During the 2021 season, the Houston Texans mantra was “That Football Feeling!”
They only won four games that season. I don’t know what feeling the Texans were expecting to have, but it was not football.
This season, first-year Texans head coach Lovie Smith addressed the fans at training camp and asked them to join in with the 2022 mantra of “Show Up and Show Out!”
After the first two weeks of the season, the Houston Texans mantra that should be plastered all around NRG Stadium is one word.
The Texans lost another lead in the fourth quarter in their 16-9 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday. It was the second consecutive week where Houston led going into the fourth quarter and couldn’t finish (pun intended) the job.
“You just have to finish,” said offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil on Sunday. “Just have to go out and fix our mistakes, it’s as simple as that. Just have to get better at finishing games and once we do that, we’ll be a great team.”
With an 0-1-1 record, the only thing it seems the Texans have been good at is giving the fans three-quarters of respectable football before it all collapses in the fourth quarter.
“In this business you have to learn how to finish in the fourth quarter,” said Texans DE Jerry Hughes after Sunday’s loss against the Denver Broncos. #WeAreTexans #Sarge @TheTexansWire pic.twitter.com/bOChtSUc6Y
— #SARGE (@BigSargeSportz) September 22, 2022
In Week 1, the Texans held a 20-3 lead over the Indianapolis Colts before squandering it in the fourth quarter by allowing 17 points and salvaging a tie. In Week 2, Houston held a smaller lead of 9-6 heading into the final period against the Denver Broncos but was unable to sustain any momentum, and the Broncos put up 10 points to win their home opener.
“Just us having to finish,” said Texans offensive lineman A.J. Cann about the fourth-quarter woes. “We’ll be up most of the game, competing most of the game, and somehow something just switches. We have to figure out what’s causing us not to be able to finish games. The past two weeks, we haven’t been able to finish and that’s one thing we really need to get better at.”
Is it the Smith-led defense that can’t get the job done? Houston has held opponents to nine points combined in the first three quarters of both games but has surrendered 27 total points and 418 yards in the fourth quarter.
Before placing the blame solely on the defense, the Pep Hamilton/Davis Mills-led offense also must take some responsibility for these late-game collapses. In the fourth quarter of both games, the offense generated 120 yards and no points.
Whatever the problem, the Texans need to find the answer soon, or they could be looking at a very long unproductive season and a fan base calling for the jobs of Smith, Hamilton, and Mills.
“We’re working on it,” said coach Smith at his press conference on Monday. “I know the guys are competing hard. We haven’t made some plays. Sometimes it’s just that. The opportunities we just haven’t handled some of those situations well.”
“We’ve been in games throughout but just haven’t been able to finish it. I talked about the improvement you normally make from Week 1 to 2, we made some. Now, I’m excited about Week 2 to 3, to see if we can clean up some of those things and finish better.”