Indianapolis’ 25-3 victory over Houston on Sunday featured lots of positives for the struggling Colts, but it was more about the Texans’ embarrassing plunge this season than anything else.
Trent Richardson had his first big game in a Colts uniform, the defense shined for the first time in weeks and special teams were really good, but these things occurred against a foe whose futility is approaching historic levels.
Houston quarterback Case Keenum fell to 0-8 as a starter on Sunday, as the Texans dropped their 12th game in a row. When now-fired coach Gary Kubiak gave Keenum the nod over long-time starter Matt Schaub, he was looking for some kind of spark. Instead, he got a wet book of matches, and the team now appears poised to tank the rest of the season for the No. 1 overall pick in next spring’s draft.
With a combined 24-11 record the past two years, Houston won a pair of AFC South titles, its first since the franchise was born in 2002. It should be noted that these division championships occurred during the Colts’ disastrous 2011 without Peyton Manning, and by a narrow one-game edge in Andrew Luck’s rookie campaign a year ago.
Those seasons allowed Texans fans to puff out their chests a little bit, but that short-lived bravado has since been replaced by paper bags on heads.
While Schaub’s ability to find the wrong end zone this year dragged Houston down, the team’s continued collapse without him has shown what the real problem is – heart.
Houston lost running back Arian Foster, but hasn’t experienced anything like the Colts’ run of bad luck that’s filled the injured reserved list this season. Their main culprit is between the ears, as their mental fragility over the last three months indicates. It was enough for future hall-of-famer Ed Reed to speak out publicly, and promptly get shown the exit. It caused fellow star and face of the franchise Andre Johnson to lash out at fans. It also led to a team record-tying 14 penalties on Sunday.