Son of a bitch.
Just when I thought this season was going to be different.
Just when I got ready to write a whole weeks' worth of stories breaking down where this team is at and where it can go from here.
That's when Matt Schaub suffers a Lisfranc injury to his foot and may miss the rest of the season. That's when Matt Leinert has to take over an offense that was just regaining its footing behind a power running game.
We've already had to deal without Mario Williams and Andre Johnson aka the two best players on the team. Now, the Texans have to see if Kubiak really has made Leinert into a better QB than he showed in Arizona.
7-3. Tied for the best record in the AFC. It was all sitting right there after another dominating victory Sunday. Do you know what the title of this post was going to be? "It's Fun To Watch The Texans." Because, it was fun watching them work the past few weeks. They found a rhythm without Johnson that included large doses of Arian Foster doing his breathtaking thing, Ben Tate providing solid relief work and a host of receivers stepping up into the void.
Now? Matt Freaking Leinert.
Gone are any surmises I could have made about possibly taking a top 2 seed in the AFC or holding that tiebreaker with Pittsburgh. Nope, we're not lucky enough to get a bye in the team's first ever playoff appearance. Instead, we're left with a busted top pick at QB for a team that will lean heavily on the run and maybe (MAYBE) take a shot deep to AJ every once in a while.
That's assuming Johnson comes back healthy. On this team, in this season, there are no guarantees.
Now? The Texans are staring down the gullet of a nice season. Houston could probably be expected to finish 10-6 with Leinert at the helm. That will give them the AFC South crown and a playoff appearance almost assuredly. But, a matchup with Baltimore or the Jets will be waiting there in the first round. Do you want to trust Leinert against those defenses? Heck, I didn't trust Schaub against those teams.
(Okay....take a breath...breathe in....and out)
So, maybe I'm overreacting. We don't know about Schaub. He could possibly be back in a couple of weeks. All we know is that Lisfranc injuries can haunt players. They almost heal and then they don't. Plus, foot injuries for players who run around a lot are never good. Just think of how many seasons turf toe has derailed.
Even if Schaub is out, that doesn't mean all is lost. Leinert may have matured into a good enough game manager that the Texans can win with him. After all, it's not like Schaub was considered as good as the elite QBs in the league. With Wade's defense backing him up, maybe the Texans can make a run like the 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
There's a lot we don't know about this injury. All we do know is the top four players on this team (AJ, Mario, Schaub and Foster) have missed multiple games already. If this team didn't have bad luck, it'd have no luck at all. That's enough to turn a happy column about how good and fun this team has been playing, into one that's paranoid, bitter and slightly over the top.
Just when I started to really care about this team...