Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys hurt big time. You can count off all the reasons – the Texans had a golden opportunity to go 3-0 for the first time in franchise history, they had a chance to make yet another “statement” (if you’re in to that kind of thing) to a large portion of the football-watching TV audience. There are many more reasons, of course.
But here’s why Sunday’s game hurts so bad – it was a loss to the Cowboys. That’s really it. Much like how there is virtually no rivalry between the players of these two teams, the loss doesn’t mean any more or less to the players as it does to any other team. In fact, let’s get a little perspective here. It wasn’t a division loss. It wasn’t even conference loss. You might think that’s some kind of loser’s mentality, but what it really is, is knowing what we really have in this team.
As I said prior to the game, if the Texans had come out and handled the Cowboys, today we’d be talking about what might be shaping up to be an elite NFL team. Instead, an underachieving, hugely-talented, and desperate Dallas squad came to town and did exactly what conventional NFL wisdom suggested they would do. Of course, they did it more convincingly than we are comfortable with – but the Texans somehow weren’t up to the challenge.
Still in the divisional driver’s seat
So now, the Texans sit at 2-1. They are still atop the AFC South. Of course, they’re tied in record with Tennessee and Indianapolis, but they have a better conference record than the Titans, and obviously they beat the Colts head-to-head. Houston needs to make hay while they can, because the schedule isn’t very forgiving as we look ahead. The team has three very winnable games in a row starting Sunday in Oakland (1-2), followed by home games against the Giants (1-2), and the Chiefs (3-0) who I don’t think anyone knows what to make of yet.
Same old problems persist
So, with that somewhat rosy look at what the loss to Dallas really meant, let’s get one thing straight… the Texans have problems. Big problems – and they’re the same old problems. As we have learned from watching this team during the Gary Kubiak/Rick Smith regime, any problems aren’t going to be fixed by looking outside the team. There won’t be any trades, there won’t be any free agent signings (though I have never for one second thought that Aaron Schobel was serious about retiring – I still think you might see him in a Texans uniform, especially with how inconsistent the pass rush is). That would be a departure from business as usual, which is the team simply “working hard to correct” their issues, and if things get really desperate – hold on to your hats – sitting a starter and letting the backup get a shot.
Pass rush is there one game, gone the next
Against the Colts, the Texans pass rush was relentless. Against the Redskins, it was effective at the right times, but inconsistent. Against the Cowboys, it was totally non-existent. I know pressure doesn’t necessarily equal sacks, but I can hardly remember a time when Tony Romo was even rushed on Sunday. Partially because there was no pass rush, and partially because the Cowboys came in with a plan to have Romo get rid of the ball quickly – which he did with ease because…
The Texans secondary is as bad early this year as the run D was early last year
If you recall, the Texans run defense was pretty bad to start last year. It was on pace to be historically bad, but they got it straightened out in a big way. This year, the Texans are giving up an alarmingly putrid 368.7 passing yards per game. Easily the worst in the NFL. The next team ahead of them? The Redskins, giving up 325.7 passing yards per game. That is an ENORMOUS difference between last and next-to-last.
Trial by fire – NOT working for Jackson
At this point, there isn’t a lot the Texans can do. Kareem Jackson is getting lit up week after week. The Texans insist on throwing him in the fire and letting him take his lumps, but at what cost? Sunday, unless I’m wrong – I believe Brice McCain was inserted into the game over Jackson, but it didn’t make any difference. The dominance continued.
Eugene Wilson is FINISHED
I’ve been bemoaning his play all year, and at this point the team has to give Troy Nolan a look with the first-teamers. How can he be any worse than Wilson has been? I don’t even know if it’s possible at this point. Wilson has been terrible in every facet of his game. His coverage is awful. His run defense is awful. The word awful doesn’t even begin to describe his tackling. It’s an abomination in both technique, and, inexplicably – effort. I can’t believe how many times I’ve seen Wilson try to shoulder tackle guys who weigh 40 pounds more than he does. At this point, he’s a joke. There’s no excuse for a veteran like him to be as terrible as he is right now.
What else can we really say at this point? The Texans got their heads kicked in by a talented team that needed a win in the worst way. The Texans didn’t have that same sense of urgency (at least it didn’t come across on television), but I don’t think that plays much into it. The Cowboys had a great gameplan, and they executed it. I imagine the gameplan went something like this… “their secondary is garbage, let’s exploit it.” Hey, it worked. Nice job.
I could go on and on about the pass rush giving the team nothing, about how the pass protection has suddenly evaporated, about how Steve Slaton has gone from one of the most dynamic, dangerous players in the NFL to a guy who could literally be released tomorrow and I wouldn’t even blink, or we could even talk about how the loss of Brian Cushing was a huge blow in this game (needed a guy to make a play when the defense was down, and Cushing was that guy last year).
In the end, it’s one game. It was ugly, and we all hate it – but it’s done. Well – unless you have close friends and/or family that are Cowboy fans – then, it never ends. Ever. It rings in your ear for the ages.
Let’s talk about disgusting, bottom-feeding human scum for a moment
One last ray of sunshine – for any Texans season ticket holders who sold your tickets to Cowboy fans – as Jacoby Jones would say, KILL yourselves. In the context of being a sports fan, you are the lowest form of human scum in the universe. The people who sit in your section who KNOW what you did shouldn’t even make eye contact with you when you make it to your next home game. You disgust me. What the hell do you have season tickets for if you’re not going to watch the Cowboys take on the Texans? It’s clearly not a financial issue, because – um – YOU HAVE SEASON TICKETS. Shame. Please pick another team to support… but more importantly – kill yourselves.