For starters, has anyone seen the Houston Texans offense? Or maybe you could locate the secondary or perhaps coaching staff?
They all went missing during the first half of the Sunday night game with the Green Bay Packers and couldn’t seem to find their way back to their home turf.
It was a classic case of "not exactly ready for prime time." OK, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system let’s have a little “Chalk Talk” about what when wrong or better yet what never got started.
The Texans (5-1) entered the Packers game as one of the hottest teams in the NFL. Houston touted the top ranked defense and an offense with a fair amount of balance. Against the Packers, the offense never got into a rhythm and quarterback Aaron Rodgers methodically picked the Texans’ secondary apart en route to a 42-24 victory.
Certainly Texans fans weren’t expecting a 16-0 run, were they? That’s a rhetorical question so let’s just move on.
You’re probably wondering what happens next? Is this the beginning of the end? Were Texans fans bamboozled? The answers: The Texans go back to the drawing board and no and no.
In a nutshell, it’s much too early to panic and start fleeing from the Texans bandwagon. J.J. Watt is right.
If you navigated your way to a seat on that wagon, don’t abandon the group because they had one heck of an awful night. Certainly Texans fans weren’t expecting a 16-0 run, were they? That’s a rhetorical question so let’s just move on.
The Texans offense showed signs of life albeit sporadically but much of the night looked hapless and flat. The defense was . . . well defenseless against the reigning MVP who maintained complete control from the opening drive. That’s right. Aaron Rodgers got his groove back at Reliant Stadium and tied a franchise record, throwing six touchdowns.
Texans safety Danieal Manning says Rodgers was simply on point. “He took the plays that we gave him, some plays he made staying alive. I remember two plays that were big. He scrambled when we had him dead to rights. He scrambled out of the pocket and completed some passes.”
Manning acknowledges that he and his teammates were outplayed. No excuses, and no finger pointing. Head coach Gary Kubiak takes responsibility for not having his team better prepared and not having the right people in place to make the right plays at the right time. He says his team lacked discipline.
While the Packers clearly came ready to play and get their season back on track, the Texans did their part to help. They were penalized seven times for 69 yards; quarterback Matt Schaub was sacked three times and threw two interceptions. Coming into the game that was the same number of sacks and interceptions Schaub had all season.
“Whether you lose it by the way we did or by one point, it’s a big loss. What I like about this locker room is no one is pointing fingers.”
Schaub calls the performance disappointing.
“We didn’t play up to our standard, up to our level of expectations that we have around here across the board, that’s everybody," he says. "We’re going to have to take a hard look at it and put it behind us. The good thing is it only counts as one.”
There were a lot of things that went wrong, very little went right. Wide receiver Andre Johnson broke the 10,000 yards mark for his career. He caught eight passes for 75 yards against the Packers but didn’t get in the end zone. It all seemed anti-climatic since his team lost and lost badly.
Manning says the defense made adjustments in the second half, but Rodgers kept throwing the ball. He was in a zone and the Texans couldn’t seem to slow him down.
Now, they have to slow Joe Flacco on Sunday.
"We needed something like this,” Manning says. “Whether you lose it by the way we did or by one point, it’s a big loss. What I like about this locker room is no one is pointing fingers.”
That’s a good thing, especially since there is enough blame to go around. Plus, it is that spirit which will lead this team back to the right path. So don’t throw in your Texans towels just yet. This is the same team you were counting on last week. They took one on the chin and so did their fans.
Now it’s time for everybody to dust him or herself off, put their game faces back on and get ready for the 5-1 Baltimore Ravens and the battle for first overall in the AFC.
Kim Davis is a seasoned journalist with more than two decades of experience covering sports, news and politics in television, radio and print. She does weekly "Chalk Talk" segments on Fox 26 Morning News.