Case Hit With Collateral Damage In Houston
By Emin Avakian
From the looks of it, Texans former Coach Gary Kubiak did not believe starting quarterback Case Keenum was capable of overcoming a deficit and moving the ball downfield at a faster pace than usual.
Kubiak said nearly as much when he had told reporters, "I just thought Matt gave us the best chance to win. I thought Case was struggling and we were down by 14. We needed to go as fast as we could go and I knew Matt would go in there and play well. Unfortunately, we didn't finish the deal."
Of course, Matt being Matt Schaub. Kubiak gave a similar response when asked about benching Keenum for Schaub after the Week 11 loss to Oakland.
The Texans suffered a similar fate this time around--their 11th consecutive loss, dating back to mid-September. There was a silver lining, however, and it came from the once-franchise quarterback. Unlike his performance versus Oakland, which was the first time Schaub saw game action since giving up the starter's role in week seven, the pro-bowl quarterback looked to be healthy again in his second relief appearance of the season, as he completed 17-of-29 for 198 yards.
Schaub wasted little time in taking control of the offense, and leading the Texans on two consecutive scoring drives. His touchdown to Garrett Graham capped off a 7-play, 76-yard drive and cut the Jaguars deficit down to 24-17. A field-goal on Houston's next possession brought the team within four points, but Jacksonville answered with a field goal of its own and its defense came through in the latter stages of the game, forcing the Texans to a turnover-on-downs, an interception, and a sack to end the game on their final three possessions.
There's no doubting that the offense showed flashes of recent years. Andre Johnson continued a stellar season with a monster game (13 receptions for 154 yards).
The thing about silver linings is that they try to offer up a positive to an otherwise negative whole. Fact is, the Texans haven't won a game in three months and their now-fired head coach has erased all confidence from, potentially, next year's starting quarterback for a guy the front office is trying to get rid of. And this has happened twice.
Keenum didn't do enough to stay in the game, and he admitted as much, but he didn't get much help, either. The Texans racked up 14 penalties for a record-breaking 177 yards. There's a glaring reason why a team commits costly penalty after costly penalty and has dropped the previous seven games by seven points or less: lack of discipline.
"We had 14 penalties or something and it’s just ridiculous," Kubiak said. "There were huge penalties; down the field, pass interference penalties and those types of things. It’s on me. I am the coach. It’s discipline and it’s just ridiculous. There is no way you should make that many penalties in a football game.”
What can be said about the Texans that hasn't already been said. They just got swept in the season series to Jacksonville, a team predicted by many to win two games this year. On the other hand, nobody predicted Houston to be the league's worst team with three weeks remaining in the season. And they might have just squandered their best opportunity to snap a nightmarish losing streak. Their next three games: Colts, Broncos, Titans. Yikes.