The good, bad and ugly from the Texans' season-ending loss in Indianapolis

Jadeveon Clowney and Bernardrick McKinney were impact players on Sunday. Houstontexans.com

This was the final game of the season for the 2017 Houston Texans. The 22-13 loss to rival Indianapolis Colts mercifully ended what has been a dumpster fire of a season. The 4-12 record makes them  the third worst team in the league in terms of record and tied for second worst record in the team’s history.

The Good

- Zach Cunningham had 12 tackles, four of which were solo. The rookie linebacker has been rounding into form as of late and was all over the field against the Colts. His sideline to sideline speed is undeniable. However, it’s his understanding of his assignments that I’ve noticed the most improvement in his game. He still has moments of looking out of place, but I look forward to what he can provide this team in the future.

- Jadeveon Clowney has proved he’s more valuable to this team than J.J. Watt. He chased Jacoby Brissett out of the pocket several times recording a half a sack, held up well against the run (sans that stiff arm from Marlon Mack), and dropped into coverage (where he laid Mack out to get revenge). Do not argue with me on this one. He’s proven himself worthy of perhaps the richest non-quarterback contract in the league.

-Benardrick McKinney has showed continued improvement. While his coverage skills still need work, he appears to have a much better understanding of the game. I particularly like the way he calls out adjustments to the defense. His passion for the game was on display when I noticed him trying to pump up his teammates after the safety punt.  

The Bad

- Jonathan Joseph may have played not only his last game as a Texan, but his last game period. He no longer possesses the athletic ability that was his calling card early on in his career. He was badly beaten by T.Y. Hilton on the Colts first possession and fell down. Luckily, the pass was overthrown, or else it could have resulted in a touchdown.

-Another loss, another game in which this team averaged less than four yards per carry, 3.1 to be specific. What really puzzled me was that Lamar Miller averaged 4.6 yards per carry on eight carries, but Alfred Blue got 18 carries averaging a miniscule 2.2 yards per carry. The offensive line is partially to blame here, but at what point does this team need better talent in the backfield?

-Speaking of Blue, the mere fact that he led the team in receptions with four says all you need to know about how this game went and the depth this team doesn’t have. Second leading receiver was Chris Thompson, an undrafted rookie free agent.

The Ugly

- Will Fuller left the game with a knee injury in the first half. It didn’t seem too serious because he was standing on the sideline and appeared fine, but it’s a mere drop in the bucket to what they’ve experienced this year. The Texans have used 77 players this year and have 19 players on injured reserve.

-Chris Slade and Breno Giacomini had a terrible miscommunication that led to Yates getting sacked for a safety. Giacomini (playing right tackle) went wide as Slade (playing right guard) went towards the inside leaving a hole you could’ve driven a bus through. Thank God Yates didn’t take a huge hit and was able to get up. Offensive line play like this has hurt the run game as well as caused Tom Savage to get concussed. Deshaun Watson was running for his life before his unfortunate injury.

-Braxton Miller had an opportunity to step up to the plate to prove himself worthy of his status as a third round pick and help begin to dispel the bust talk that follows him. He had two catches for nine yards and one punt return for -3 yards. Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, must be a duck? Right? I don’t know how he comes back to this team next year.

One thing I noticed about this game is that players didn’t give up and played hard. I didn’t see many “business decisions” being made by players who may have had their vacation bags packed already. There were even some chippy extracurricular activities following some plays.  Sure, there were a few guys that didn’t run out plays, or attempt to chase a play down, but no full-on mailing it in. Bill O’Brien didn’t call plays as if he had punted on the season. Biggest evidence to this thought was the fact that he used all three timeouts with about 3-4 minutes left in an attempt to get the ball back while down 19-13. Games like these between two teams with nothing to play for can often be a snooze fest. While it wasn’t exciting, it was good to see it be competitive.

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Let him cook! Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets are in the midst of a rebuild. Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr are studs. KPJ just signed a four-year extension with the team. Other guys like Jabari Smith Jr, Kenyon Martin Jr, Alperen Sengun, Josh Christopher, Tari Eason, and Jae'Sean Tate are really good pieces to surround Green and KPJ with. The only issue with this group: they're REALLY young! Tate is the elder statesman at 27 of the young nucleus. Most are barely old enough to buy a drink. Some still aren't old enough! They're a bunch of green bananas waiting to turn yellow to slightly brown and be ripe enough for consumption.

We need to give it time. Just like bananas, they take time to ripen. Coach Stephen Silas is known for developing young players. His most prized student is the star player for that team in South Oklahoma up 45. Number 77 for that team credited Silas with helping him realize his All-Pro potential while Silas was a part of the coaching staff there. To a man, all his former players credit him with being a positive influence on their careers. So why are fans in a rush to get rid of him?

When you look at the Rockets' record over the last few years, it's gross. Sure, they've been a lottery team the last couple of seasons, but that was by design. As part of the Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook trades, they gave away pick swap rights. Had they not been that bad, they wouldn't have been able to draft Green or Smith Jr. Those two guys are building blocks for the future, along with KPJ. Giving those picks away would've put this team further down the totem pole of developing themselves into a contender. Losing pays off when you can hit on high lottery picks.

If you give a chef dirt, bread, ham, molded cheese, and spoiled mayo, can you expect anything else but a nasty ham sandwich? How about if the chef was given a steak that is almost rotten, potatoes with root growth, and spoiled butter? Could you expect a better meal than the sandwich? Yes! However, that meal may still cause a stomachache. Now, give said chef a full complement of gourmet groceries and guess what you'll get?

This is why I say let Silas cook. He's the perfect coach for this group of kids. He can teach them all the fundamentals of the game at this level and help them grow into their full potential. If there's a change to be made on the sidelines, move Silas into a front office role, but DO NOT get rid of him! Guys like him are too valuable. Why do you think Mark Cuban hated losing him, but knew he couldn't retain him because he had a head coach already? Cuban knew what he had in Silas and what Silas did for Luka Doncic. He can do something similar for the Rockets if given the time to work his magic.

Should Tilman Fertita find the need to move on, I'd look for a more experienced coach who can guide them from bottom of the playoff ladder into top four in the West and real contenders. For now, Silas is the head chef. Continue giving him the groceries he needs, and he'll continue giving these kids the lessons they need to develop. Changing the coach now could stunt their growth. Let him cook!

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