The Houston Texans finally got it right—in the first half. In their latest disappointing performance, they flipped the script and jumped off to a fast start, bolting out to a 17-0 halftime lead. Unfortunately, that was the high point of the afternoon.
After gaining only 12 yards in the first six plays, Houston scored on three of their next four possessions, including touchdown drives of 91 and 86 yards. The scoring continued with a 34-yard field goal by Neil Rackers right before halftime.
From the start, the Texans seemed determined to run the ball against the league's 31st-ranked rush defense. After the first 30 minutes, Arian Foster ran for 66 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. But Gary Kubiak inexplicably (again) decided to go away from what was working in the second half.
With the game on the line, and the Texans needing to run the clock with a decent lead, Foster only carried the ball another five times for 25 yards. Matt Schaub, however, threw 21 passes in the second half, versus only 12 attempts in the first. Schaub performed well overall, completing 23 of 33 tosses for 310 yards and a touchdown, but it wasn't needed.
What will eventually bring Gary Kubiak's tenure to an end is his inconsistency in calling offensive plays. Prior to this year, the head coach preached the importance of a strong running game and how that philosophy led the Denver Broncos to two Super Bowl titles when he was on the staff in 1997 and 1998. Yet, when he finally had this aspect of the game, he simply ignored it, and yesterday's game was a perfect example.
Who is more at fault for the Texans' disappointing season?
For most of the game, the defense performed admirably, and this loss, for once, should not be pinned on them.
Frank Bush's crew held the Broncos to only 107 first half yards and 11:24 in time of possession. As usual, they struggled when Denver went to the screen game and put their playmakers in space, but for the most part, they were able to keep Tim Tebow off the field.
In the second half, between the offense's struggles and Tebow finding his groove, the Texans were done.
After throwing an early interception in the end zone, Tebow regained his confidence and led his team on four straight scoring drives in the second half. The last one came with 3:02 left in the game on a six-yard run by the rookie quarterback.
When all was said and done, it added up to the Texans' eighth loss in nine games. The only rarity was that they had to choke away a 17-0 lead to do it.