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By Dave Thomas
Just when you thought things could not get worse for the Houston Texans, they did. A 38-13 pasting at home Sunday versus the St. Louis Rams has left a team some thought could contend for a Super Bowl barely able to feel its playoff life after six weeks.
Coming into last Sunday’s match up, the Texans were already a team with shaken confidence, this after three straight losses to Baltimore, Seattle and San Francisco.
Yes, that trio is hardly the NFL’s poor when it comes to talent, but the Texans and their fans more than likely figured they would at least be competitive in some or all of those games. As it turns out, Houston (2-4) tanked in the Baltimore and San Francisco contests, with a blown lead in between against the Seahawks (a 23-20 OT loss). As a result, the seats of both head coach Gary Kubiak and starting quarterback Matt Schaub certainly got hotter.
Looking to get back on track against the 2-3 Rams at Reliant Stadium, Houston ended up laying a big time egg, leaving many to wonder just how much longer the once steady Kubiak can hang onto his job.
As for Schaub, an injury sent him to the bench Sunday in favor of backup T.J. Yates, but the latter had little success on his own. Among his plays was a 98-yard interception return for a touchdown to Alec Ogletree. By that point, however, the Texans had pretty much been left in the dust.
Here Come the 6-0 Chiefs
With their season pretty much left hanging in the balance, the Texans must quickly put this past Sunday’s debacle behind them, preparing for a trip this Sunday to Arrowhead Stadium and a meeting with the surprising and unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs.
While many around the NFL thought the Chiefs would be improved under new head coach Andy Reid (formerly at the helm in Philadelphia for 14 years), few if any could have expected a 6-0 squad after six weeks.
In a match up this past Sunday at home with their longtime nemesis the Oakland Raiders, the Chiefs withstood a close three quarters of play, pulling away for a 24-7 win. The victory allowed Kansas City to keep pace with the 6-0 Denver Broncos for a share of first place in the AFC West.
Smith Passing the Test in KC
Heading into its meeting with Houston, Kansas City is led on offense by quarterback Alex Smith.
The University of Utah product has revitalized his career in Missouri since coming over from the San Francisco 49ers. Smith, who saw the writing on the wall after last season that he would be backing up Colin Kaepernick as the Niners’ quarterback, has fit in nicely with Reid’s plans so far. Smith has thrown for 1,330 yards and seven TD’s through six games, only producing three interceptions along the way.
Meantime, running back Jamaal Charles is once again a threat out of the backfield when he touches the ball, rushing for 475 yards (five TD’s) to date this season. At wide receiver, Smith has several options to go to, with Donnie Avery (310 yards receiving), Charles (300 yards receiving) and Dwayne Bowe (229 yards) among the prime threats.
On the defensive side of the ball, Kansas City’s Derrick Johnson has piled up 39 solo tackles, while Eric Berry has 24 of his own to date.
Even though there is still much to play for at this point, including an outside shot at a playoff berth, the Texans may very well spend Sunday and possibly ensuing weeks playing for Kubiak’s job.
For more Houston Texans news and updates, visit Houston Texans Central.
Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.