Houston Texans

Bill O’Brien is holding back the Texans with poor coaching

The Houston Texans are talented, but they sure continue to play horrid football once they reach the postseason under Bill O’Brien.

Bill O’Brien has been the head coach of the Houston Texans since 2014.

During his tenure, Houston has played 38 games against teams finishing with a winning record. The Texans have gone 11-27 in those affairs. Come the postseason, O’Brien has a 1-3 mark with the lone win coming against Connor Cook and the Raiders.

On Sunday, the Texans scored late on a controversial call. Had the call been touchback — which FOX officiating analyst and former NFL head of officials Dean Blandino said it should have been — instead of touchdown, Houston would have become the fifth team since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to be shut out as a home playoff team. O’Brien already owns one of those disgraces, losing 30-0 to the Chiefs in 2015.

The Texans aren’t a Super Bowl team, but they have too much talent to be this moribund against quality opponents. Houston looked utterly lost against the Colts. They were out of the game from the start, with Indianapolis appearing to know the plays before they were run. That preparation is a hallmark of good coaching by Frank Reich. It’s also an indictment of O’Brien’s ability to self scout.

A prime example was the interception Deshaun Watson threw on fourth down in the first half. The Colts ran a perfect defense to counter Houston’s call. It was as if Indy knew the situation better than the Texans.

Houston knows it has a terrible offensive line. Allowing 62 sacks will lend you that information. Yet the Texans ran up the gut and rarely called designed screens and rollouts, moves that could turn a glaring weakness into more of a non-factor.

Going forward, things are only going to become more challenging for O’Brien and his team. The Colts have a terrific young coach in Reich. They have a healthy Andrew Luck, a league-best $124 million in cap space and a phenomenal draft class going into its second year. Keeping Indianapolis out of the AFC South’s penthouse might prove near impossible.

If Houston is going to compete with the Colts both in the short and long-term, O’Brien has to become a strength instead of a pronounced weakness. The Texans gave him an extension last offseason, showcasing their belief in him. So far, that faith has not been rewarded.

In the big spots and under the lights, the Texans have been exposed time and again. The quarterback is in place. The pass rush is substantial. The generational playmaker lines up outside. The pillars of greatness are there.

If only the head coach knew what to do with any of it.

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