The Houston Texans are the youngest team currently in the NFL, playing their first season of football in 2002. Since then, they have had seven winning seasons, five playoff appearances, three playoff wins but have never once made it past the Divisional round.
They won their division last year but lost in the Wild Card round to division rival Indianapolis Colts. Now, with Andrew Luck’s surprise retirement, the division is clearly theirs to lose. However, even if they do win the division like they should, that is by no means enough. It’s about time that the Texans make their first deep postseason run in franchise history.
This is somewhat a reaction to their 30-28 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Monday night, but realistically if you told me that the Texans were going to lose by just two points to Drew Brees and Alvin Kamara, I would have thought you were being too generous to Houston. However, the problem is that they 100 percent should have won the game, and that’s not even a question.
After Deshaun Watson found DeAndre Hopkins and Kenny Stills for back-to-back 35 plus yard gains to take the lead with 37 seconds left in the game, all the defense needed to do was not let the Saints into field goal range. But, that’s exactly what they did, and gave up 35 yards on three plays to set up a 58-yard field goal for Wil Lutz, who, being the excellent kicker that he is, nailed it with plenty of room to spare as time expired.
This was a game that the Texans needed to win. Beating a team like the Saints, who most people believe should at the very least have been in the Super Bowl last year, would have done a lot to establish them as one of the top teams in the NFL. Instead the storyline was much different, as the defense blew yet another game.
Furthermore, the offensive line did absolutely nothing to help out Deshaun Watson, who after being sacked the most (62) and hit (126) times in the NFL last year is right back on top of the leaderboard. He was sacked six times Monday night, which was the most in the league in Week 1, and it probably should have been more if not for his ability to run and escape sacks.
The bad thing is that the Texans have already invested a large chunk of their future into beefing up their offensive line, sending two first-round picks and a second-round pick to the Miami Dolphins for left tackle Laremy Tunsil, but the rest of the line is still highly questionable. Deshaun Watson is a star. He’s arguably a top-five quarterback in the NFL, and neither he or the Texans can afford to keep taking the beatings he has endured this far in his career.
Unfortunately, we’re already seeing the negative effects on his health. Watson was hurt following a touchdown run early in the second quarter, and despite staying in the game and playing extremely well, it was something that plagued him throughout the rest of the contest. He was sacked four more times following that play, as the Texans’ line made sure to not let their star quarterback recover.
The biggest problem is really the defense, who gave up 510 yards to the Saints — which was the second-most in the league, only behind the pitiful Miami Dolphins. They traded Jadeveon Clowney to the Seahawks which is a significant hit, though to be fair it was one that seemed relatively unavoidable. However, they also lost safety Tyrann Mathieu to the Chiefs and cornerback Kareem Jackson to the Broncos, and their presence was clearly missed, seeing as Brees lit up the Texans’ secondary for 370 yards.
With all of the star power that the Texans have in players like Watson, Hopkins and J.J. Watt, who are all top-five players at their positions, and how weak the AFC South currently is, the door is wide open for them to make the playoffs.
They were supposed to lose on Monday, however, the fact that they had every opportunity to win makes the loss so much more painful. The Texans owe it to the fans to add some more talent to their roster so that once the playoffs come, they can make a run for the Lombardi. Watson is capable of leading a team all the way to Super Bowl victory, he just needs SOME help.
If the Texans fail to make at least the AFC Championship this season, it will be a huge disappointment. If they somehow fail to make the playoffs, it could shut their window to win for the foreseeable future. They need some postseason success to establish themselves as one of the top teams in the NFL, and they need it now.
Jorge Eckardt is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at Jorge.firstname.lastname@example.org.