Houston Texans: Moral victories over the Patriots are no longer acceptable

Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien with Pats head coach Bill Belichick (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien with Pats head coach Bill Belichick (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images) /

The Houston Texans have built up a history with the New England Patriots, especially as of late. Here’s why a moral victory is no longer acceptable at all.

The Houston Texans are once again facing the New England Patriots, which has been an opponent they’ve faced for the past two seasons. Each time, the Houston Texans have played the Patriots’ tough and close, but it has never been enough. For Houston to make a big statement to potentially reach their goal, a win over New England is of vital importance.

Houston fans, I hope your Thanksgiving was a great one. I know for sure mine was. But enough about the turkey talk, let’s get down to the real business at hand. This week is a crucial week for the Houston Texans.

Yes, every week from here on in the NFL is a crucial week for Houston. But let’s really get serious about this week. The Houston Texans are playing the Patriots once again. It’s so crazy how the NFL has scheduled games between the Texans and the Patriots over the last few seasons. In my opinion, the NFL is willing to continue this trend until the Texans finally defeat the Patriots.

When I say finally, it feels like the Texans have never defeated the Patriots even though it’s been 10 seasons since Houston won 34-27. How critical was that game? Well, a Texans‘ win would mean their first winning season in franchise history and hope for their first playoffs if certain teams won their games.

All-time, including two playoff meetings, the Texans are 1-10 overall. Most of the games have been totally one-sided in New England’s favor (i.e. the Varsity Jacket game back Dec. 7, 2012) but there have been a few games that could’ve gone the Texans‘ way.

In 2003, the Texans where one of two teams to take the eventual Super Bowl champion Patriots to overtime before the greatest kicker ever in Adam Vinatieri delivered the game-winning field goal in the 23-20 game. What stunned worst was that the Patriots had a typical Tom Brady game-winning drive that tied the game in the final minutes.

Ten years later, during the horrendous 2-14 season, the Texans led 17-7 only to have the Patriots outscore them 27-14 in the second half. This was when Case Keenum was at the helm at quarterback.

Each of the two Texans‘ playoff games against New England have been close in one half only to have the Patriots’ playoff pedigree pull away in the second half.

But the last two seasons have seen the Texans play New England tougher and harder than any team that lost to the Patriots. A big reason why was the addition of Deshaun Watson. In 2017, Watson was locked in a quarterback duel with Brady that saw the Texans overcome a 28-20 deficit to take a 33-28 lead with two minutes to go. But Brady being Brady led the Patriots back with the game-winning touchdown in a 36-33 heartbreaker for the Texans.

Last year, the Texans fell behind 21-6 at halftime, but managed to outplay New England in the second half holding the Patriots to two field goals while scoring two touchdowns. They still lost 27-20. We can argue that Deshaun Watson was recovering from an ACL injury and that he wasn’t fully himself on that one.

All things considered, this week is crucial and a close loss to New England or worse is not acceptable anymore. As it stands right now, the Texans are set to play for the Wild Card weekend once again at 7-4. With New England at 10-1 and Baltimore at 9-2, it appears that unless the two of them stumble down the stretch, then rest is what they’ll get while Houston fans have to suffer another Wild Card game again. That is (knock on wood) if they do make the playoffs again.

For Houston to still have a chance to get rest, they need to win out. With two games against the Titans along with bouts against the Broncos and Buccaneers left, Houston could finish with four more wins. If that happens, then they’ll finish with 11 wins once again.

But for now, the Houston Texans have their toughest game of the season. The Patriots have continued to be the gold standard of the NFL and all of sports lately in spite of a dark cloud of questionable reputations (like some other team we know). People have said New England is about

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to be done with their dynasty or that Brady has fallen off the cliff.

I for sure don’t believe that and neither should y’all. I personally feel that if the Texans were to win a Super Bowl, they would’ve to get by the Patriots in the AFC Title Game. We’re ways away from the prospect of that happening. For right now, this game means more to our guys than any regular-season game this year.

Sure, beating the Chargers in Los Angeles was great and Deshaun getting one up on Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs was big. But those teams have downgraded since last year. The Patriots have yet to downgrade. The fact that Houston has lost close games to New England in the past makes it seem like it’s a winnable game for the Patriots.

At some point, the Texans will have to get by New England. Maybe it’s this week or in the future. If Deshaun Watson can play better than he did against the Ravens and Colts, then the Texans might have a chance.

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This is the time in the NFL where the great quarterbacks of Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and Philip Rivers are making way for Watson, Mahomes, and Lamar Jackson. Perhaps it’s time for Mr. Watson to shine in prime time and do what Jackson did. Give Brady a statement loss. After all, the Patriots are still a great team even with two losses in the season. The Texans are just still climbing to hopefully be great.