Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

December 18, 2013

Gutless Texans no match for Colts

Hendricks County Flyer

---- — 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Those seasons allowed Texans fans to puff out their chests a little bit, but that short-lived bravado has since been replaced by paper bags on heads.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.

Sometimes coaching regimes simply run their course (think Andy Reid in Philadelphia), which is what happened to Kubiak. Cultures get set, and often deteriorate over time, and Houston needs a fresh approach and attitude.

That coach will be blessed with a solid roster with stars on both sides of the ball. It’s a great job for the man who can come in, open the windows and air out the building.

PUT ON BIG-BOY PANTS: I spent my first 20 years in Bloomington, and grew up around the campus and its athletic programs. While I am not an IU basketball fan, I do want them to succeed, but one thing makes that very difficult — Hoosier fans.

No team’s fans whine so frequently or wail so loud at fouls called against their team. Anywhere.

Now I know where this all came from — Robert Montgomery Knight. The General’s silly tirades directed at officials from 1971-2000 led multiple generations of IU fans to moan at the blowing of any whistle against the Cream and Crimson. While Knight has been gone for over a decade, the embarrassing bellyaching has been hereditarily passed down.

I hadn’t been around it much over the past few years, but it was again on display at Saturday’s Crossroads Classic loss to pedestrian Notre Dame, perhaps louder than ever.

I would just like to invite offending IU fans (deep down, you know who you are) to get comfortable with the notion that yes, fouls are called on Indiana too.

Please, just quit worrying about fouls, and figure out why Tom Crean couldn’t get a team with two top-four picks in the NBA draft past the Sweet 16.

— Brent Glasgow is a sports writer for the Hendricks County Flyer. He may be reached by calling 272-5800 ext. 173 or by e-mailing to brent.glasgow@flyergroup.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BGlasgow37.