HOUSTON – It’s a new day but I know in Texans nation it was a painful Sunday, and you woke up this morning realizing that the meltdown at Arrowhead Stadium wasn’t a bad dream. It felt like the Oilers collapse in Buffalo all over again didn’t it?
Yes. It actually happened. A 24-0 lead evaporated in the blink of an eye. What followed was a thrashing by the Chiefs, who outscored our local NFL squad 51-7 the rest of the way en route to an embarrassing 51-31 win to advance to the AFC Championship.
A game the Texans could have hosted had they avoided disaster.
The Texans’ issues were too many to count Sunday: penalities, a mind-boggling fake punt that backfired on their own 33-yard line, a fumbled kickoff that led to an easy Chiefs touchdown and a depleted secondary.
The Texans were missing Jahleel Addai who went down in the win over the Buffalo Bills and Tashaun Gipson’s injury was key as well. His coverage skills, especially on tight ends, would’ve come in handy as Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce connected on three touchdowns in the second-quarter rally.
This offseason Texans head coach Bill O’Brien will need to improve his defense. He needs secondary help and more depth up front. The Texans’ pass rush was not at the level it needs to be. Missing J.J. Watt for half the season had a lot to do with that.
Additionally, an offseason focus on the offensive line has to be high on the list of priorities. The line at times was good with the running game (Carlos Hyde went for over a thousand yards) and pass protection, but that is an area that has to improve.
Protecting Deshaun Watson is huge so he can take his game to a new level. Keeping the franchise quarterback upright and reducing the sack total is paramount. In other words, get the proper pieces around him so he continues to make the big plays he has made a habit of doing week in and week out.
Lastly, let’s address the status of Bill O’Brien. He has been roasted for a few calls in the loss as he should be, but he did do some good things. I doubt there were many complaints during that great start in the first quarter and early second quarter when they built a 24-0 lead.
Let me be clear about O’Brien. He has three years left on his contract and he will not be fired, according to Cal McNair. Many fans will take a resignation but that will not happen either.
"I believe we are headed in the right direction," O'Brien told us after the game.
O’Brien was clearly frustrated and vowed to fix the issues that need addressing and that will start with O’Brien assessing himself.
The offseason clock begins now. One more collapse next season and that may be the final straw for McNair to find a new leader that can get this team to a new level
It has been six years and time is running out.