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Chalk Talk

Texans chase the ghosts of September, try to regain the Super feeling

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The Texans went into the playoffs just needing to hold onto their early-season success, rather than remember recent debacles. Like the Patriots. Photo by Michelle Watson/CultureMapSnap
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Not only did the Texans’ Grinch steal Christmas, it also took the “happy” out of the New Year celebration. That’s why Texans fans are still somewhat reeling about last Sunday’s loss in Indianapolis to the Colts that dropped the Texans to the No. 3 seed in the AFC.

The aftermath has been interesting with the criticism and finger pointing. Not from inside the Texans’ locker room, but from fans and media alike. This is the only time the 12-4 Texans have lost two games in a row all season. They usually find a way to bounce back and make the next team pay for any previous week shortcomings.

 Oh yeah, one other scenario: No more than one field goal attempt needed because the offense scores touchdowns in the red zone. OK, that should do it. 

Perhaps that is why the volume is so high with naysayers and people rapidly jumping off the bandwagon. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with stating the obvious. This Texans’ team has been sliding into mediocrity for the past five weeks or so. But all is not lost.

They repeated as AFC South champs, for whatever that’s worth at this point. And they do get to host this playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals Saturday afternoon.

Texans coach Gary Kubiak says the regular season is over and it’s time to move onto next season.

“We just need to stay positive, move forward," Kubiak said. "We’ve got to go out there and make the plays to get all that mojo going back in the right direction. The only people that can get it done are the coaches and the players.”

It’s fair to say, the Texans still have a chance to get to the Super Bowl in New Orleans or at least the AFC Championship Game if they can reverse their recent trend of action. It could be worse. Just ask Pittsburgh, the New York Jets or even the Eagles to name a few. So while the No. 3 seed spot, this early game on Wildcard Saturday and a pending January game in New England is not what the Texans had in mind, they are at least in the playoffs.

How is that for some optimism? Who knows, maybe we’ll see the ghost of the Texans September return.

Imagine this: The Bulls on Parade defense creating turnovers and takeaways; a balanced Texans offense led by Arian Foster hitting gaping holes; the tight ends wreaking havoc while Andre Johnson looms as the biggest weapon hanging over the opposing defense.

Now that would be a nice turn of events. Of course in this performance I’m creating there is no real point in designing a starring role for the special teams. They’ve been anything but special all season.

Oh yeah, one other scenario: No more than one field goal attempt needed because the offense scores touchdowns in the red zone. OK, that should do it.

 It’s fair to say, the Texans still have a chance to get to the Super Bowl in New Orleans or at least the AFC Championship Game. 

Well, if only it were that simple. While Texans fans, as well as local and national media, have been scratching their heads about what happened to this team the same could be said for the Texans’ brass. Kubiak says if you don’t play well, you don’t win in this league. He acknowledges his comments may emulate a broken record, but the key is the team is in the playoffs.

“We didn’t handle the end of the season the way we want to handle it, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t handle these playoffs the way we want to handle it,” he said. “We understand how we have to play. We accept the responsibility.

"This guy accepts the responsibility of how we’ve played the last month, but I’ve got confidence in our players and our coaches in what we’re doing, that we can get out there and play some good football.”

If they don’t start today, they’ll be watching the playoffs with the Steelers, Jets and Eagles. My prediction is skittish. I do believe we will know early which Texans team shows up.

The tone is usually pretty clear from the opening drive. I’ll be tweeting from the first drive so stay tuned.

Kim Davis is a journalist with more than two decades of experience covering sports, news and politics in television, radio and print. Kim does weekly "Chalk Talk" segments on Fox 26 Morning News. Follow her on Twitter @kimydavis.

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