Rapid Reaction: Houston Texans
December, 22, 2013
By Tania Ganguli | ESPN.com
HOUSTON -- Thoughts from the Houston Texans' 37-13 loss to the Denver Broncos at Reliant Stadium:
What it means: Nothing, really. A win Sunday would have given the Texans something to feel happy about for a little bit and provided a source of pride at stalling an explosive offense. They've come to terms with the fact that they aren't accomplishing their bigger goals this season; now it's just a matter of making it through one more game before the recovery can begin.
Stock watch: Texans quarterback Matt Schaub entered Sunday's game with a chance at a bit of redemption. He missed the Week 7 game in Kansas City thanks to a foot and ankle injury. While he was out, his backup's performance gave the Texans a spark, former head coach Gary Kubiak thought, which was enough to earn Case Keenum the new role as the Texans' starter. This week Keenum was sidelined as he recovered from a thumb injury that included ligament damage. In what might have been Schaub's final game at Reliant Stadium, he offered a familiar performance. Some good moments, some shaky ones and two interceptions -- one of which opened the door for Peyton Manning's second of four touchdowns in the game.
Defense flips script: For the first three quarters, the Texans' defense was playing what might be its best game of the season. It gave up a ton of yards -- including 355 in the first half -- but only one touchdown out of all of it. Denver went into halftime with a tenuous 16-6 lead that became a 16-13 lead in the third quarter. The Broncos went three-and-out three times and punted four times in the third quarter.
Show of respect: Several Texans congratulated Manning for breaking the single-season touchdown record with 51, starting with punter Shane Lechler, then defensive end J.J. Watt. Andre Johnson exchanged a few words with Manning, as did Texans owner Bob McNair. Manning threw four touchdowns and had 400 yards.
What's next: A trip to Nashville to play the Tennessee Titans, then the merciful end to what has been a nightmarish season for the Texans.