There's nothing fun about losing to Dallas. Not in football, not in anything.
The Texans need to shake off their 34-0 preseason loss quickly and completely. They left Arlington with a laundry list of things that will need to go a whole lot better when they take the field against New Orleans to start the season.
The defense began the game with a three-and-out and then it all went downhill from there. Had the starters been able to play all night, it's anybody's guess how things might have turned out. But the Dallas defense swarmed early and often as the Texans attack never got off the launching pad, no matter who was in the game.
Bill O'Brien knew the Cowboys would be a tough test and the Texans could never match their level of performance. All three phases made mistakes and failed to get anything consistently positive going.
The best part is it doesn't count. If you're going to be taught a hard lesson, it's best to do it in the preseason bubble. Maybe they learned some things that can really help them when they start playing for keeps.
There was a steep price. Lamar Miller suffered what O'Brien called a "serious" knee injury. And Zach Fulton had to leave the game as well.
It was a strange night. While the contest was going on, the news broke that Andrew Luck was retiring. It was almost surreal. While facing the team the Texans would consider their biggest rival, if they played them more, the field general of the team that's given them the most problems called it quits.
A great adversary, a Houstonian too, stepped away from the game, prompting salutes and debates. The AFC South underwent a seismic development during a preseason game.
These Colts will be much better than the Luck-less team of 2017, but it's hard to think that the absence of one of the best quarterbacks in the game won't dramatically affect the outcome in the division.
As far as O'Brien goes, he knows that Luck or no Luck, the Texans have to be so much sharper than they were early on in the Dallas game to get to where they want to go.
Turnovers, special teams errors and defensive lapses all figured into the game. The lessons learned must cement quickly. Opening day is in two weeks and there's little time to get things right for one of the toughest openers the team has ever encountered.
Houston Texans take on the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium for the third game of the 2019 NFL Preseason.