Texans vs. Patriots: Houston's Biggest Winners and Losers

Matt Goldstein@mattgoldstein5Contributor IIJanuary 14, 2013

Texans vs. Patriots: Houston's Biggest Winners and Losers

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    In the divisional round of the NFL playoffs, and the biggest game in the history of the Houston Texans' franchise, the New England Patriots won handily by a score of 41-28.

    The Patriots simply dominated the Texans in every facet of the game, and it is clear that the Texans are not on the Super Bowl contending level.

    The offense could not finish for their lives. The defense looked confused and displaced against a superior Patriots' offense.

    The Patriots exposed the Texans for what they are: a team with a flawed philosophy and one that needs to change before it can claim the ultimate prize.

    Who played well for the Texans in this blowout? Who brought them down to their knees?

    Here are the winners and losers from the last game of the 2012 season for the Texans.

Winner: Andre Johnson

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    Andre Johnson was one of the few players who did anything on offense for the Texans. He consistently got open for Matt Schaub, and he made a few terrific grabs.

    Johnson is a true superstar, and he proved it tonight.

    Whenever the Patriots attempted to cover him one on one, he easily was able to break free and get open. Aqib Talib was not able to handle him alone. Johnson is on a whole other level of physicality, and opposing cornerbacks absolutely cannot out-muscle him.

    When it was all said and done, though, Johnson could not change the outcome.

    The Texans offensive play-calling was either too conservative, or Schaub was just too frightened to look downfield for more than a second. If Johnson ever even got slightly open for a huge pass play way down the field, it would be unlikely that Schaub would throw to him, unless he absolutely had to.

    It's truly a shame that the Texans could not come away with a win for Johnson tonight. If any player on the Texans deserves a Super Bowl, it is without a doubt Andre Johnson.

Loser: Gary Kubiak

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    Never before have I realized just how big of a difference a terrific coach can make.

    Gary Kubiak has always been the emotionally stable, cool-headed, professional coach that can consistently churn out regular-season wins for any football team.

    Bill Belichick, however, illustrates the necessity for a talented football team to have a coach that knows how to utilize its talents.

    Kubiak was conservative, unwilling to take shots downfield to his superstar receiver Andre Johnson and his breaking-out receiver DeVier Posey.

    Instead, he had Schaub constantly look for passes around the first-down marker. That strategy is good if you want to pick up a few first downs and maybe get in field goal position.

    The other strategy can completely swing around the momentum of any games, create huge touchdowns and keep an offense on pace with one of the best in the league.

    Belichick can plug any player into his system and utilize his talents to the max. Shane Vereen is a perfect example. So is Danny Woodhead. Neither of them are great NFL players, but Belichick knows how to set them up for success.

    Meanwhile, Kubiak does not know how to, or is unwilling to, give chances to talented receivers such as Posey, Lestar Jean and Keshawn Martin, who could actually get open and create plays. And Kubiak chooses not to plug them in, as he believes that Kevin Walter is more dependable. 

    Whenever a coach decides to start a player who might haul in one catch a game for a short gain instead of athletes who can make something happen, you know there is a problem.

    Kubiak has to change his offensive philosophy or he will have to go. The Texans will not win a Super Bowl under the current offense.

Winner: Arian Foster

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    Arian Foster stunk it up at the beginning of the game. He seemed unable to rush for any positive yardage, and the Texans' offense struggled because of it.

    However, the blame belongs to the offensive line, not Foster. They did not open up any running room, and Foster had nowhere to go.

    Then, all of a sudden, a switch clicked on. The offensive line started to generate a push, and Foster single-handedly led the Texans back into the ballgame.

    He consistently picked up huge chunks of yardage, and the Patriots had no answer for him.

    Unfortunately, the Texans defense could not stop Brady, and Foster was eventually forced out of the offensive game plan.

Loser: Wade Phillips

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    Wade Phillips employs a defensive scheme that makes life hell for average quarterbacks.

    His scheme calls for his cornerbacks to press man-cover opposing receivers, and then he blitzes and blitzes and blitzes.

    For average to above-average quarterbacks, this scheme can spell doom. Their offensive line crumbles under the pass rush, and the quarterbacks are not talented enough to get the ball to their receivers with defensive backs draped over them.

    This defensive formula has the potential to win any semi-talented football team at least 10 games per year.

    Unfortunately, it does not have the same success against elite quarterbacks such as Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. Both quarterbacks are excellent at reading coverages and blitzes, and with a few quick audibles, they can instantly punish Phillips' scheme.

    In this game, Brady put this fact on display. He utilized receivers that weren't being covered by the Texans' top defensive backs, and he got rid of the ball quick enough so that the blitz would be a non-factor.

    Phillips, however, did not do what any great coach would. He stubbornly employed the same scheme over and over again, refusing to adjust to the Patriots' offense, and Brady continued to pick the secondary apart.

    If the Texans are to ever win a Super Bowl with their current roster, Phillips needs to learn how to defend against quarterbacks that know how to pick apart certain defensive schemes.

Winner/Loser: DeVier Posey

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    The good news: DeVier Posey had the best game of his career. He proved that he could make big plays for the offense, and he displayed his impressive speed and efficient route running.

    It is clear that Posey has the potential to be one of the Texans' receivers of the future. He is a kid with a great attitude, terrific work ethic and amazing physical athleticism.

    He was the only Texans' receiver to haul in a touchdown pass, and it is a very likely possibility that Texans fans will become accustomed to Posey touchdowns in the near future.

    The bad news: Posey suffered a torn Achilles tendon, and it is unknown how long it will take him to recover. It could take him the entire 2013 season, or he might be ready for the start of it.

    It really depends on the nature of the tear and just how serious it is. 

    It is quite a shame that this tragedy occurred, as Posey's stock appeared to be sky-high. If anyone can make a speedy recovery, though, it is Posey. 

    He loves the game of football, and he will surely work incredibly hard to get back up to playing speed.

    I, along with the rest of the city of Houston, will be pulling for this kid.

Loser: Matt Schaub

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    After this game, it is becoming more and more clear that Matt Schaub is not the quarterback that can lead the Texans to a Super Bowl.

    Schaub looked uneasy in the pocket, despite that he was not really being pressured. He often stepped up into pass-rushers in an attempt to escape from the pocket. He often threw the ball away when there were no pass-rushers in sight and receivers were open downfield.

    Schaub was hesitant to throw the ball deep, and he constantly decided to throw the ball around the first-down marker. On many third downs, Schaub simply decided to throw the ball well-short of the first down and not even take a chance downfield.

    How many teams in the recent era have managed to win a Super Bowl without a quarterback who was willing to take some risks. Not many. Trent Dilfer and the 2000 Ravens might be the only example.

    If the Texans are to win any future Super Bowls, the Texans will either have to get Schaub to man up and take shots downfield, or they will have to begin to search for his replacement.