Elliot Eyring ’16
As were more than halfway through the NFL season, let’s take a moment to track the ups and downs of our hometown favorite, Houston Texans.
The Texans have started the year a very different team from where we are now. Lead by Brian Hoyer, the Texans lost the first game of the year in Kansas City to the Chiefs. But Head Coach Bill O’Brien elected to bench starting quarterback Brian Hoyer in favor of Ryan Mallet. Mallet went on to beat a struggling Tampa Bay Buccaneers team, but after a dismal performance against the Atlanta Falcons the following week, Mallet returned his starting role to Hoyer. After a crushing Thursday night loss to our division competitors, Indianapolis Colts, the team bounced back with a commanding win over another division contender in Jacksonville.
The following week was a torching loss for the Texans. The team was down 41-0 at the end of the half; just about everything that could go wrong was going wrong. Rushing leader and team captain Arian Foster tore his achilles and was ruled out for the season- this loss along with the ridiculing by the Dolphins seemed to tear apart the Texans fight.
But the Texans refused to quit.
The next week the Texans showed our home fans that we still had a chance at the playoffs. We beat our division opponent Tennessee Titans behind an adjusted defense with a chip on their shoulder and a consistent offense. This win combined with an Indianapolis loss left us just one game behind the Colts for the lead in the division- and a playoff berth.
The Texans proved on center stage – Monday Night Football – that we are deserving a playoff spot. We went into the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals building and played our game. J.J. Watt was thrilled with the way the Texans played and won while being underdogs: “Everybody said there ain’t no — you’re 3-5, there’s no way you’re gonna go in their building and win. Well, how you all doin’? Watt emphasized the impact the defense had in the role of the game: “Our goal was to come out here and make the Red Rifle look like a Red Ryder BB Gun, and I think we did that.”
Coming off this huge win, The Texans look to ride this momentum to squeak into the playoffs. Although the Texans record stands at a struggling 4-5, the Texans are really only competing with the Colts for the AFC South’s playoff spot, and with their starting quarterback (and former Stratford Spartan) Andrew Luck injured for up to five more weeks, it seems feasible. The Texans’ division is far from great. Nevertheless, it gives the Texans a chance to land a playoff spot despite all our setbacks. The road to the playoffs may not be pretty, but it’s still possible.