The longest losing streak the Texans have ever seen is a rocky ride filled with mistakes, injuries, near misses and big problems.
The latest installment was a close-but-no-cigar affair that had some unforgettable bright spots but ultimately wound up on the wrong side of the ledger, adding to the most frustrating campaign the club has ever put together.
The three worst seasons this team has endured are 2005, 2010 and 2013 (so far). They all share one common theme; they were supposed to be good.
'05 and '10's squads were projected to at least contend for the playoffs. This season's forecast included a possible Super Bowl run with playoff reservations being a mere formality.
But the NFL has a way of neutralizing the contenders and lifting up those that want to crash the party. It's a league of parity and the Texans are unintentionally doing their fair share to give other teams hope and wins.
What's gone wrong?
It's hard to put a finger on where this started. It's gotten to a point in which injuries can be blamed for many of the recent issues. But the record should show that the Texans were a mostly healthy team when the slide started and injuries have been an added ingredient in it's continuation. Certainly colossal pass play errors and key miscues on defense and special teams got the ball rolling. Now, the banged up bodies have helped it swell into a greased sleigh ride toward the bottom of the standings.
The last three games were outstanding efforts to reverse the trend. Case Keenum has been a shot in the arm. He's a young player trying to get his team wins. But his inexperience combined with banged up backfield have hampered the cause. Still, seeing Keenum develop, with his exciting play making and positive demeanor will go down as one of the biggest and most welcome 'finds' of the year.
Andre Johnson has five touchdown catches in the last two games. Sunday's scoring receptions were as good as any in his career. He might set a career high before it's all said and done.
DeAndre Hopkins continues to show great promise and D.J. Swearinger is starting to pay dividends in his rookie season. As for J.J. Watt, he's still making mammoth plays with two forced fumbles on Sunday.
Yet, the team continues to lose.
The injury list is growing and Rick Smith will probably have another busy week searching for healthy bodies. Gary Kubiak will be back soon to analyze how to get the running game firing and pass protection improved with a damaged ball carrying group. Wade Phillips has his hands full with a defense that's short on health.
The nightmare has to end. The men involved work too hard to be stuck in this rut. But here they are, on the wrong track, racing out of playoff contention. You might think they need to readjust their goals. However, the only goal has been to win each Sunday. Oakland is next. And they won't go down easy.