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Are the Houston Texans Even Trying?

Kyle Koster
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
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The dysfunctional Houston Texans are expected to make a run at the NFL's worst record this year, even after a convincing Week 1 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. The sad-sack franchise, indefinitely frozen by the Deshaun Watson situation, actually played decently against a Super Bowl contender in the Cleveland Browns, but ended up on the wrong side of a 31-21 final. It was a large dose of reality and a reminder that first-year head coach David Culley is getting acclimated to the specific pressures of being in charge of everything on game day.

At least that's one possible explanation for the objectively wrong strategic decision the Texans made early in the third quarter. Facing 3rd-and-15 from their own 38-yard line, Tyrod Taylor connected with Brandin Cooks for a 13-yard gain. The Browns were flagged for being offsides on the play, presenting the choice of 4th-and-2 or 3rd-and-10. Culley chose the former ... and those chose to punt.

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski was as perplexed as everyone else.

When quizzed after the game about the unorthodox decisions, Culley offered this: “We felt like that at that point we’d have the chance to get better field position. But we didn’t make it. We didn’t get it.”

This team has no playoff aspirations and far larger fish to fry than a first-half coaching decision in Week 2. At the same time, it seems impossible that any football coach anywhere would willingly concede in such a fashion. It feels like the resulting punt bounding into the end zone to render the field-position advantage moot was some sort of karma. If you believe in that type of thing.

Really spend some time thinking on this one today, folks. It's special. We all know Marty Mornhinweg fudged up by taking the wind in overtime. But even that decision is moored in some type of misguided strategy. Whereas this sequence ... well ...

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