Third Quarter Nap

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December 5, 2007
Third Quarter Nap

by Keith Weiland

So the Texans are 5-7, have a list of players on the injured reserve, and are once again set to play a meaningless December. Stop me if you’ve heard this before.

Yeah. So the usual suspects are putting the team in this position. It’s the deadbeat pass rush, the negligent pass protection, the ineffective running game, and the whackjob secondary.

And of course it’s easy to place the heaviest of the blame on the turnovers. Yeah, turnovers suck. Can’t win when you lose the turnover battle? That…is…genius!! Why didn’t we think of that before. So wait, if we stop giving over the football to the other team, we might improve our chances at winning? Omigosh!

Like I said, of course turnovers have been a problem. We all know it, so I won’t be pointing to the team’s pathetic turnover margin as the excuse for such a disappointing finish to a season that even as little as three weeks ago was so promising.

Instead, I’m going to point out that the Texans have been one of the worst – if not the worst – team in the league this year coming out of halftime, at least after starting with two wins this season.

So how pathetic have they been? Here’s the week-by-week look:

Week 3: Versus the Colts at home, the Texans had a game at halftime, down only 14-10. Then the third quarter clock started. Whoops. By the time the quarter was over, they were down 27-10.

Week 4: On the road against the Falcons, the Texans were inexplicably down 20-10 at halftime. So of course the team came out of the tunnel with offense on the brain to make up the difference, right? Nope, a 3-3 scoring push in the third quarter.

Week 5: Ah, the exception, sort of. It at least proves my point. The Texans were losing to the winless Dolphins at halftime 16-10 (amazing, right?) and proceeded to spank them in the third quarter with two field goals to tie the game. Woohoo!! It ain’t much, but trust me, it’s the best they have the rest of the way.

Week 6: Down 10-6 at half in Jacksonville, the Texans farted just three points to the Jaguars’ six in the third quarter.

Week 7: Down at home 22-7 at the half to the Titans, – who were led by, oh the humanity, Kerry Collins and not VY – the Texans came out with guns ablazin’ in the third. Wait, no they didn’t. The Texans failed to score and saw the deficit grow by an extra 10 points to 32-7.

Week 8: The insult to injury, the Texans went down 35-3 at half. So why not go crazy and light it up in the second half, right? No, the Texans failed to score at all in the third quarter.

Okay, I’m calling a column time out. Look, I know this game-by-game review is laboriously repetitive, and I know you already get the point. But the Texans obviously don’t get it. Look, this doesn’t get any better, even though the team is about to win the next two games and show signs of hope for wildcard berth.

So, onward and downward we go…

Week 9: The Texans are up 17-10 over the Raiders on the road. With a chance to put them away, the team fails to score in the third quarter. Since the Raiders are a disaster, the Texans win anyway.

Week 10: Bye. And yes, now the cheapshot: The Texans failed to score in the third quarter here, too.

Week 11: Again, the Texans take a 17-0 lead into halftime , this time against the Saints, and fail to stomp on their necks in what turns out to be a scoreless third.

Week 12: The biggest game of the season, on the road against the Browns, and the Texans again are outscored in the third quarter 3-0. Buh-bye playoff hopes.

Week 13: The Texans actually lead at halftime in Nashville, but true to form, get spanked 14-0 in the third quarter. By now, this should not be a surprise to anyone other than the Texans themselves.

For the record, since Week 3, the Texans have been outscored in the third quarter 49-12. Yes, the Texans are averaging just over one point per game in the third quarter over a ten-game span. They haven’t even scored a single freaking point in the third quarter in the last six games straight! Are you kidding me?

So yeah, keep blaming the turnovers. They’re killing us to be sure. But me? I’m going to blame the third quarter performances.

The third quarter is the time when good coaches shine. Both teams have shown their first half cards, the game has a life, and the mid-game break is a time when coaches make adjustments.

Since they’re not making adjustments, there is no telling what Texans are doing instead.

Me? I like to think the coaches all huddle around that pre-game Suduko puzzle that still has them frazzled, and they all have to keep real quiet so Baby Shan (QB coach Kyle Shanahan to the unitiated) can take his nappy-poo. The team nutritionist has just finished her next batch of fudge brownies, and the head trainer clicked off his browser after searching for treatment advice.

Gary Kubiak made some in-game mistakes as a rookie head coach last year, and in spite of the team’s third quarter performances this year and the blah-inspiring 5-7 record, one still has to think this team is on the rebound.

But we can’t forget how low the previous regime set the bar. While Kubiak has proven to be an upgrade, I think it’s safe to say that just about any credible head coaching candidate the team interviewed outside of Cam Cameron would have been an upgrade.

It sets up an interesting year for Kubiak next season, and his ability to get his team to perform better in the third quarter will be critical. He’s not a rookie head coach anymore, and three years in, his team will have had the time to turn the corner.

So then, will it happen? Kubiak seems to have problems with those tricky three’s.

Unlike the Texans, Keith Weiland has not gone scoreless in the third quarter. Hey-oh!

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