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Sunday, December 29, 2013
Goodbye to season of dubious firsts

By Tania Ganguli

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- To a Houston Texans' season filled with record-setting performances and unprecedented feats in all the wrong ways, goodbye.

Goodbye to what began in thrilling fashion, with two come-from-behind victories for a team seemingly marching toward the Super Bowl. Instead the 2013 Texans became the first team in NFL history to lose every game after starting 2-0.

Goodbye to the year in which Matt Schaub became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw a pick-six in four consecutive games. And even when he didn't throw one, quarterback T.J. Yates did it in his place, making the Texans the first team in NFL history to have a quarterback throw a pick-six in five consecutive games.

Houston's Matt Schaub
Matt Schaub and the Texans became the first NFL team to lose the season's final 14 games after starting 2-0.
And while we're at it, goodbye to an intensely private quarterback who had a personality the public never got to see. If fans had seen the side of Schaub that made him well-liked and respected among his teammates, perhaps their ire might have softened when things went so bad this season.

Goodbye to a season that began and ended with interceptions by Schaub, one in which he said "everything" went wrong. "Situational football, turning it over, giving teams opportunities, penalties, not staying on the field on third down, not getting off the field sometimes on third down, and just so many things."

Goodbye to the first season since 1999 when an undrafted quarterback started the first time he was active for an NFL game. Case Keenum's learning process, hampered by an avalanche of injuries around him, resulted in eight more losses that couldn't be blamed on Schaub.

Goodbye to the season of the Ed Reed courtship followed by a surprise surgery, followed by Ed Reed Thursdays and then the bubbling frustration. Ugliness followed Reed to his next destination in New York, perhaps the best player ever to play his position struggling with the denouement of his career.

Goodbye to a team that became one of just four in NFL history to win 12 games in one season and lose 12 in the next. The other three did so because of a relocation, the start of the salary cap and a starting quarterback's career-ending concussion. None took as perplexing a dive as these talented Texans did.

Goodbye to a running back group that featured a Week 17 starter who was picked up off his couch a week and a half prior. Jonathan Grimes asked the official for the ball after he scored his first career touchdown. He was the fourth player to start at running back for the Texans this season after Arian Foster, he of the many injuries, Ben Tate, who played through broken ribs until it didn't make sense to do so anymore and Dennis Johnson, who started one game before a hip injury knocked him out.

Goodbye to an interim head coach whose professionally difficult year was compounded by personal tragedy. Wade Phillips said he couldn't answer whether or not he'd return as the next head coach's defensive coordinator.

Goodbye to the longest single-season losing streak in franchise history -- 14 games. With Sunday's 16-10 loss in Nashville, the Texans became the only team in the past five season to have a losing streak that long.

"I'm just glad what we went through this season is over," receiver Andre Johnson said, he of many records that felt good but didn't matter. "I enjoy playing football, but what we went through this season as a team, I wouldn't wish that on anybody to experience."

Hello, to the benevolent end.