EDITOR'S NOTE:Texans fan Alan J. Burge will continue to write a "Voice of the Fan" column throughout the 2005 season. His latest installment is below. Alan's views do not necessarily reflect the views of the organization.
Same old, same old
Who said preseason didn't matter?
Two columns ago, after the highly forgettable preseason ending loss at Tampa Bay, I wrote something to the effect that there were some basic and fundamental problems with the offense that need to be rectified pronto or else we are in for a long season.
Eight out of 10 emails in my inbox after that column read something to the effect, "relax, it's only preseason."
Well, no offense to the 80 percent of the experts out there but the Texans' offense was truly offensive once again against Buffalo and quite frankly I'm getting pretty tired of watching this train wreck.
The Texans weren't supposed to win this game, but showing some semblance of an offense would have been nice. This effort was truly embarrassing and there's no other way to spin it. Was this 2002 all over again?
We were assured that the quicker timing routes and shorter drops by David Carr would alleviate the sack problem. Wrong. We were told that moving Andre Johnson around in motion or in the slot or wherever, would keep the pressure off him and free him up to make plays. Wrong.
But it's only one game, right?
This is the Texans' fourth season and they should have left the ineptitude and keystone cops style of offense in the dust long ago.
The Texans managed barely 100 yards of offense and turned the ball over five times. The defense bent but didn't totally break, giving the offense numerous opportunities to get back into the game in the second half, but there was no chance. The Texans' offense is broken.
Not being able to protect the quarterback remains the single biggest failure of this franchise to date. Whether that's due to the system, the blocking schemes, or the personnel is the endless debate. At least there was an excuse when we were cheering for Demingo Graham and Jimmy Herndon.
The offensive coordinator deserves criticism. The o-line deserves criticism. David Carr deserves criticism. So do receivers who don't look back for balls that hit them in the shoulder blade 25 yards down field.
Carr has been forcing balls more in the last three weeks than at any time in his career. Carr's first pick was an ill advised throw reminiscent of the ball he tried to force to Andre Johnson in the end zone during the Dallas preseason game. The interception on the long toss to Johnson in the end zone at 2:58 in the third quarter was into triple coverage. No wide receiver other than Johnson caught a pass in this game, and Johnson only caught three for 18 yards. That's not a recipe for success.
The defense is not above criticism either. Once again, there was no pass rush and no disruption or mayhem. But there was a rookie quarterback running around like he owned the place. Will the real Capers defense ever emerge?
After a brutal first quarter and just when it appeared the Texans might be able to find themselves, the defense allowed the Bills to roll downfield on an 11-play, 66-yard drive for a touchdown just before the half to regain a 12-point lead.
Antwan Peek just missed what could have been a game turning interception early in the second half but other than that the linebackers were quiet.
Seth Payne was called for three penalties in the first half. Phillip Buchanon was victimized early but seemed to recover as the game progressed.
As in any loss, coaching decisions are also free game. Running Domanick Davis off tackle on a 2nd and 19 at 7:55 of the third quarter was a major head scratcher. Then, down by 12 points and faced with a fourth down and inches from their own 29 at 14:17 of the fourth quarter, Coach Capers elected to punt. Even though the Texans were in their own end of the field, they needed to score on that drive and that move showed what little confidence Capers has in his offense.
The white flag was finally raised when Capers decided to punt again at 5:55 of the fourth quarter on a fourth and three from the Texans 33. There was really nothing to lose on either of those fourth downs and it would have been nice to see the Texans try to score some points instead of tucking tail and running.
Harsh criticism is deserved in this case but we should always be there for this team. I can count on one hand the number of professional football games I've missed attending in Houston since the late 70s so I will never bail on this team. Win next week against Pittsburgh and all is forgotten, or at least set aside.
You can email Alan Burge at: firstname.lastname@example.org