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Friday, December 23, 2011


Last year, the Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Houston Texans on a 50+ yard Hail Mary pass that was batted down by Glover Quin of the Texans...right into the waiting arms of Jaguars receiver Mike Thomas. The stunning setback put a dagger into the Texans' playoff hopes. Fans were beside themselves.

Josh Innes, a close personal friend of mine and a Houston sports talk host, remixed a recording of the call of a disgruntled fan named Gabriel to the tune of REM's "Everybody Hurts", aired while guest hosting The Jim Rome Show. Gabriel, who spoke with a fiery Latino accent, exclaimed, "NO MORE TEXANS!" during his call, in frustration and shock from the inexplicable defeat and collapsing Texans season. The audio clip was talk radio gold and has received repeated requests for an encore on Rome's show and Innes' show on SportsRadio 610 in Houston.


Last night, the 10-4, playoff bound, 2011 AFC South division champion Houston Texans traveled to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis to face the Peyton Manning-less, 1-13 Colts. The Texans have never won at Indianapolis.

That futility streak would continue. Fueled by several penalties (including, interestingly, a pass interference call on Quin), the hapless Colts rallied from a four point deficit by driving nearly 80 yards in the waning minutes of the game, ending in a Reggie Wayne touchdown reception from former Texans quarterback Dan Orlovsky in the final seconds. The Colts won 19-16.



The Texans' entire 10 year existence has been a exercise in futility. The franchise, which played its first game in 2002, never demonstrated a pulse until 2008. Opposing teams could all but certainly count on the Texans game on the schedule for a slam-dunk victory prior to that year. It did not have its first winning season until 2009.

The Texans appeared to have a breakthrough this season, clinching its division, and the first NFL playoff game in Houston in 18 years (when the Tennessee Titans used to be the Houston Oilers and Hall of Famer Warren Moon was the QB). Two weeks ago, the Texans were 10-3, tied for the best winning percentage in the AFC with the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens.

However, all progress has a cost. The Texans have been without Pro Bowl wide receiver Andre Johnson for most of the season due to nagging injuries. The first pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, Pro Bowl defensive end Mario Williams, was lost for the year, early in the season, due to a muscle tear. Last season's Most Valuable Player of the Pro Bowl, quarterback Matt Schaub, was lost for the season on a freak accident foot injury while attempting a quarterback sneak. The following week, long time underachiever and former Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart, Schaub's backup, fell off of the bench (apparently) and was lost for the year with a shoulder injury.

Matt Leinart, left, and Matt Schaub, right, out for the season. No more Matts...NO MORE TEXANS! 3


The Texans remained resilient. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips', "next man up" declaration became a rally cry among the Texans and their fans. Ironically, Phillips himself has missed some games due to a medical procedure. Rookie quarterback T.J. Yates, out of North Carolina stepped in after Leinart's injury and has, in general, played effectively.

This is what makes the Texans current two game losing streak, both to teams guaranteed to have losing records in 2011 (having been spanked, 28-13, by the Carolina Panthers last Sunday), particularly painful. The Texans appeared to be a team of destiny, overcoming obstacle after obstacle to win their division and have a shot at the AFC's top seed. Over the last two weeks, they have looked like the "same old Texans", finding inventive ways to lose games that they "should" win on paper.

T.J. Yates: the next man up. 5


Currently, the Texans chances of securing a first round bye are very slim. The Texans will need a victory over the Tennessee Titans on New Year's Day and lot of help from opponents of the Patriots, Ravens, and Steelers to have any chance of securing a bye, not likely. All the Texans can do is regroup, put the recent adversity in the rear-view mirror, identify and correct their errors, and try to treat the playoff-starved Houston fans the success they have been denied for nearly a generation. The next opponent is Tennessee. The "next man up" to step up is entirely up to the Texans.

The Texans have two choices in the playoffs: Next man up or NO MORE TEXANS! 4

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