Everything seemed set up perfectly for the Houston Texans to finally make the playoffs this season. Then, the injuries started happening and . . . now everything's back in turmoil.
The Texans players found out Monday that Mario Williams, the team's best pass rusher and arguably its second-most irreplaceable player behind quarterback Matt Schaub, will miss the rest of the season. ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported that Williams was facing the end of his season. The Houston Chronicle's John McClain then reported that Williams would have the season-ending surgery.
When Williams left Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders with a pectoral injury, few of his teammates thought much of it. Williams' departure wasn't anything close to as dramatic as wide receiver Andre Johnson's untouched collapse to the ground the week before (Johnson, the Texans' top receiver, could be out a month). But it turned out, Williams had a torn pectoral that requires surgery.
And now the Texans — and head coach Gary Kubiak, who is fighting to keep his job beyond this season and desperately needs a playoff berth to show owner Bob McNair — are in serious trouble. Rookie linebacker Brooks Reed now becomes the starter at a crucial position in Wade Phillips' revamped defense.
"It's a huge responsibility whenever you're in for Mario," Reed told CultureMap on Sunday, before he knew just how long he'd be filling in. "He's a big impact player and I have to try and play up to that level."
The Texans have now lost their No. 1 tailback (Arian Foster), No. 1 receiver (Johnson) and No. 1 pass rusher (Williams) for chunks of the season already. And the year is only five games old.