Since their starting quarterback was lost for the year in early November, the Texans have struggled mightily. Within games they kept things competitive for the most part. But, to date, they still only prevailed once, against Arizona.
The last two weeks have been a different story. The injury epidemic, and other issues has them challenged to stay in games, albeit against the best of the AFC.
The latest loss in this Watson-less stretch of contests for the Texans was a lot like the last one. A deep playoff contender was too much for them to deal with on both sides of the ball, and the Texans found themselves on the wrong end of a lopsided score.
The Christmas showdown with the Steelers featured a few bright spots but otherwise it was a washout as the Texans will have to win next week to avoid finishing in the cellar of the division.
Let’s start with the good stuff. David Quessenberry made his NFL debut. That alone can bring you a smile and some cheer on this day. He was part of a line rotation that run-blocked well enough for the Texans to rack up over 170 rushing yards and help Alfred Blue hit the century mark for the first time in two years.
Then there’s DeAndre Hopkins. For a while it was looking like he wouldn’t get a catch. Be he erupted on the Texans only scoring drive and made another toe tapping touchdown catch that’s as good as any on his career highlight reel.
Injuries were again a big part of the story. T.J. Yates left the game briefly late in the first half. As Taylor Heinike came into the game I noted how there have been ten quarterback changes in the Bill O’Brien era due to injury. Unthinkable.
Yates came back but the offense only scored once for the second consecutive week. The running game did its thing, but in spurts. Meanwhile, the Houston defense had difficulty slowing down Le’veon Bell. When they did, Ben Roethlisberger was helping the Steelers convert on seven of 12 third downs. It was a frustrating night that slowly slid out of control.
Now comes the finale. The Texans will try to win for the third straight time in Indy. This version of the Colts has only three wins, one of them against the Texans. If Indianapolis prevails, Houston finishes last. And before you go ‘upside’ on a potential last place schedule, remember in this league that only affects two games. Hardly a wonderful consolation prize.