It was as simple as winning just two games in the final four weeks. The Houston Texans entered Foxboro to take on the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football on December 10th. They sat 11-1 and had a strangle hold on the top spot in the AFC. All they needed to do was win two games and they would clinch that spot and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Houston is known for saying “This is the biggest game in franchise history.” They said that in 2009 and 2010 when the Indianapolis Colts visited Reliant Stadium and actually played very well against them and won in 2010. On that cold Monday Night earlier in the month, everyone coined that game the biggest in franchise history.
The Texans stunk up Gillette Stadium that night and lost 42-14. Many including myself thought they would have won that game and showed the NFL this is their year.
Even with the loss, all the Texans had to do was win two games. They had division rival the Colts twice and the Minnesota Vikings left with the Indianapolis and Vikings game at home. Seemed easy enough to accomplish that feat and get the first round bye and home field.
They took care of business against Indianapolis on December 16th, but failed miserably against a mediocre Vikings team that they should have beat. That set up literally “The biggest game in franchise history” in Lucas Oil Stadium against the Colts today.
The Texans were 0-10 in Indianapolis in franchise history and had everything to play for. A simple win would have put them with the ultimate regular season goal with home field advantage. The Colts had nothing to play for as their fifth seed was clinched last week in a 20-13 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.
Instead of capitalizing when it mattered, the Texans flopped once again under pressure. Indianapolis beat the Texans up on both sides of the ball and even on special teams and routed them 28-16. Matt Schaub was sacked four times and the running game was not existent for them.
Andre Johnson who had a huge day against Indianapolis just two weeks ago had yet another big game, but his teammates didn’t help. Johnson finished with 12 catches for 141 yards. His 12 receptions equaled the rest of his teammates combined.
Reality is the Texans have no one else to blame but themselves. They had every chance to put home field advantage away and at least host a divisional game. Now, they will host the Cincinnati Bengals next week in the Wild Card round and have to travel on the road with a rematch with New England if they escape the upstart Bengals.