shiny happy fan
Join Date: Apr 2004
Here ya go...
Texans fan Alan J. Burge will be writing a "Voice of the Fan" column throughout the 2004 season. His latest installment is below. Alan's views do not necessarily reflect the views of the organization.
Slow, for starters
When the Texans took over at their own 36-yard line, down by only six points with 7:38 remaining in the game, I thought regardless of everything that happened earlier the game was there for the taking. One quick three-and-out (including yet another sack) later, I snapped back into reality.
The Texans ran only 54 offensive plays against the Colts Sunday. They allowed five sacks, committed five false starts, and turned it over twice on an interception and a fumble. I'm surprised they kept it as close as they did.
The optimist says the Texans “won” quarters 2-4 by a score of 14-9. Too bad the game is four quarters long. The early 14-0 deficit, enabled in part by a sack, a penalty, and an interception on the Texans' first seven plays of the game was just too much to overcome.
The Texans have developed their fair share of bad habits over the last several weeks and one of the most disturbing has been how they fall behind early in games. The early deficits have forced the Texans into catch-up mode, which has been disastrous except for the Tennessee game a few weeks ago.
How bad has it been?
Well, for the season the Texans have been outscored 58-19 in the first quarter. More alarming is the fact that since Week 9 at Denver (in other words their last six games) the Texans have been outscored 45-3 in the first quarter. Yes, 45-3. I may never go to a road game again since I now feel responsible.
It gets worse.
The Texans have scored only one touchdown in 35 first quarter drives this season and have recorded only one score in 15 first quarter drives since Week 9 (a field goal against Tennessee in Week 12)
A closer look into the ugliness shows that 15 of the Texans' 35 first quarter drives have ended in punts, nine have ended in interceptions or fumbles, three have ended in the ball being given up on downs and two have ended in missed field goals. Five others have ended in field goals.
Why all this first quarter futility?
Where would we be without rhetorical questions?
Five of the Texans' last six opponents are all likely headed to the playoffs. Not coincidentally, the Texans lost all five of those games. The only win was over a Tennessee team that is currently in a battle with the Texans for last place in the division. That would suggest that the Texans' 1-5 record over the past six weeks is a fair indicator of how far this team remains from being a realistic playoff contender.
But wait. In 2002 we beat two playoff teams. Last season, we beat a Super Bowl team with a backup quarterback at the helm. This season we’ve beaten one team with a winning record. Is that progress? Again, like I said last week, I’m reserving judgment on this season until the book is completely written (after Week 17).
The Texans can still recover and meet my preseason expectations by winning two of their three remaining games. The only trouble there is that two of those three games are on the road and the Texans have been horrible on the road since their win over Tennessee on October 17.
We’ll see what this team is really made of during the next three weeks. Hopefully some of the fire and brimstone that was evident in post-game comments on Sunday will carry over in a positive way onto the field at Chicago. What we see in the next three weeks will tell us a lot about the character of this team and what we might expect going into Year 4. Next year is the year that we should realistically expect the Texans to seriously contend for a playoff spot. Based on where they are at now, they need to turn it around in a hurry because it appears that the team has fallen behind plan.