EDITOR'S NOTE:Texans fan Alan J. Burge will be writing a "Voice of the Fan" column throughout the 2004 season. His latest installment is below. Alan's views do not necessarily reflect the views of the organization.
Remember all that excitement heading into Week 1?
That was the sound of the tires deflating on the Texans bandwagon. Are you still on?
Of course you are as I am and always will be, but it looks like the wagon is careening down a rocky mountain road at the moment. Speaking of Rocky Mountains, I'm going to the Denver game in November and I'm beginning to wonder if we'll be in the win column before then. That couldn't happen, could it? Hmmmm.
A range of emotions came over me yesterday as I watched the game. There was hope and despair, a little excitement and a lot of frustration bordering on outright anger.
The Texans had more first downs 24-18
The Texans had more rushing yards 112-94
The Texans had more passing yards (net) 274-172
The Texans ran 71 plays to the opponent's 50
The Texans won time of possession 31:50 - 28:10
The Texans only punted twice
Tell me all that before the game and I tell you we win by 10.
But then there's the minor detail of minus-two in turnovers, nine penalties, five sacks, and the killer special teams lapse that resulted in a kickoff return for a TD by Detroit.
Which leads to the argument that stats are for losers and the only important stat is that we lost.
Say all you want about play calling, poor coaching, lack of heart, lack of killer instinct, no pass rush, Marcus Coleman, Eric Brown, poor game planning, poor execution, conservative coach, predictable offense, porous defense, no bootlegs (can you tell I've been listening to the radio today?) The turnovers are still what are killing this team.
I'm not saying that any of the above are not a factor (some are), but I am saying that the turnovers are still the primary factor. Turnovers are drive killers and momentum killers and if you're looking for the primary reason for the Texans' 0-2 start, look no further than the minus 6 in turnover ratio. The Texans are not good enough yet to overcome such a deficit and expect to still win games, especially against the higher quality opposition we are about to face.
Speaking of higher quality opposition, does it seem as obvious to the rest of you as it does to me that other teams will continue to use the same defensive blueprint to stop the Texans until the Texans prove they can beat it? Detroit ran similar secondary packages yesterday as San Diego did in Week 1. Teams are keeping two safeties deep and forcing the Texans into more short routes by applying heavy pressure on Carr. Other teams appear to be willing to give the Texans the short to midrange stuff all the way down the field knowing that ultimately they will make a mistake or two (or three) and turn it over. So far that strategy has worked like a charm.
One other thing. We can't continue to have Domanick Davis touch the ball 36 times in a game and expect him to survive through mid-season. Spread the wealth. Find Billy Miller for a change. Use your WRs more. Do something; just please hold on to the ball when you do it. Hopefully Tony Hollings will return to action next week. And, memo to the defense: Make a stop when it counts, okay? Allowing 7 ½-minute, 80-yard drives in the fourth quarter when the game is still on the line is not a good thing.
At least we're not alone. The Texans are one of seven teams sitting at 0-2. The others are Buffalo, Miami, KC, Tampa Bay, Arizona and San Francisco. For some reason I find no solace in being part of that group. Washington, Denver, and Green Bay all had killer turnovers yesterday that cost them victories. The Skins coughed it up seven times.
Texans fans should be angry, as these were two winnable games. Vent and voice your displeasure, demand better performance, but my advice to all fans will always be to support the Texans through thick and thin and don't forget to cheer the good if you're going to jeer the bad. When the Texans come back to Reliant in Week 4, I have a feeling they are really going to need our support. The best fans are made during the worst of times.
Now it gets even more difficult as we travel to KC where I'm sure the 0-2 Chiefs are as angry as we are. They are looking at us as a get-well game and the Texans coming back to Reliant at 0-3 for the Raiders looks like a distinct possibility. That's not exactly the start most of us had envisioned. After three weeks, I was thinking absolute worst case would be 1-2. I guess that's still a possibility and that's why they play the games. Will the Texans surprise us when we least expect it? There's a simple solution to all of this and Al Davis said it the best: "Just win baby."
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