HOUSTON — The Houston Texans playoff run came to an in an historic fashion Sunday after the team gave up a 24-0 lead in the second quarter to lose eventually lose to the Kansas City Chiefs 51-21.
The loss has left the Texans, their fans and others with questions as to what is next for the franchise.
Following Sunday’s game, a reporter asked Texans coach Bill O’Brien “What’s holding your team back right now?” in which he responded, “I don’t know. We’ve got to look at everything.”
WHAT THE PLAYERS ARE SAYING
Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson came to his head coach’s defense following the game after he was asked if O’Brien was the right coach to lead the Texans.
“No doubt. You might have doubt, but I don’t. I love that man,” the QB said.
“The momentum switched and we couldn’t get it back. That was pretty much it,” Watson said.
Watson added that the team just could not “flip the script” after the momentum shifted.
“The future is bright for this organization, for this city, for this team, for this lockerroom, everything,” Watson said. “There is no way I will be discouraged for the future, it’s all positive, we did so much for this season, we went through so much ups and downs, for us to be one of the final eight teams was huge.”
Texans star defensive lineman J.J. Watt talked more about the momentum shift from the first to the second quarter.
“It sucked, it’s not fun, but that’s what happened, you wish it didn’t happened like that happened so now you have to live with that,” Watt said. “You live for the highs and hope to avoid the lows.”
Safety Justin Reid tweeted: "Not the ending we wanted. Truthfully only one team in the NFL has a happy ending at the end of the year. I’m proud of the men we have and what we’ve battle through. Will remember this feeling going into next season!"
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WHAT NATIONAL MEDIA ARE SAYING
Most of the conversation on social media focuses on O’Brien’s in-game decisions.
“Bill O'Brien's decision to call a fake punt on fourth and 4 at his 31 with a 24-7 lead midway through the second quarter will go down as one of the worst in playoff history if the Texans blow this game as they're trying so hard to do.” – John McClain
“It wasn’t Bill O’Brien’s cautious decision to take the field goal that changed the game. It was the foolish decision to fake the punt at their own 32 that sent the Texans into what seems an irreversible downward spiral.” – Ed Werder
“Only Bill O'Brien could turn a 24-0 first half lead on the road against a No. 2 seed into a career-ending event.” – Patrick Daugherty
“Bill O’Brien pressing the panic button way to early. His players can sense it. Once the players feel the panic in a coach by his decision making, the outcome is never a good one.” – Kirk Morrison
“Let’s waive the 5-year waiting period and induct Bill O’Brien’s 2nd quarter into the Bad Coaching Hall of Fame, pantheon wing, with his bust covered in gold and vomit.” – Bill Simmons
“At least the Houston Texans didn’t have the biggest collapse in NFL history. Not even the biggest collapse in Houston pro football history.” – Frank Schwab
“Houston needed a near-perfect game plan. Instead, they got conservative when they should've taken a risk and vice-versa (DeAndre Hopkins trying to lateral to Watson, who then nearly fumbled, with the Texans barely clinging to a first-half lead pretty much summed up the whole night.)” – Cody Benjamin
CBS Sports: Why the Texans lost
"Maybe this is what a breakdown feels like—the notion that, after it starts there is nothing you can do to stop it. One minute, you’re holstering your play sheet after dialing up a first-quarter kill shot that could send your team to the Super Bowl. The next, you're just a man all alone on the sidelines amid the fireworks wondering where it all went wrong." - Connor Orr
“The result was a reminder that the Chiefs offense is an unstoppable force, and the Texans defense, which ranked 26th in DVOA, is far from an immovable object. The Texans were 10-point underdogs entering this game, but the final score is indicative of the Bill O’Brien era in Houston: consistent underachievement and disappointment.” – Riley McAtee
The Ringer: Texans exit interview
“Two of the game’s most dynamic young quarterbacks, Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, showed why they’re viewed as such in a game that had more points in the first two quarters than any other playoff game so far had when it finished.” – Andrew Beaton
Wall Street Journal: The Houston Texans Were Up Big. Then Patrick Mahomes Happened.
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The Texans scored 31 points to the Chiefs and lost. ESPN Stats says entering the day, teams that scored 31 points in a playoff game had won 88 percent (189-25) of those games in the Super Bowl era.
The Chiefs are the first team in NFL history, regular season or playoffs, to trail by 24-plus points in the first half and be tied or leading entering halftime, according to NFL Research.
Only three times in NFL history has a team trailed by 20-plus points and won by 20-plus points in the same game, according to CBS Sports HQ.
There are some positive numbers for the Texans, mostly surrounding career postseason stats.
Watson passed Matt Schaub (605) for the most career postseason passing yards in Texans history.
DeAndre Hopkins also now owns 387 career postseason receiving yards, passing Andre Johnson (358) for the most in Texans history.
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