The Houston Texans trolled the Cowboys during their wild-card playoff game. Shots of an empty AT&T Stadium and a despondent Rowdy, the team mascot, played on the replay board to Adele’s hit single Hello. The video ended with the words: Good luck in 2016.
Texans fans laughed and cheered.
It would have been funnier if the Texans hadn’t trailed 7-0 at the time on their way to an embarrassing 30-0 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. The Cowboys, as it turns out, have the last laugh.
For as bad as the Cowboys’ season was, this was far, far worse.
“I mean you can say moral victory; you can say we came back from 2-5; you can say whatever you want,” said Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, who left in the second half with a groin injury. “But at the end of the day, this thing is about winning championships, and we didn’t win a championship. So it’s a disappointment. Quite frankly, I don’t care what anybody else says about that. We did accomplish some great things, but that doesn’t matter to me. In this league, it’s about winning championships, and we didn’t do that.”
At least the Cowboys’ suffering comes with the consolation prize of the fourth overall pick, giving them a chance to get their quarterback of the future. The Texans, desperately in need of a quarterback for the 15th off-season of their 15-year existence, will draft either 21st or 22nd, depending on whether the Redskins win or lose.
In other words, Houston has nothing to show for this season other than another meaningless “AFC South champions” banner and a few extra dollars in the players’ and owner’s wallets.
Money for nothing and chumps for free.
The Chiefs exposed Brian Hoyer for the backup quarterback he is. Hoyer had one of the worst quarterback performances in postseason history, completing only 15 of 34 passes for 136 yards with no touchdowns, four interceptions, a 15.9 passer rating, two fumbles and a fumble lost. It ranked as the lowest passer rating of his career.
“I’ve dealt with a lot of adversity,” Hoyer said. “Obviously, this might be one of the worst parts of my career. …Unfortunately, I picked the wrong time to have probably the worst game. It’s tough. …It’s disappointing. It’s embarrassing.”
For all intents and purposes, Houston’s playoff stay lasted all of 11 seconds. That’s how long it took Chiefs returner Knile Davis to go 106 yards from end zone to end zone with the opening kickoff.
The Texans had no chance to come back with Hoyer at quarterback.
“It is quiet in the stadium right now,” Davis said afterward. “Yes, sir.”
The crowd of 71,800 began booing in the first quarter when Chiefs safety Eric Berry intercepted Hoyer’s third pass. They grew louder until the end of the third quarter when Texans fans began heading toward the exits.
Chants of “We want Weeden” interrupted the boos a few times. That’s not something Brandon Weeden has heard much in his four-year NFL career.
“I’m used to hearing boos,” Weeden said. “When I was in Cleveland, that’s all they did.”
Weeden, exiled by the Cowboys earlier this season after he went 0-3 as Tony Romo’s replacement, did not play. He warmed up in the third quarter, but he never put on his helmet.
Texans coach Bill O’Brien second-guessed himself for giving up on Hoyer too early in a season-opening 27-20 loss to the Chiefs by pulling the quarterback in favor of Ryan Mallet. When Hoyer asked to stay in to the bitter end Saturday, O’Brien felt he owed Hoyer that much.
“I just felt like the best thing for us in this game was to stick with him,” O’Brien said. “I named him the starter. With the game plan, and the amount of reps that Brandon had gotten during the week, which was basically none, I felt like the right thing to do was to stick with Hoyer.”
Being the team player he is, Weeden understood.
“He had talked about me going in there, but Brian wanted to finish the thing out,” said Weeden, who won his only start with the Texans this season. “I don’t blame him. I’ve been in that situation before. That’s the kind of person he is. He’s a competitor. He felt like he wanted to finish the fight with his guys.”
The Chiefs won their 11th consecutive game, but it wasn’t as if they looked the part of Super Bowl contender. They led only 13-0 at halftime as Alex Smith overthrew a wide-open Albert Wilson, who would have walked in for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead, and then threw an interception with the Chiefs in field-goal range.
The Texans just couldn’t get out of their own way, with poor coaching — Watt lined up at quarterback? Really?! — stupid penalties, dropped passes and Hoyer’s inept play. It resulted in a total meltdown by Houston, which gained only 226 total yards against the league’s seventh-ranked defense.
When the locker room cleared, and the stadium turned dark, reality set in for the Texans and their fans.
Better luck next season.