There are lies, damned lies, and this

The stadium was practically empty on Sunday. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

You know the Houston Texans are a toxic fume-spitting dumpster fire when they lose 31-0 to divisional rival Indianapolis at home, their second blowout shutout this season, they’re eliminated from playoff contention, starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor can't move the ball past midfield, the passing attack was non-existent, the running game even worse … and the final score was only the second most embarrassing thing that happened at NRG Stadium last Sunday.

The official reported attendance was, get ready … 65,291 fans. That’s damn near a sell-out. The place must have been roaring whenever Taylor or second stringer Davis Mills completed a pass or, more realistically speaking, avoided a sack or didn’t throw an interception.

Photo by Ken Hoffman

Seriously … 65,291? You've got eyes, right? The stadium was practically empty, whole sections had barely a handful of very socially distanced fans, quieter than a library except for frustrated booing at the Texans incompetence.

Fans had plenty to jeer about. The Texans are last in passing offense and rushing offense. Coach David Culley talks about the need to score touchdowns not field goals, but the team has scored fewer than six points in four games.

You can run down every analytic and the bottom line is still the same. Simply the Texans are a horribly mismanaged, out-couched, outplayed, undisciplined, unsupported NFL franchise, their 2-10 record is the worst in team history after a dozen games. Everything is pointing in the wrong direction. But don't dare to think this is rock bottom. There's more to come.

So why are 65,291 fans still coming to games? Of course they’re not. The NFL calculates attendance by the number of tickets sold, including the season tickets bought before the season started. The Sunday attendance figure doesn’t take into account tickets resold on the secondary market, comps and more than anything else, tens of thousands of no-shows. Ticket scalpers along Kirby Drive can only muster a forlorn, “Need two?” Tickets were available on the Internet for as low as $6 last Sunday.

Until recently, when team president Jamey Rootes ran the show, the Texans boasted the best tailgating in the NFL. Parking lots smelled like bratwurst. They actually do give awards for pre-game pigouts and the Texans were the gold standard. Now? The parking lots look abandoned, like a shopping mall after closing hour. Fans can leave the game with 5 minutes left and be home to watch the opposing quarterback kneel away the final few seconds.

The Texans claim of 65,299 fans is more laughable than the Thanksgiving Day Parade insanely insisting that 300,000 spectators line 20 blocks of downtown Houston to cheer on floats featuring a TV weatherman.

My guess for the real attendance last Sunday at NRG Stadium – 21,000 to watch a stinker of an effort by the Texans. Let’s see how many show up this Sunday when the Texans host the 4-8 Seattle Seahawks. It could get lonely.

All of these Texans losses couldn’t happen at a worse time for the team’s image. The photo of the day was a fan holding a sign pleading with owner Cal McNair to sell the team.

Houston is supposed to be a football-crazy town, and fans clearly have given up on the Texans. Meanwhile the Astros have fashioned a mini-dynasty with deep playoff runs, and the left-for-dead Rockets suddenly have shown a pulse with six consecutive wins.

Meanwhile, the Texans are a statistical and artistic flop, absent of star power, faced with a dwindling and disgusted fan base and empty seats.

It actually could be more embarrassing for the Texans. From 1973 to 2014 the NFL imposed a blackout rule: if a team failed to sell at least 85 percent of tickets 72 hours before kickoff, the game would be blacked out on local TV. If that rule were still in effect, and the NFL counted butts in seats and not tickets sold, Houstonians would be watching Dyson vacuum cleaner infomercials on Channel 11 Sunday afternoons.

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Critical takeaways from Rockets' 105-103 loss to Warriors

Rockets fall short against Warriors. Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

This wasn't the typical Houston Rockets-Golden St. Warriors game when Mike D' Antoni and Steve Kerr were having an offensive battle of wits. James Harden, who plays for the Brooklyn Nets, was nowhere in sight for the Rockets Friday night. Although the Rockets are in rebuild mode, it was still an interesting game. The intensity was high throughout the entire game. Emotions between Stephen Silas and Kerr were heavy, as they were yelling and jumping up-and-down along the sidelines.

A series of runs and back-and-forth scoring gave a slight reminder of the old rivalry between the Warriors and Rockets. Steph Curry was having a tough game, but with 5.1 seconds left, he was able to create great separation from a step back and drained an incredible midrange shot over Kevin Porter Jr. It was heartbreaking because Porter played great defense on Curry throughout the entire game, with Curry only making 6 out of 22 shots. Porter had a tremendous first-half defensively on Curry and recorded an 88.9 defensive rating. Porter had a good feel for guarding Curry, he didn't allow himself to switch away from him. He anticipated passing lanes and ripped Curry a couple of times.

Besides Porter playing great defense, the Rockets played good as a whole. They finished with 10 steals. Their main technique was to switch everything on defense, and Kenyon Martin Jr. and Christian Wood did a good job. It's never easy staying in front of Curry and Jordan Poole, but if they could hold their ground for five seconds, it became possible. Porter did a great job at times by communicating on defense, so he could tell Jalen Green and Eric Gordon when to switch.

And speaking of Green--- he had a strange night offensively. He went 0-11 from the field but made two great plays in the fourth quarter. Instead of Silas keeping Green on the bench because of his cold hand, he kept him in the game for learning purposes. Green made an outstanding play on Curry at the 2:52 mark in the 4th quarter. Before that, he missed a shot from three but fought hard for the rebound, then found a cutting Wood towards the rim. Green might of struggled, but the effort was there.

This was a tough loss for the Rockets, but they are steadily improving. The Rockets are 3-5 in their last five games.

Up next: The Rockets face the Spurs on Tuesday night.

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