Texans Year In Review

By PFC Texans Writer Wayne Lin

The Houston Texans finished 8-8 in their third season under head coach Gary Kubiak.  Houston struggled out of the gates starting the season 0-4, including a heartbreaking loss to the Colts.  Houston allowed the Colts to score 21 points in the fourth quarter, 14 unanswered in the loss.  Sage Rosenfels became the poster child for the loss and subsequently named “Rosencopter” for his attempted leap over a Colts defender late in the game that led to the go-ahead touchdown for the Colts.  To the Texans’ credit, they started the season playing three road games against Pittsburgh, Tennessee, and Jacksonville.  They also took a bye week in the second week of the season due to Hurricane Ike.

Despite the rough start, the Texans rebounded winning three straight, with Steve Slaton emerging as a running back that can catch and run.  His emergence, along with Matt Schaub returning from injury, wasn’t enough to muster much of a win streak to help solidify their position in the very competitive AFC South.  Matt Schaub would go down once again with an ankle injury and would miss the next five weeks.

Houston would finish strongly, as they did last season winning four out of their last five games, including the defeat of the number one seed Tennessee Titans 13-12, and a defeat of the Bears who needed to win to make the playoffs.

Of the eight losses for the Texans, five of them were to current playoff teams.  This is not to say the Texans couldn’t compete with these teams.  Houston lost by an average of nine points, with one loss coming in overtime.

Many positives can come out of the season.  Andre Johnson lived up to expectations in his sixth season in the league giving Schaub and Rosenfels an athletic and versatile wide receiver.  He also led the team in receiving yards with 1,575 yards and eight touchdowns.  Rookie Steve Slaton led the team in rushing with 1,282 yards and nine touchdowns, even though he was drafted in the third round.

The Texans won and lost games with both quarterbacks, but it was evident that they could win the games with both of them at the helm.  That is an attribute many teams in the NFL don’t have.  The defense, however, finished 23rd in the league in total defense.  With a defense that features former number one overall pick Mario Williams, and standout DT Amobi Okoye, the Texans’ defense failed to live up to expectations; thus followed the firing of three defense coaches.  The search for the defensive coaches will heat up shortly after the Super Bowl with Rex Ryan and former North Carolina State head coach Chuck Amato on the radar.

An 8-8 season exceeded expectations of some.  Gary Kubiak has the right pieces in place to be a sleeper team, but will need to shore up the defense through free agency and the draft.  The AFC South has traditionally been dominated by Indianapolis and Tennessee, but could 2009 be the year of the Texan?  Only time will tell.