We don’t want to wallow in the past. And you better believe my list of the best wins is on the way. But we need to cleanse ourselves of the past by filing away the ten most painful at-the-wire losses in Texans history. These are crunch time, kick-in-the-gut losses. There have been other devastating defeats that were settled earlier in games like the Jets in ‘09, Dallas in ‘10 and Cleveland and San Diego in ‘04. But these are the ones that hurt the most.
10. Titans 27 Texans 24 2003 Reliant Stadium
All the Texans needed to do to have a Merry Christmas was stop Tennessee on a 4th and 10 at the Houston 23 yard line. Guess what? The late Steve McNair hit Drew Bennett in the end zone as air left the body of every member of the crowd. Not much was expected but this was a tough year as the Texans put more players on IR than any team and blew 4th quarter leads or ties against Indy, Tennessee, Cincinnati, New England and the Jets.
9. St Louis 33 Texans 27 Overtime 2005 Reliant Stadium
The season was already lost but there was a chance to rack up some late wins and save Dom Capers‘ job. Down 10 late, the Rams score on a TD pass from then-rookie Ryan Fitzpatrick to Issac Bruce. After an onside kick recovery, they force overtime with a FG. They won it on a TD to Kevin Curtis. At the time, this was easily the most stunning loss in team history.
8. Titans 38 Texans 36 2007 Reliant Stadium
With Schaub and Vince Young both out, Houston trails 32-7. But an unforgettable rally, led by Rosenfels, puts them ahead after a bomb to Andre Davis. Alas, Kerry Collins has enough time on the clock to hit Roydell Williams on a long pass play to set up Rob Bironas’ NFL record 8th field goal of the day for the win. Later that night, Andre Ware and I were at baggage claim in Vegas on a trip to do shows there. We unbelievably ran into Bironas’ mom. I jokingly criticized her for bringing him into this world.
7. San Diego 29 Texans 23 2010 Reliant Stadium
With most of his top pass catching weapons out, Phillip Rivers puts the Texans on alert that their secondary problems were much worse than they feared. The Texans drive down the field late but a Matt Schaub pass at the Charger 11 bounces off the leg of Andre Johnson into the hands of Darren Oliver ending the threat and putting Houston on notice that the 2010 playoff campaign was in trouble.
6. Colts 20 Texans 17 2009 Lucas Oil Stadium
See number 3. Except this was a road game and the field goal attempt was from 42 yards.
5. NY Jets 30 Texans 27 2010 New Meadowlands Stadium
The Texans staged a furious rally to take a four point lead inside the final minute only to give it up on a Jets drive unaided by time outs. The loss sealed the fate of Frank Bush and any legitimate shot the Texans had at the post season. Coming after devastating defeats at the hands of Jacksonville (see #4) and San Diego (see # 6) it was especially painful.
4. Jacksonville 31 Texans 24. 2010 Everbank Field
After rallying from a 17-3 halftime deficit, the Texans are unable to get into field goal range late in the game at the Jags 40. A fumble leads to a seemingly harmless eight second Jacksonville possession. Moments later, a 50 yard Hail Mary gets batted from Glover Quinn’s hands into Mike Thomas’ bread basket and the horror was complete.
3. Titans 20 Texans 14 Monday Night Football. 2009 Reliant Stadium
Houston needed this one badly after Kris Brown missed a kick at the buzzer that would have tied the Colts in the previous game. It all came down to Brown again, albeit from 49 yards, but he missed at the final gun as the Texans dropped to 5-5 with (gasp) two more losses coming.
2. Colts 31 Texans 27. 2008 Reliant Stadium
In a game forever known as “Rosencopter,” Sage Rosenfels, pressed into starting duty with Matt Schaub ill, plays a great game until, in Colts territory, he runs the ball, gets ‘helicoptered’ and losses possession. Gary Brackett runs it into the end zone. After another Rosenfels fumble, Peyton Manning hits Reggie Wayne as the Colts complete the comeback from 17 down to send the Texans to 0-4.
1. Titans 26 Texans 20 OT 2006 Reliant Stadium
Vince Young’s 39 yard TD run in overtime was the low point in franchise history. Even though it all worked out that the Texans did the right thing in the ’06 draft, the moment was as bad as it gets. I counted over a dozen VY-jersey wearing fans just on the way to my parking space. And that was two hours prior to kick off. Once in the stadium, it was clear that Vince had a huge throng of supporters wearing either burnt orange or Columbia Blue. He had the last laugh that day in a loss that still stings.
I know what you’re thinking. Where’s Baltimore from last year (‘05 didn’t feel too good either)? What about the Jags in OT in 2008? How about Peerless Price in the back of the end zone in ‘06? All are worthy of consideration but this is my list and I’m sticking to it. Comment below with your thoughts.