ANOTHER ROUGH DAY

Texans fail to show up, provide Christmas stinker in 34-6 loss to Steelers

Alfred Blue was a rare bright spot. Houstontexans.com

Merry Christmas from the Texans! Their present to the fans in Houston: a 34-6 loss that they were never a real threat to compete in. Really, they didn't even look like they wanted to play in this game and fell to 4-11 for the season.

Other than Jadeveon Clowney flying all over the field on defense and an amazing catch by DeAndre Hopkins, everyone else on the Texans looked lethargic. Maybe they ate too much Christmas dinner before kickoff. 

Meanwhile, the injuries continue to pile up at the quarterback position for Houston. Their fourth of the season, Taylor Heinicke, made his professional debut when T.J. Yates went to the sideline for a concussion evaluation in the second quarter. He looked like any other quarterback not named Watson and finished the day being evaluated for his own concussion. Yates was cleared to return right before Heinicke went down and came back in to finish what he stared

DeAndre Hopkins had another decent day at the office, adding four receptions, 65-yards and a touchdown to the 92/1,313/12 that he came in with. His touchdown in the fourth quarter quickly went on the short list for one of the best catches in the NFL this season. He tipped it to himself with one hand then caught it with one hand while falling out of bounds. It was a beautiful site to behold, his own Christmas miracle.

The rest of the game wasn't so amazing. T.J. Yates had two turnovers in the first half and threw for only eight yards on seven attempts. He improved in the second half getting 59 yards and a touchdown on 9 attempts. The best thing they had going for them was the running game. Alfred Blue led the team with sixteen carries for 108 yards, including a 48-yard burst at the start of the second quarter.

That big run by Blue set them up in the red zone with a chance to cut into the ten-point deficit. But when your season doesn't matter, the coach can make bold choices. At the one yard line, Bill O'Brien called passes on 3rd and 4th down. The second of those passes by Yates found itself in the arms of Artie Burns for an interception. That would be the closest Houston came to putting points on the board until it didn't matter anymore.

Pittsburgh controlled this game from start to finish and the Texans couldn't stop Le'Veon Bell from averaging 4.9 yards per carry and 5.6 yards per reception. He finished the game with 96 total yards from scrimmage and a touchdown.

The Steelers scored ten points on their first two drives while the Texans could only muster twenty-four total yards in theirs. From then on it was all about ball control for the Steelers while their defense shut down almost every possession Houston had.

Defensively, the Texans were allowing 27 points and 355 yards per game before facing the Steelers. They kept it up by allowing 34 points and 324 yards of offense to their opponent. 

This game should have been flexed out of this spot, but I guess the league just wanted to see Pittsburgh. It was never competitive and the only big highlights were a long run by Alfred Blue and the touchdown by Hopkins. Everything else I saw was not worth the time I spent watching it. 

Next week the Texans travel to Indianapolis to finish this season. The Colts only have 3 wins on the year and the Texans will be playing a team they can beat to end the year on a high note. All they really need is for more than a couple of players to show up and give a better effort.

Plenty of bad but recently some great on the short week game for Texans

Throwback Thursdays: Texans history is so so in Thursday games

Tim Warner/Getty Images

This is a list and a few thoughts from the five Thursday Night Football games where Bill O'Brien has been the head coach for the Texans.

2014: The almost comeback for the ages - Texans lose 33-28

This game sucked early, but then almost sucked a lot less. It still sucked in the end but it had one of J.J. Watt's best plays of his career.

The Colts jumped out to an early lead thanks to a Pat McAfee onside kick and a huge T.Y. Hilton play from Andrew Luck. It was one of the signature Hilton games in his time against the Texans. The Colts would lead 24-0 at the end of the first quarter. Ryan Fitzpatrick and Arian Foster along with some stellar defense would get the Texans back in the game but it wasn't enough.

This was the first Thursday game under Bill O'Brien and would be right in the middle of a three game losing streak coming off a bad overtime loss to the Cowboys and ahead of a Monday disaster against the Steelers.

2015: Sick Hasselbeck makes Texans fans sicker - Texans lose 27-20

I always describe this game as the one where Matt Hasselbeck was crapping his pants on the sidelines and still beat the Texans. I am not too wrong about this. He was so sick he didn't practice and yet still had enough for the Colts to beat the Texans. He was also 40 years old too by the way.

This one hurt as it was Andre Johnson's return to Houston but he was wearing a Colts uniform. He scored the opening touchdown and it was pretty much the only good game he had for the Colts that season. He also scored what would be the deciding touchdown in this one.

It also marked one of the quarterback indecision moments of Bill O'Brien's tenure. Ryan Mallett took a big hit and asked out of the game and Brian Hoyer returned to the game and played pretty well. He completed a long pass as time expired to Jaelen Strong (remember that name!?) to get the Texans their first touchdown. Trialing by seven Hoyer threw an interception in Colts territory ending the Texans comeback attempt.

2016: Brissett blows out Brock - Texans lose 27-0

This is one of the worst losses of the Bill O'Brien era. The Patriots were down to their third-string quarterback in the midst of a Tom Brady suspension and Jimmy Garoppolo's injury. Enter Jacoby Brissett and the best coach of all-time to torture Brock Osweiler and the Texans. Oh, by the way, Gronk was hurt too I think.

A field goal by New England put the first points on the board and the Texans fumbled the ensuing kickoff which then moments later saw Brissett take a rush 27 yards to the house. The Texans wouldn't get on the Patriots side of the field until there was a couple of minutes left in the third quarter and they were down 20-0.

We should have all known Osweiler stunk when he couldn't score in this game, but it took me a few more weeks before I really jumped off the Brock train.

2017: The first one for the chosen one - Texans win 13-9

Tom Savage was benched and Deshaun Watson's era began. A short week after sitting behind Savage in training camp and then getting thrown to the Jaguars defense in the second half of week one didn't matter to Watson. It was the start of his coming out party.

The defense kicked ass in this game helping Watson get the first win. The big run above was the moment many of us will never forget when it comes to this Thursday night affair.

2018: Welcome Back Brock - Texans win 42-23

Ah yes, the Brock Osweiler revenge game! The Texans had won four straight after a dreadful start to the season and were coming off a physical game with Jacksonville. This was Brock Osweiler's chance for revenge on the team that jettisoned him after the 2016 season.

There would be little revenge. Credit the Dolphins, they kept the game fairly close until Deshaun Watson started cooking in the second half. Four touchdowns in the second half was quite the efficient showing on just 10 pass attempts.

It was a fun Thursday night contest especially given the Texans history on the short week under O'Brien.

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