Vandermeer's View: Texans fall hard, need to recover fast

The Texans came to Atlanta hoping to even their record and serve notice that they were surefire AFC South contenders if not more.

Instead they put up one of the worst performances in the history of the franchise, coming out of the game with many questions about where they're headed.

Three turnovers in the first half and an inability to run the ball put heat on a defense that needed all the help it could get against one of the best offenses in the NFL. The Texans did a decent job against all-world receiver Julio Jones but it's the rest of the Falcons including Devonta Freeman (3 TDs for second consecutive week) that did them in.

Matt Ryan got the ball out fast and Houston didn't fare well against the quick passing attack. And Freeman and Terron Ward had some devastating, gashing runs that helped blow the game open.

But it was the Houston offense that really struggled. Ryan Mallett and his receivers were off the mark. There were more drops and missed targets. That, combined with the running game stalling, made for an afternoon that slid out of control after the first quarter.

At one point the Texans were down 42-0. It was a whitewashing never seen with this franchise before. Brian Hoyer came off the bench to spark a three touchdown rally but a fumble return for a touchdown on the final play put an exclamation point on the day. There's really no time for reflection. We're four days from the next tilt as Goliath, I mean Indianapolis, invades NRG stadium. A win would put the Texans right back on track and make the Atlanta game seem like a bad dream.

But a loss would be a kick in the gut to the squad's aspirations to contend for a division crown. Sure it's early but it could get late in a hurry if the Texans don't dramatically improve on an extremely rough afternoon of professional football.

The Texans faced the Falcons in Atlanta during Week 4.

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