Week 10 of the NFL season for the Houston Texans ended the same way the six games prior to Sundays contest ended — with a loss. The seven straight losses are a franchise-record for the Texans, and that’s not a record any member of the team wanted to break.
After a fantastic season in 2012, the Texans are looking like one of the worst teams in the NFL so far in 2013. They boast a gaudy 2-7 record which is now only one game ahead of the Jacksonville Jaguars who have been said to be the worst team throughout the season. The Texans may right now actually be the worst team in the entire NFL after the Jaguars were finally able to get a win and the Texans keep on losing.
On Sunday the struggles for the Texans continued as things started to go downhill for the Texans from the start. Arizona Cardinals linebacker John Abraham knocked the ball away from quarterback Case Keenum, and Matt Shaughnessy was able to scoop and score only 14 seconds into the game. The fumble recovery for a touchdown was a prelude to how this game would end for the Texans and sums up their last seven games that have ended with a loss.
Running back Arian Foster was unavailable for the game and was eventually announced finished for the season due to a back injury. Not having Foster on the field is a huge hit to the offense as Ben Tate will start the rest of the season and only was able to accumulate 55 rushing yards against the Cardinals. Foster has been an NFL star throughout his entire career. Without Foster the chances of the Texans winning another game this season get even slimmer. Don’t get me wrong; Tate is a solid runner who’s actually leading the league in yards after contact, but he doesn’t have the game changing ability that Foster has been able to bring to the table.
The quarterback, Keenum, threw for three touchdowns and no interceptions in the loss. Since starting for the team, Keenum’s play hasn’t been horrible and appears to give the Texans at least a shot at winning. The only thing that is preventing Keenum from carrying his team to a win is his success rate on third down. Against the Cardinals, Keenum and the Texans were only able to convert on 6-of-16 third down attempts. The third down conversion rate is the biggest obstacle Keenum must overcome to get the team out of its slump, and with no Foster to hand the ball to Keenum needs to play at an elite quarterback level from here on out.
The only shining star on offense as of late has been receiver Andre Johnson. After a phenomenal Week 9 performance, Johnson came into the game against the Cardinals with a tough match-up against young standout cornerback, Patrick Peterson. Peterson was able to hold Johnson to five catches for 37 yards but two of the catches went for crucial touchdowns. Whether Johnson is having a monster game in yardage or getting the scores the team needs, he is the biggest offensive asset the Texans have. Keenum must look toward Johnson as often as he can and the let the star wideout do the heavy lifting.
The Texans have all but mathematically eliminated themselves from the divisional title chase and playoff spot. They will look to end the franchise’s worst losing streak against the Oakland Raiders next week, but don’t be surprised if the under-performing Texans flounder once again. It may in fact be time for the Texans to give up on the 2013 season and look towards building their team back to dominance next year.