Minnesota Vikings free safety Harrison Smith (22) forces a fumble from Houston Texans quarterback T.J. Yates (13) during the fourth quarter at Reliant Stadium. The Vikings won 23-6. (Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports)
Just when Texans fans didn’t think things could get worse after a Monday Night Football loss to the Patriots, Houston found a way to prove them wrong with arguably the most embarrassing defeat of the season against Minnesota.
It was the first game since 2006 in which the Texans didn’t score a touchdown. The offense looked like what longtime Texans fan used to see in the early days (or years, at least up until 2010). J.J. Watt seemed to be the only player on defense who showed up to play. He had one sack in the third quarter, bringing his season total to 20.5 and just two shy of Michael Strahan’s record set in 2001.
Now the Texans have another challenge ahead of them, this time against the Colts in Indianapolis where they’ve never won a game. The Texans are 0-10 all-time in Indy, and Houston fans are just hoping history doesn’t repeat itself. If it does, the Texans will fail to clinch home-field advantage and face some tough teams on the road in the playoffs.
A win in Indy could virtually erase the humiliation from Dec. 23. Although the Colts have the fifth seed in the AFC locked in, starters are expected to play. Indianapolis is 6-1 at home this season, and the Texans are 6-1 on the road. Fixing kinks in Houston’s offense — notably controlling third downs (the Texans were 1 of 11 on third downs against Minnesota) and getting the running game going again with a healthy Arian Foster — will determine Houston’s fate. Hopefully, last week’s loss provides that needed momentum for the Texans on Sunday, and fans won’t be reminded of the franchise’s “pre-playoff era.”
– Lisa Carter