Let me preface this article with a brief statement. I know most of the readers here know by now that I live in Houston and am, obviously, a Texans guy. However, one thing I try to achieve here is the ability to stay objective. I’m not a homer and I try to be a fair writer. Not showing bias in my articles is what makes me more than just a blogger. So if I tear into a team, especially my home team, you can know that it’s the truth about how I feel.
In their last four games against NFL quarterbacks that are considered “elite,” the Texans have given up 149 points, 15 touchdowns and 1,334 yards through the air en route to a 1-3 record in those contests. Those quarterbacks are Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady.
Each time that the Texans were abused by those guys, there has been some sort of built-in excuse. Against Brees, it was that the defense was still learning Wade Phillips’ defensive scheme in a switch to the 3-4. That one was perfectly acceptable, and a 40-33 loss to the Saints early last year was easier to swallow.
Against Manning in week 3 this season, the excuse was that Houston went into prevent defense mode after building a big lead on the road and that was true, to a certain point. Manning was still getting his feel for the game back and the Texans offense was rolling. But the fact that Houston held on for the win made it no big deal.
In week 6 of this season, Houston put their undefeated 5-0 record on the line against the Packers, who had been struggling to click on offense. Then Aaron Rodgers took them to the woodshed in a 42-24 beat down on national television. Again, the excuses came out; Jonathan Joseph wasn’t healthy, Aaron Rodgers was just in a zone, etc. Again, most turned a blind eye to it and said “I’ll take 5-1 any day.”
But after last night, a sound beating that I had predicted via twitter, at the hands of Tom Brady continues the trend of struggling against top-tier quarterbacks, but seems to have ended the excuses. Some are still clinging to the “11-2 is still pretty damn good,” but ask Green Bay of last year how much a regular season record means. Or even the 2007 Patriots.
This has been an alarming trend that I’ve noticed far earlier than the cohorts in this fan base have. Sure, the record is nice, but you aren’t going to see the Jacksonville’s, Tennessee’s and Buffalo’s in the playoffs. You’re going to see, and have to beat, teams like Green Bay and New England. Teams that have quarterbacks that have been there before and make a habit out of shredding defenses; especially heralded ones such as Houston’s.
For all of the people piling on the Falcons as “pretenders,” you have to wonder why the Texans, before last night, weren’t getting the same treatment. Yes, they beat Denver and Chicago on the road as well as destroying the Ravens at home, but two of their three contests against top level quarterbacks have been embarrassments in prime time.
I’m still not ready to call the Texans a pretender, as if their offense is clicking, they can still play in a shoot out. Even last night, the defense settled in and got four consecutive stops but the offense couldn’t do anything. To think they’ll be able to get away with even a half like that in the postseason is pretty much accepting defeat.
I still think this is one of the top three teams in the AFC, but it all depends on match ups in the playoffs. I still think they’ll nail down the one seed in the conference, as they play the Colts twice and the Vikings at home the rest of the way. Winning two of three might be enough, but I think they can win all of them if they need to. But if they draw the Patriots in the playoffs, they’re likely to get another lesson from the team that has done it in prime time before.
The biggest gripe I hear from fellow Texans fans is the lack of national respect the team gets. Well, it’s because of things like this. Every time they’re on national television, they seem to wet the bed. That isn’t a coincidence and it tells me that this team isn’t ready for prime time. They’re very good; they just aren’t ready for prime time yet. Teams like Green Bay and New England have shown why.
Filed under: Houston Texans
Tagged with: Aaron Rodgers, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Drew Brees, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, Peyton Manning, Tennessee Titans, Tom Brady, Wade Phillips