Texans Failed on All Levels When It Mattered The Most Against the Chiefs
Patrick D. Starr
Houston Texans showed that they are not ready for the big time.
On Sunday, with one of the Texans' best opportunities in franchise history to take the next step and host an AFC Championship game at NRG Stadium. That was all dashed in a 41 point barrage of points put up by the Kansas City Chiefs offense in their loss in the Divisional Round.
The Texans left Arrowhead Stadium in the same place that all the previous have ended, short of their ultimate goal. Despite the 24-0 lead, the Texans were outmatched and outmanned when it was all said and done.
In the playoffs, weaknesses show up at the wrong times, and that is what happen for the Texans.
With the exit of Jadeveon Clowney before the start of the season, the Texans cut their pass rush by one dynamic player, and then losing J.J. Watt for half of the regular season left their tool kit bare in that area. Whitney Mercilus and Jacob Martin had their moments, but they need to be complementary players to the bigger picture of the pass rush.
Against the Chiefs, they were only able to generate two quarterback hits 35 pass attempts, and one single sack after Patrick Mahomes ran out of bounds.
In a game where they needed to put pressure on Mahomes to help the secondary, there was nothing to be seen from the Texans front.
When it called for the Texans team to hold together when the Chiefs started to make their run, they started busting at the seams.
The defense began to fold with penalties, blown coverages, and undisciplined football on the defensive side of the ball. It opened the door for the Chiefs to put the pedal down and the Texans crumbled when it mattered the most.
Special teams after starting reliable gave up their longest kick return of the season for 58 yards, then DeAndre Carter fumbled to give the Chiefs a short field for a short touchdown. ADd in a failed fake punt in where Justin Reid ended up being tackled short of a first down, the Texans special teams effort was poor on three plays that helped shift the tide towards the Chiefs.
All three primary coaches for the Texans in Bill O'Brien, Romeo Crennel, and Brad Seely were all overmatched in the most crucial game of the season. The Chiefs outplayed all three of their respective units on Sunday, and the gameplans put in were faulty and poorly executed from the second quarter on.
Add in questionable decision to kick a field goal after being ready to go for it on a 4th an one. After the game, O'Brien admitted that he didn't have a play he liked for the down and distance. As a play-caller, that is inexcusable, especially for how high leverage the game was for the Texans.
For a Texans team that O'Brien has called numerous times tough and resilient, they were anything but that on Sunday against the Chiefs with the way they handled the adversity put on them.
Maybe there was a dose of reality going into the game that this Texans team was living on borrowed time due to the holes in the roster, especially on the defensive side. Even O'Brien admitted at the conclusion of the game that they needed to score "50-points" to keep up with the Chiefs.
O'Brien is not going anywhere. Crennel will be back in 2020, and there are meetings to happen between the rest of the coaching staff to get ready for the coming season.
Discussions will take place on the outside if O'Brien needs to go or stay, but it is clear that the bar continues to rise year to year with Deshaun Watson in the building. The bar will continue to rise, and it will be up to O'Brien to keep up with it because of Watson and what he brings to the table.
Either way, the patience for O'Brien is running thin on the outside, and inside the building, it will remain business, as usual, moving towards the new season.
Changes will take place on different levels of the organization, and it will start what every season since 2002 has been for the Texans.
One that ends with utter disappointment and soon starts back up with hope when NFL Draft season arrives in the coming weeks.
You can follow Patrick for Houston Texans Updates in the following places.
You can Subscribe to the State of the Texans Podcast on the following platforms.