Kubiak must go, the amazing Colts, coaching blunders and more Snaps
The Texans are a mind-boggling 1-15 against the Colts since their '02 inception
Houston owner Robert McNair has likely seen enough of the Gary Kubiak regime
The Panthers have officially reached 'debacle' status with Delhomme at QB
Musings, observations and the occasional insight in a rather lackluster Week 12 that clearly will save its best for last: Patriots at Saints, where I'll be Monday night in a jacked-to-the-gills Superdome in New Orleans ...
Three games ago, sitting 5-3 for the first time in franchise history, the Houston Texans generated plenty of talk about being headed for the playoffs. Today, all they're headed for is last in the AFC South. (Check the standings. They're now tied with surging Tennessee for the bottom rung of the division.)
By now, everyone knows the story with these Texans. They have a fatal flaw. They can't finish. They start well, and have their big dreams, but they can't close out anyone or anything. It happened again for Houston on Sunday at home against the first-place and undefeated Colts. Up 17-0 in the first half of a game they had to win, the Texans tightened up and saw Indy reel off a 35-3 run en route to a 35-27 victory.
Three games in a row now, against the Colts in Indy in Week 9, and at home against Tennessee and Indy in Weeks 11-12, the Texans have teased but come up small against a division opponent in a big-game setting. Houston (1-4 in the AFC South) had a pair of fourth-quarter leads to protect in the games against Indianapolis, and it managed a fourth-quarter tie against the Titans. But they were losses all, taking the Texans from 5-3 to 5-6 and virtually out of playoff contention in a heartbeat.
You have to wonder what more Texans owner Bob McNair needs to see? Gary Kubiak's team can't finish, and because of it, he should be finished after this, his fourth season in Houston. Despite being a trendy pick to make the playoffs, the Texans will only wind up reinforcing the trend they've followed all eight years of their existence and miss the postseason. Houston is now a mind-boggling 1-15 against the Colts, who are still the class of its division.
McNair gave Dom Capers the boot as his head coach after four playoff-less seasons, and Kubiak now deserves the exact same treatment. Despite having some of the most gifted players in the league at several positions, the Texans lack heart, killer instinct and the know-how to win. If that's not a reflection on a head coach's leadership, what pray tell is?
As December dawns, the Texans are again toast. They should be in the market for a new face of the franchise in the coming weeks, and it's obvious they're in desperate need of a heart transplant, as well. Four years is an eminently fair shot in today's NFL. Kubiak got his chance to make the Texans a winner, and he failed. Better than most, he knows he and his football team have wound up on the wrong side of the bottom line.
Call the Colts fortunate if you wish, but it's their refusal to panic, no matter how dire the situation, that has led to winning a league-record five consecutive games despite trailing in the fourth quarter. I'm not sure what it would take to really bury Indy these days, but you could tell being down 17 points in the second quarter at Houston wasn't going to fluster Peyton Manning and Co.
I honestly don't know which of Indy's latest feats is more impressive: The 20 consecutive regular-season wins, just one shy of New England's 2006-2008 league record, its NFL-record seventh straight year of at least 11 wins, or its 11-0 start under rookie head coach Jim Caldwell?
This Vince Young career resurrection story has officially gone gonzo. The Titans are now 5-0 since Young took over for Kerry Collins, and on Sunday he led Tennessee on a game-winning, 18-play, 99-yard touchdown drive that started with 2:37 remaining and Arizona up 17-13.
Young converted three fourth downs and a third down on the Elway-esque drive, finishing it with a 10-yard, 4th-and-goal completion to rookie receiver Kenny Britt on the game's final play.
Young threw for 387 yards against the Cardinals, on 27 of 43 passing, with the one touchdown and no interceptions. Britt had a career-best game, with seven catches for 128 yards and his game-winning touchdown.
This is getting fun. Young is playing with supreme confidence, and the Titans are now remarkably a game under .500 after starting the season with six consecutive losses. Tennessee travels to 11-0 Indianapolis next week, but who's to say the Titans can't beat anybody at this point?
Not a shabby game by Arizona quarterback Matt Leinart either, who was pressed into service when Kurt Warner awoke Sunday with a lingering concussion-related headache. Leinart finished 21 of 31 for 220 yards, without an interception or a touchdown. But he was overshadowed once again by his old rival from the 2006 national championship game, Vince Young. The ex-Longhorn got the best of the ex-Trojan once again.
Two more interceptions for Chicago's Jay Cutler. Three more touchdowns (and 392 yards passing) for Minnesota's Brett Favre. Could this season have gone in more divergent directions for those two newly acquired NFC North quarterbacks?
Cutler now has 20 picks to go with his 16 touchdown passes, while Favre is up to 24 touchdowns against just three interceptions. Favre's in the running for Most Valuable Player; Cutler might win 'most disappointing' in a landslide.
I wrote last week that Atlanta remained a dangerous, playoff-contending team even at 5-5, but it almost put the lie to that at home Sunday against the plucky, one-win Buccaneers. The Falcons survived 20-17 to get to 6-5 and keep their wild-card hopes on track, but the state of Matt Ryan's injured big toe might determine how far into December their playoff contention lasts.
Kudos to Falcons backup quarterback Chris Redman, whose 5-yard touchdown pass to Roddy White on 4th-and-goal with 26 seconds remaining saved the day and the season for Atlanta. All you want out of your No. 2 quarterback is for him to give you a chance to win without your starter on the field, and by that measure, Redman (243 yards, two TDs) got the job done.
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