Rams 38, Texans 13: Time to Admit This Is Not a Good Football Team
The Texans were supposed to get things straight against what appeared to be a hapless St. Louis Rams team that had struggled in virtually all facets of the game. Turns out, it was the other way around as the Rams feasted on the clearly overmatched Texans and dominated them in all three phases of the game. The rout quickly turned embarrassing after a fumbled kickoff return -- something that was a disaster all game long and included Daniel Manning fumbling in the end zone -- by Keyshawn Martin turned was run back for a touchdown.
From bad to worse...much worse.
Matt Schaub didn't throw a pick six or any interceptions for that matter, but when he had his ankle badly rolled in the third quarter, which was cheered by some fans at Reliant (more on that in a moment), his heralded replacement, TJ Yates, managed to throw his own pick six deep in St. Louis's end of the field. He threw another touchdown in the St. Louis end zone to total four turnovers for the day that takes the Texans to an abysmal -12 on the year in giveaway-takeaway ratio.
If last week was a nightmare drubbing by a better team, this week put the team and fans on notice that this is simply a bad football team. This is not a title contender. The Texans are looking more and more like a contender for a top 10 pick in next year's draft. At this point, they must go 7-3 to keep reach a winning record, 8-2 to get to 10 wins, the amount projected for a team in the AFC to make the playoffs. After the loss to the Rams, they may not mathematically be eliminated from the chase, but they are as good as done.
What went right: Arian Foster
The game plan was to put the ball into Foster's hands against the weak run defense of the Rams. The plan was working early on and Foster racked up 141 yards on 20 carries. He tacked on another 57 yards on 4 catches to go for nearly 200 yards of total offense. He was the lone bright spot in this hideous debacle.
What went wrong: The Defense
The vaunted Texans defense, ranked number one in several statistical categories, was picked apart by a very mediocre Rams offense. They still fail to create any turnovers, give up long drives, including two 80 yarders and one for 65 yards, don't pressure the QB nearly enough and are one of the worst in the red zone in the NFL. This is not a great defense. It is probably not even an average defense at this point. It's time to admit that and figure out how to fix it, if that is possible.
Runner up: One of the biggest failings of the Texans is to point to statistics as the reason they are good. Yet, today provided a stark reminder of how stats can fail. The Texans NEARLY DOUBLED the Rams offensive output 420-216, yet they lost by 25 points.
What must improve: Everything
Special teams is an utter disaster from coverage to returns. Defense, as illustrated above, is falling apart quickly. The offense can't manage to score the ball outside of an occasional field goal. The play calling is as predictable as the sunrise. And the team plays with little discipline racking up 95 yards of penalties. On the whole, this is one of the worst coached and poorest performing squads we've seen in several years.
What should stay the same: Nothing
At this point, maybe setting aside the play of Arian Foster, Andre Johnson and MAYBE JJ Watt, who had his worst game of the year Sunday, everything should be on the table. Players should start losing their jobs and coaches should be considering cleaning up their resumes. Without a drastic change, this is a 4 or 5-win team at which point heads better roll.