One-third of the way through the NFL Season, the Houston Texans are sitting at 1-4, and wondering where their season went. After a very disappointing loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday night football, head coach Bill O’Brien‘s squad simply does not look very good.
It’s easy to blame the disappointing season start on the quarterback play, as we’ve seen both Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer play quite a bit already, and neither of them has been particularly stellar. Hoyer started Week 1 but after struggling early he was replaced by Mallett who looked good but was unable to bring his team back to a victory.
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Mallett then started the next three games, including a Week 3 victory against Tampa Bay, but was replaced by Hoyer after the Texans fell behind 42-0 against the Falcons in Week 4. In last night’s Thursday Night Football Game, Mallett went 7/10 for 50 yards and 1 interception before coming out of the game with an injury, and Hoyer played the rest of the way.
Hoyer finally looked good, throwing for over 300 yards and 2 touchdowns and driving his team most of the way down the field in the final two minutes with a chance to tie it up. That was when he felt the pressure of the Colts pass rush and heaved the ball up towards the end zone directly into the waiting hands of Indianapolis safety Mike Adams.
The television cameras very clearly picked up the words Bill O’Brien mouthed after Hoyer’s interception: “Why did he do that?” That questions may sum up the entirety of Houston’s season to this point.
From Ryan Mallett’s 3 interceptions, Arian Foster‘s fumble that was caused by his own lineman, Bill O’Brien’s uncertainty about his quarterback situation, and the defense’s inability to slow anyone down, I constantly find myself asking “Why did he do that?” And there may not be an end in sight.
They have a seemingly winnable game next week against the Jaguars, but aside from two games against Jacksonville there aren’t many plus matchups on Houston’s schedule. At this point if they can’t turn things around quickly, it will be a very long season. ESPN’s NFL Power Rankings had Houston ranked at 28th after Week 4, and now with another lose I expect Houston to slip even farther.
This is a team that had playoff aspirations to start the season, and now is simply fighting to not be the worst team in the league. The quarterback play has been an issue sure, but it is the defense that has been the biggest disappointment.
Houston’s defenses was projected to be one of the best in the NFL but they have been unable to slow down any opposing offenses. They are giving up an average of 27 points per game, good for the 6th worst in the league. This includes allowing 40-year old Matt Hasselbeck to throw for 200 yards and 2 touchdowns and 32 year old Frank Gore to run for 98 yards and 1 touchdowns last night.
If this defensive play continues, the Texans have little shot at turning their season around. Hopefully they can find their stride next week against Jacksonville, and get back on the right track.
If they can’t, expect the Texans to count this as a lost season and possibly even start to shop some of their older talent such as Arian Foster in order to get what value they can. The lone bright spot of the season has been wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins who already has 309 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns, and if he was paired with a better quarterback that could mean huge things for the team.
It may be time for the Texans to begin scouting college quarterbacks in the hopes of finding one at the top of next year’s NFL Draft. As sad as it may be, Houston needs to string together a few wins over the next few weeks or tthey will be in big trouble. They aren’t looking good, and unless they improve quickly, their 2015 may already be over.