The Houston Texans have lost three games. In those games, they came into the fourth quarter outscoring opponents, 49-29.
While that initial stat is great, the fact this Texans squad has been outscored in fourth quarters 30-0, is why the team has yet to win a game.
But Houston coach Lovie Smith sees this all as a positive, not a negative.
"We've lost three winnable games, three where we had fourth-quarter leads. Glass half full, that's saying that we're close," Smith said on Monday, the day after his team's third-straight loss after having a fourth-quarter lead.
Fortunately for Texans fans, and for the team, Smith isn't just walking around lost in a land of positive thoughts.
"The reality is we could still be far away because these things have happened three weeks in a row...Offensively, we need more...Defensively, we weren't good on third down...Those kinds of things really lead to you losing games at the end of the game."
Of course, identifying the problems is just one step. The trick is coming up with a solution and then getting the players to execute it.
And one of the problems plaguing Houston's late-game defense has been tackling, though run fits haven't been an issue according to Smith.
"You have to wrap up," Smith said about his defense's efforts in tackling. "That's what we didn't do. Are there ways to improve it? Yeah, get in a little bit better positions and wrap up once you get to the point of attack. That's what it was. It's one thing to miss one tackle but we should be talking about missed tackles with a 10-yard gain, not those explosive plays like we've been giving up."
But it's not all going poorly.
As much as the team has to carry the blame for getting dismantled late in games, those early starts deserve some credit as well.
And as Smith continued to try and circle back to those positives, it's clear Houston has the pieces to put together a winning effort.
They just have to find the right order of things, and figure out how to maintain early-game momentum into the final act.
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