By Lance Zierlein
October 10, 2013
The Texans won't look at it this way and nor should they, but unless something miraculous happens, the Texans are just playing out the schedule relative to their expectations headed into the season. Quarterback Matt Schaub doesn't have the ability to make plays outside of the pocket, doesn't have the arm strength to get away with bad decisions against aggressive secondaries and he definitely doesn't have the confidence that is needed to step up and show out on the biggest stage.
Gary Kubiak and Schaub are both at fault and both to blame for the Texans inconsistencies on offense. We can point to the Texans inability to replace Eric Winston or to Schaub losing his way in 2013, but let's not act like this offense hasn't been Jekyll and Hyde for a long time. There has been no doubting the explosive potential of the Houston Texans with guys like Owen Daniels, Andre Johnson and Arian Foster. Yards? Oh hell yeah! The Texans can get those! Here is how the Texans have ranked in total yardage since 2009.
So why is it that with offenses that are that prolific and consistently near the top of the league, the Texans find ways to go into the deep freeze on offense? Well ... I would venture a guess that Matt Schaub and Gary Kubiak are both to blame, but Kyle Shanahan was calling plays in 2009 and Foster didn't even play until the very end of the season.
Matt Schaub has been the constant. With Eric Winston, without him. With Andre Johnson healthy, with him hurt. With Arian Foster in the lineup, without him. With DeAndre Hopkins, with Kevin Walter -- Schaub is the constant.
Since 2009 (73 games total including playoffs), here is a breakdown on how many games featured these point totals in at least one of the halves (and sometimes both).
Since 2009, the Texans have finished ahead of the league average in scoring in every season (not counting this year) and they've finished no worse than the top 10 in total yardage. How is it even possible that almost 50% of their games have featured a half of football that yielded 6 points or fewer? If the Texans stunk as a football team during that time frame, maybe I could see it, but their record during those 73 games is 41-32.
Here is a look at percentage of total yardage gained and total points scored by half since the 2009-2010 season.
|Total Yards 1st Half||55%||41.4%||55.2%||52.80%||50.50%|
|Total Yards 2nd Half||45%||57.2%||44.8%||43.40%||43.60%|
|Points 1st Half||58.9%||38.7%||57.2%||56.50%||51.20%|
|Points 2nd Half||41.1%||60.5%||42.8%||40.30%||41.60%|
You'll notice that there is an alarming trend of showing up for one half and not for the other. What causes this? Is it a conservative philosophy by Gary Kubiak? Is it QB play? It is both? This is a rather large sample size and fans who complain about Gary Kubiak not "putting his foot on the opponent's throat" have a point.
Having a QB who can't extend third downs with his legs and riding out leads and trying to grind the clock and hang onto wins rather than extending leads is also to blame. Some of these poor offensive halves have been due to the offense simply playing poorly, but in many of those games, they came firing back in the 2nd half to either win the game or make it close.
I'm not here to try and give you an answer because I don't have one. However, there is no doubting that the inconsistencies from half to half in terms of the points on the board and how the Texans go about it, is a problem and it is tied to both QB and head coach. We already know one of them will be gone soon, but the other needs to take a close look at the data and his overall philosophy so that we see a more balanced and consistent effort from half to half.