In the end, it wasn't enough.
The Texans played their hearts out. They held Kansas City to a manageable point total. They got the most yards for a team quarterback debut in franchise history. Their placekicker went three for three with two long range kicks. But ultimately, they made too many mistakes, had too many miscues and lost their fifth consecutive game.
This could have been one for the ages. Case Keenum gave Houston the spark Gary Kubiak was seeking as the Texans took a 10-7 lead on a 29 yard TD pass to DeAndre Hopkins in the second quarter. The defense then surrendered a 97 yard touchdown drive and the Texans were never the same. They lost for only the 3rd time in the Kubiak era when holding the opponent below 20 points (41-3).
The moment wasn't too big for Keenum. He looked comfortable and effective. But with the game on the line, the Chiefs' celebrated pass rush (5 sacks) went to work and forced two late fumbles, the final one snuffing out Houston's last stand.
Despite losing Brian Cushing to a knee injury, the Texans defense held up well in the second half. The goal line stand and Shilo Keo's pick helped give Houston the edge in turnovers they craved. But with Arian Foster out since the first quarter and the pass protection having issues, Keenum, even with his mobility, had a rough time.
There are some positives to build on. Keenum's performance, better defensive play than recent games. But this team has long outgrown the era of moral victories. This could have been a storybook win with a local legend at quarterback and a tribute to Bum Phillips. Instead, it's a loss that confirms the longest losing streak of Gary Kubiak's career in a season that is sliding downhill fast.
Now, the bye. Two weeks to get ready for a Colts team that leads the division and will be handful for the home team. We've now moved from seeking a win to get back on track to needing a miracle run to make the playoffs. It's not over and Kubiak will have to do his best coaching job ever if this squad is to somehow get back to the post season.