway point over door number two, you would have taken the five wins for sure.

Yes, even with J.J. Watt and a healthy team, there's no doubt you would have been happy about that record going into the bye. And that's where we are. Of course, like most schedules, it always plays out differently than you thought.

The Texans have been perfect at home against solid competition. That's right, I said it. The Chiefs are 5-2, the Lions and Titans are 4-4 and the Colts are the Colts. Houston has hardly dominated, but the most important stats lies under the letters 'W' and 'L' and the numbers read '5' and '0' at NRG Stadium.

Away from the building has, of course, been another story. The Texans have lost in tortuous road environments and struggled to be competitive. That has to change if the Texans are going to put together another 5-3 record in their final eight games.  Health has been severely lacking. More bodies left the field Sunday including Will Fuller V, Jaelen Strong  and Vince Wilfork. The bye is a terrific time to mend wounds and get as many hands on deck as possible as Houston will have five road games to deal with in the back half of the season.

Sunday's win over Detroit was hardly picture perfect. But the Texans played outstanding defense against a clutch Lions team that was never out of the game. And as good as the defense was, it was the offense that flexed some muscle with a ground-and-pound final two drives that resulted in a much needed field goal and a clock-killing march that enabled the Texans to take a knee following the two minute warning.

Bliss.

Brock Osweiler made good throws to help get the Texans the lead, while the running game was slow out of the gate. His late second quarter pick was the only real downer in another bounce back game. He's 5-3 as a starter but everyone with a pulse understands that this is a collective effort. The entire organization has contributed to a tie for the second best start through eight games in the history of the team.

Act one is over. Rest and reflection are needed to give this squad the B-12 shot it needs for the stretch run. The Texans still seek the consistency that's eluded them on offense. They have to prove they can move the ball on the road. And they must find a way to be consistently solid against the run.

There's a ton of drama left including dates at Indy, Green Bay and the showdown with the red-hot Raiders in Mexico City. Bill O'Brien knows that an NFL season is defined by second half play. The curtain opens again against the Jags in two weeks and the Texans need the time off to heal and improve.

Check out photos of the game as the Texans took on the Lions at NRG Stadium.

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