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No Christmas Cheer For Texans After Week 16

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There was nothing pretty about the Texans game against the Colts Thursday night.

Nothing pretty about the offense. 

Nothing pretty about the defense.

Everything, in fact, was pretty terrible.

Someone asked me last night whether I thought the Texans got hosed on the calls in the fourth quarter. As much as I'd like to make that excuse, I can't. The hands to the face call on J.J. Watt may have been incidental, but it was still legitimate. Same goes for the pass interference on Glover Quin.

The only call I could argue was the roughing the passer on Watt. But, even then, I've seen that play called half a dozen times already this year on teams that aren't the Texans. The rule may be silly and allow offensive linemen to push defenders into a penalty, but that doesn't mean it was a bad call.

No, the real reason the Texans lost this one was the game plan was flawed from the beginning. It was like Kubiak and company came in with a plan, knowing they were only going to use about 60 percent of the playbook and hoped that was enough to beat the hapless Colts.

You can't even put the blame for this one on Arian Foster, since he was just as explosive as his best games this season. The problem was there was no passing game to support him.

The theory this season has been that the Texans are good enough in the running game and on defense to win even with a rookie QB. Well, they were good enough defensively to only allow one TD all game, despite multiple red zone opportunities before the fourth quarter. They ran the ball well enough for Foster to top 100 yards for the third time in the last four weeks.

No, the problem here was Yates and only Yates. He only completed three passes for over 10 yards and all three came in the second half. Time and again, he threw underneath or short of the first down marker on third down and time and again, it looked like that's where his first option was. The Texans were either not pushing the field with their routes or were incapable of it.

I know what a blow Andre Johnson's loss is, but the Texans have to throw it down the field for the running game to work. There is no use pulling the safeties up for the run if you're not going to attack the seams later on. There's also no reason the Colts passing game should look head and shoulders better than the Texans, even if they do have most of their playmakers intact.

The game plan may have been flawed, but Yates deserves some blame too. He not only was unable to throw down the field, but he also took a step back in his pocket feel. He looked lost too many times against the rush and reminded me of vintage David Carr. That is not a good thing.

Eric Winston deserves some blame in this too. In fact, the entire right side of the offensive line looked bad. Andre Caldwell looked slow on the screens he was sent on and Winston got absolutely manhandled in the passing game by Robert Mathis. It's not the first time Winston has looked bad against a good pass rush, but we always knew he was limited in that area. He's just being exploited more this season.

In the end, too many breakdowns were what ended this very winnable game for Houston. The guy I feel for the most is Watt, who was the best player on the Texans' defense for most of the game. Those two penalties on the final drive were costly, but they shouldn't overshadow how much of an impact he made.

Where do the Texans go from here? They need to show up much better against Tennessee to have any hope in the playoffs. After Thursday, though, that's looking less and less likely.

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.