Team Record for Penalties Dooms Houston Texans in Baltimore

By Mike Kerns
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

It’s difficult to remember the last time the Houston Texans came out with a worse offensive game plan than they did today in Baltimore. I predicted that Houston would drop this one, but never did I see this butt kicking coming.

From the moment they were unable to capitalize in the red zone on their first two trips there, the dark cloud that was looming never seemed to dissipate. The moment that anything positive happened for Houston, the yellow flags seemed to nullify it. They tied a franchise record with 113 yards on 14 penalties. On the road, against the defending champs in a building Houston has never won in, that’s difficult to overcome.

I’m sure you’ll hear plenty about it from me this week on my problems with how this team is coached, but to put it briefly, they say a team that commits numerous penalties is the sign of a team that isn’t coached well. Never have truer words been spoken.

Even though the game plan was just awful, the play of Matt Schaub is inexcusable. I’ve been as forgiving on the play of Schaub as anyone in Houston. But there is very little good I can say about his showing this week, even if his starting left tackle was sitting this one out. Three of his four interceptions this season have resulted in touchdowns and two of them were returned as a pick six. That’s inexcusable for a multi-year veteran like him.

It felt like the team had no plan whatsoever on the offensive side of the ball. At no time was this more obvious than late in the game where they were two yards short on a third and long play and hurried to the line to go for it on fourth down but no one knew what was going on and a timeout was called. I said last week that Schaub would never succeed in this offense as long as Gary Kubiak has him handcuffed, and this was the perfect example.

The team could have ran up and run a quick play with the defense off balance and just let Schaub make a play. But he has to wait for Kubiak to give him the play call after a timeout, and the Ravens are able to see exactly what they’re doing.

These are the kinds of things that have infuriated Texans fans for the duration of Kubiak’s tenure in Houston. So while the casual fan likes to blame the quarterback for everything, you’ll never convince me that the biggest problem with this team isn’t what I referenced above.

The defense looked unstoppable at the beginning of the game, but the offense being basically a zero all day eventually doomed the play of the defense. By the fourth quarter, they looked like a unit in disarray that simply didn’t care anymore and had already checked out mentally.

The special teams did their usual in giving up a game changing play by surrendering an 82-yard punt return for a touchdown from Tandon Doss. The evidence was damning when you watch the replay and see four guys who could have made the tackle and simply whiffed.

About the only positive in this entire game was that Randy Bullock hit all three of his field goals. After all of the griping about him the past two weeks, this seems of little consequence with all of these other glaring issues the team is facing.

The Texans have a much better team on paper than Baltimore, and this is the kind of loss that can put a team in a large funk. With Seattle and San Francisco on deck, things don’t get any easier and could start a downward spiral to their season.

By now, I’m not sure if this team has the kind of coaching they need to get over the top. It feels like a wild card win is the ceiling for a Gary Kubiak and Matt Schaub led football team. An overreaction? Maybe, but by now we have enough results on the field to say that with some confidence.

Mike Kerns is a Houston Texans writer for Follow him on TwitterFacebook and on Google. You can also listen to his Texans Luv Ya Steel Blue podcast on iTunes.

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