When the clock ticked down to triple zeros in last night’s TNF matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and the Houston Texans, the scoreboard at NRG Stadium looked oh-so familiar. For the 16th time in a row, the Colts had bested a division foe, setting the record for most consecutive division wins by any team in NFL History. While the end-result was the same as it has been so many times in the Colts/Texans “rivalry,” the road had an unfamiliar feel.
Since 2002, when the Houston Texans were founded, they have been at the Colts mercy, going 4-23 against the class of the division. This last meeting, with Andrew Luck helpless on the sideline, seemed like a prime opportunity to steal a game and remain competitive in the division. It’s not often that you see one team out-gain the other by over 100 yards (444 – 323) and come out on the short end; but 125 penalty yards and two costly turnovers in Colts territory sealed the Texans fate.
And when was the last time that a season on a downward spiral didn’t include some sort of QB controversy? Bill O’Brien isn’t helping himself out much; benching Brian Hoyer 45 minutes into the season opener in favor of Ryan Mallett, only to reverse that decision halfway through game 5. At some point, a coach needs to choose a QB and give them the best opportunity to succeed – and that means practice time with the first team and the opportunity to cement themselves as a leader of the offense. Neither of which can be accomplished if the QB shuffle continues.
For most teams, the window for making the playoffs is both slim and quick to close. Arian Foster is approaching 30 and has seen injuries start to hamper his career. Andre Johnson is now in Indy. JJ Watt is all-world, but is just 1/11 men on defense. If the Texans don’t turn this team around quickly, they will not only be looking up at the Colts, but likely the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars as well.