While the masses of Houston have been doing their best Chicken Little impressions this week, there is more reasons than usual for the panic. Every team is going to have those bad games that they just don’t show up in and the Houston Texans are hoping this was theirs. But there are many other reasons to believe it’s more than that.
I’ve had people from out of market asking me why everyone is hand wringing so badly with a 2-1 record and the obvious answer is because besides about three total quarters this season, they’ve played like a top-10-in-the-draft kind of team.
Close victories are nothing to scoff at and I can’t stress the importance of being capable of winning those. In fact, Texans teams in the recent past have always found a way to lose those types of contests. The problem is the average margin of defeat over the last year.
Starting with the Green Bay game last season, after the 5-0 start, let’s take a look at how many times the Texans got dominated in each loss.
vs Green Bay Packers, week 5: 42-24
@ New England Patriots, week 14: 42-14
vs Minnesota Vikings, week 16: 23-6
@ Indianapolis Colts, week 17: 28-16
@ New England Patriots, AFC semifinals: 41-28
@ Baltimore Ravens, last Sunday: 30-9
Now, every loss hurts, of course. But when it’s just a tail kicking like Houston has consistently received against playoff teams the last calendar year, it’s not just hurtful, it’s rage inducing. An average margin of defeat of 18 points over that stretch is more than a red flag: It’s a trend.
What’s even worse is that the number of 18 points average margin of defeat is watered down due to some garbage time stat padding from the Texans. The Green Bay and both New England games were even worse than the final score indicated.
Even though Matt Schaub has become the face of all the team shortcomings over the last year, and he deserves plenty of it, the whole team has collectively played poorly in big games. Last time I checked, Schaub wasn’t a part of a defense giving up an average of 34 points per game over that stretch.
No one is excluded from the criticism in this angle. From the coaching all the way down to the special teams, this team has wet the bed against the elite competition for almost a year now. The last time they weren’t blown off the field against a team considered to be a contender was in their playoff loss to Baltimore that ended their 2011 season.
With yet another elite team coming into Reliant this Sunday, Houston will get another test in Seattle. The pressure on Schaub and Gary Kubiak has never been bigger than it is right now, and if they don’t perform, it’s only a matter of time before the torches and pitchforks come out demanding a change at both positions.
I’m not saying a close loss this weekend would be acceptable, as I don’t believe in moral victories, but it sure would be refreshing if the Texans at least looked like they belonged.