Houston Texans Aren't Grabbing the Season by the Horns

By Sam Horn

The Houston Texans have been struggling this season. Their offense has sputtered at moments and their defense hasn’t been much better. It didn’t help that the Texans were without Brian Cushing and Arian Foster against the Oakland Raiders Sunday. In their eighth loss of the season, Houston simply haven’t lived up to the expectations built up from last year.

Last season, the Texans were one of the premier teams in the AFC. Their offense was feared by many with a running game that could spread defenses apart with ease. While their offense might be struggling to create some consistency this season, their defense has greatly improved from last season.

In 2012, the Texans ranked seventh in the NFL last season in total yards allowed per game (323). In 2013, however, Houston is first in the NFL in total yards allowed per game with an average of 280 going into the game against the Raiders. But even though the Texans don’t have an impressive record, their defense has been extraordinary.

Houston has had no problems shutting down offenses until now. When they faced the lowly Raiders, who averaged 331 yards of offense per game going into the matchup, the Texans couldn’t find an answer for covering quarterback Matt McGloin.

McGloin, who had only played in one game this season, burned the Texans’ secondary. The 23-year-old Penn State product threw for 197 yards and three touchdowns. Not bad for the second game of his young career.

Not only could the Texans not stop McGloin and the Raiders’ passing attack, but they couldn’t hold Oakland’s running game to under 100 yards. The Raiders ran for 165 yards, thanks in large part to Rashad Jennings, who ran for 150 yards. He even had one run that went for 80 yards.

The absence of Foster in the Texans’ running game has hurt them. Backup Ben Tate hasn’t been able to fill Foster’s giant shoes, as he’s only run for 455 yards this season with one touchdown. Against the Raiders, the Texans were only able to run for 90 yards on the ground.

The Texans’ stingy defense and explosive spread offense has faltered lately, and their schedule doesn’t look promising in the upcoming weeks. They face the pass happy New England Patriots on Dec. 1 and will then face the Indianapolis Colts on Dec. 15.

In a season that was virtually lost when Cushing and Foster went down with serious injuries early on, the Texans will try and salvage anything they can. Fortunately for them, they face the Jacksonville Jaguars on Nov. 24 and Dec. 5.

After losing eight straight games and a disappointing loss against the Raiders, the Texans can only hope next season will treat them more favorably.

Sam Horn is a Seattle Seahawks writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @samhorn7, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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