• Three games ago, sitting 5-3 for the first time in franchise history, the Houston Texans generated plenty of talk about being headed for the playoffs. Today, all they're headed for is last in the AFC South. (Check the standings. They're now tied with surging Tennessee for the bottom rung of the division.)
By now, everyone knows the story with these Texans. They have a fatal flaw. They can't finish. They start well, and have their big dreams, but they can't close out anyone or anything. It happened again for Houston on Sunday at home against the first-place and undefeated Colts. Up 17-0 in the first half of a game they had to win, the Texans tightened up and saw Indy reel off a 35-3 run en route to a 35-27 victory.
Three games in a row now, against the Colts in Indy in Week 9, and at home against Tennessee and Indy in Weeks 11-12, the Texans have teased but come up small against a division opponent in a big-game setting. Houston (1-4 in the AFC South) had a pair of fourth-quarter leads to protect in the games against Indianapolis, and it managed a fourth-quarter tie against the Titans. But they were losses all, taking the Texans from 5-3 to 5-6 and virtually out of playoff contention in a heartbeat.
You have to wonder what more Texans owner
As December dawns, the Texans are again toast. They should be in the market for a new face of the franchise in the coming weeks, and it's obvious they're in desperate need of a heart transplant, as well. Four years is an eminently fair shot in today's NFL. Kubiak got his chance to make the Texans a winner, and he failed. Better than most, he knows he and his football team have wound up on the wrong side of the bottom line.
• Call the Colts fortunate if you wish, but it's their refusal to panic, no matter how dire the situation, that has led to winning a league-record five consecutive games despite trailing in the fourth quarter. I'm not sure what it would take to really bury Indy these days, but you could tell being down 17 points in the second quarter at Houston wasn't going to fluster
I honestly don't know which of Indy's latest feats is more impressive: The 20 consecutive regular-season wins, just one shy of New England's 2006-2008 league record, its NFL-record seventh straight year of at least 11 wins, or its 11-0 start under rookie head coach
Young converted three fourth downs and a third down on the
Young threw for 387 yards against the Cardinals, on 27 of 43 passing, with the one touchdown and no interceptions. Britt had a career-best game, with seven catches for 128 yards and his game-winning touchdown.
This is getting fun. Young is playing with supreme confidence, and the Titans are now remarkably a game under .500 after starting the season with six consecutive losses. Tennessee travels to 11-0 Indianapolis next week, but who's to say the Titans can't beat anybody at this point?
• Not a shabby game by Arizona quarterback
• Two more interceptions for Chicago's
Cutler now has 20 picks to go with his 16 touchdown passes, while Favre is up to 24 touchdowns against just three interceptions. Favre's in the running for Most Valuable Player; Cutler might win 'most disappointing' in a landslide.
• I wrote last week that Atlanta remained a dangerous, playoff-contending team even at 5-5, but it almost put the lie to that at home Sunday against the plucky, one-win Buccaneers. The Falcons survived 20-17 to get to 6-5 and keep their wild-card hopes on track, but the state of
Kudos to Falcons backup quarterback
• Who needs
I'm not sure Cincinnati can go real far in the AFC playoffs (against the likes of prolific passing teams such as Indianapolis, New England and San Diego) with
• Raise your hand if you had the Bengals running the table in their AFC North games this season. If there's a more surprising development than that little 6-0 spurt, I don't have a clue what it would be.
• Tampa Bay, Washington and Seattle all entered Week 12 winless on the road, at a combined 0-14. Only the Seahawks wound up ending their away-game skid, winning 27-17 at St. Louis, but for the longest time on Sunday, it looked as if the Bucs and Redskins might join Seattle in the road-win column.
• I think it's fair to say our Week 12 Sunday lacked sizzle. Of the 12 games played today, none matched teams that both had winning records. The only games all weekend featuring two winners came Thursday night, when the struggling Broncos beat the slumping Giants, and, of course, Patriots-Saints is still to come.
• Four more interceptions for
• Speaking of guys whose jobs might be in jeopardy, what's going on with
• Bucs head coach
But Morris looked like a rookie head coach when he called for a fake punt that went awry, wasted a late timeout that gave Atlanta a breather near the goal line, and went for an ill-advised 51-yard field goal attempt that gave the Falcons great field position for their game-winning drive.
• Morris wasn't the only NFC head coach who had us scratching our heads. The Eagles'
Secondly, Reid inserted
• Got time for one more curious coaching call? The Dolphins had
As a Wildcat quarterback, Williams is no
• With five more games left in the regular season, there's no need to make a final call anytime soon, but Bills owner
If the Bills can't land one of the big-name coaching candidates they've pursued, they could do a lot worse than retain Fewell, who at least has his guys playing impressively early on in his seven-game audition.
• Even though that's how the game works, Kubiak doesn't deserve all the blame in Houston. When is someone going to convince me that Texans quarterback
• You can add another notch to
Why does anyone throw in Revis's direction these days?
• I don't quite get the intricacies of the Jets' new color-coded offensive system that is designed to help rookie quarterback
• It's good to see the Browns offense is still the Browns offense (seven points, 169 total yards in the 16-7 loss at Cincinnati). Wonder if the folks in Cleveland question whether that 37-point game last week at Detroit ever really happened?