WAR ROOM: Texans annual swoon

Discussion in 'NFL Zone' started by CowboyPrincess, Dec 14, 2004.

  1. CowboyPrincess

    CowboyPrincess Priceless

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    December means it's time for Texans' annual swoon December 14, 2004

    The Houston Texans might be only 3 years old, but they've already perfected at least one tradition: the December swoon.

    The Texans (5-8) lost for the fifth time in six games Sunday, losing 23-14 to the AFC South champion Indianapolis Colts. The defeat dropped Houston's record in December to 1-10, including two losses this month. The only victory came against Pittsburgh in 2002.

    The NFL's youngest franchise has never had anything to play for except draft positioning in the final month of the season, and this year is no different.

    With the playoffs no longer even a remote possibility, the Texans have begrudgingly set more realistic goals, like winning their final three games to finish 8-8.

    "We can't let what's happened in the past couple games get us down," rookie cornerback Dunta Robinson said Monday. "We want to win these last few games so we can come into next year feeling better about ourselves."

    The Texans haven't had much to feel good about since beating Jacksonville on Oct. 31, putting them at 4-3 - the first time in team history they were above .500 that late in the season.

    Since that point, Houston has been blown out by Denver, the New York Jets and Indianapolis, lost to Green Bay on a field goal as time expired, and rallied late for a win over Tennessee.

    Then came Sunday's rematch against Peyton Manning and the Colts.

    Tailback Domanick Davis had a career-best 201 yards on offense, and the Texans' defense limited Manning to two TD passes - after allowing five in the first matchup - and held the NFL's top offense to its lowest point total of the season.

    The Colts were even complimentary of their fledgling rivals after Sunday's game, a sharp turnaround from their oodles of trash talk following the last meeting.

    "The Texans put together a very good defensive game plan against us," Colts receiver Marvin Harrison said. "It was the same defense all game, but their execution improved greatly."

    That was small consolation to the Texans.

    Houston's locker room was an unusually grim place after the defeat. For some of the Texans players who have grown tired of losing, being just competitive is clearly no longer enough.

    "No more positives. You have to produce. Somebody has to show us the way," linebacker Jamie Sharper said Sunday. "There's a light at the end of the tunnel, but who's going to direct us there? We need somebody to direct us to wins instead of close games."

    Asked whom in particular he was referring to, Sharper said: "I don't know."

    Defensive end Gary Walker added: "It's getting old. ... It's time for a change."

    With his team seemingly becoming more frustrated with each loss, coach Dom Capers almost seemed to expect the simmering undercurrent of dissension.

    "To me, the challenge is every guy has to look within himself to see what he can do better," Capers said. "The first sign of a losing team is if you start to see excuses, and people pointing fingers and placing blame."

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