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Texans left to wonder: What if?

Atlanta Falcons v Houston Texans Getty Images

The final game of the best season in Texans history showed why this group is so special.

They Texans had a fifth-round rookie at quarterback. They lost the turnover battle 4-0. They only recovered one of four fumbles on the afternoon.

And yet they still stood toe-to-toe with the Ravens in Baltimore until the final gun sounded, losing 20-13.

The Texans and their fans will surely take pride in Saturday’s effort. They had the better running game. They had the better defense. They won the battle on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. They were tougher than the Baltimore Ravens.

Beyond that pride, Houston fans have to wonder: What if Matt Schaub didn’t get hurt?

“With Schaub and those guys it would have been a totally different ball game,” Ravens safety Ed Reed admitted after the game.

Injuries are part of football and T.J. Yates did a more-than-credible job during his run as a starting quarterback. But the reality is Yates averaged 5.3 yards-per-attempt on Sunday and was picked off three times. The lack of a consistent passing game was too much for the Texans to overcome, especially on day that special teams gave away seven points.

The Texans have every right to feel like the AFC was there for the taking this year.  They may have had the most balanced team in the conference.

This season marked a huge step forward for the Texans franchise, but we can’t help but wonder how much further this Texans team might have gone with their starting quarterback.

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97 Responses to “Texans left to wonder: What if?”
  1. KIR says: Jan 15, 2012 4:32 PM

    For Tebow fans T.J. Yates is what an inexperienced QB with NFL skills looks like.

    Arian Foster is a monster. You can’t franchise an RB who has been underpaid for 3 years and then demand loyalty. Their careers are just too short. He’s earned a long-term guaranteed contract.

  2. zaggs says: Jan 15, 2012 4:32 PM

    Or heck, even with their 2nd string QB.

  3. JackLeone says: Jan 15, 2012 4:33 PM

    This was the first year that the Texans didn’t have the Colts in their way. Who knows what will happen next year with Luck at the helm.

  4. newenglandsports11 says: Jan 15, 2012 4:33 PM

    TJ Yates did whats most important and he covered the spread.

  5. dominator71030 says: Jan 15, 2012 4:33 PM

    I would have liked to see the texans win it all, that is if my team(giants) doesn’t. They deserve to win one soon and hope they do.

  6. The SACK Lunch Blog says: Jan 15, 2012 4:35 PM

    Not to mention the whole “Mario Williams being hurt” thing would have change the course of their season. Shame.

  7. steelerhypocrite says: Jan 15, 2012 4:36 PM

    Injuries are part of the game, only losers look backwards…

  8. dlmcc1010 says: Jan 15, 2012 4:36 PM

    they were getting blown out by the Pats anyway. So will the Ravens. Im no fan of New England but im sorry, I just dont see how either of those QB’s would be able to win that game. New Englands offense this year is absurdly good. Flacco, Yates or Schaub are all not good enough to put points on the board consistently

    Denver had a decent defense and couldnt do a thing with those TE sets New England throws out there. Keep your head up Texans fans, a healthy team next year will be a force to recon with

  9. tombradysponytail says: Jan 15, 2012 4:37 PM

    Hey Foster. It’s a team sport. Go stand with your team. The photo ops can come later.

  10. Wisconsin77 says: Jan 15, 2012 4:38 PM

    They should have tried to get Favre

  11. bigtimetexanfan says: Jan 15, 2012 4:38 PM

    We will be back next yr, I guarantee it !!!!!

    Houston will be the #1 seed in the AFC

  12. gdeli says: Jan 15, 2012 4:38 PM

    They would have won with schaub. ravens were flat pats should wax em. good try texans.

  13. Maximus Decimus Meridius says: Jan 15, 2012 4:39 PM

    The last pass should have been caught by Walter. It hit him in the arm but he wasn’t looking. Should be in OT right now.

  14. CKL says: Jan 15, 2012 4:39 PM

    Flacco has teh sadz that you are talking about another QB.

  15. philrat says: Jan 15, 2012 4:39 PM

    I think overall the Texans outplayed the Ravens but key mistakes with turnovers allowed Ravens to win. The Texans defense had a good day against the Ravens offense. Foster had 100+ yards.

  16. eaglesfan94 says: Jan 15, 2012 4:40 PM

    Houston would have had a first round bye if not for the injury issues. Yates isn’t bad though, he could start somewhere. He’s definitely better than Sanchez, Tebow, Palmer, and anyone the Browns, Colts, or Jags had this year.

  17. connman72 says: Jan 15, 2012 4:40 PM

    Tough break for the Texans. Schaub could have put then over the top this season.

  18. bmwaldrop says: Jan 15, 2012 4:40 PM

    The importance of having a backup QB really became evident this year. The Colts, Bears and the Texans all would of been different teams with a better QB…granted, it would have been interesting to see how well Leinart played.

  19. tapper0510 says: Jan 15, 2012 4:40 PM

    If a frog had wings he wouldn’t bump his ass on the ground when he hops. Seasons over. Better luck next year.

  20. kantnockdahustle89 says: Jan 15, 2012 4:45 PM

    Houston took one step closer this year to their goal but you have to remember Baltimore already beat Shaub and the Texans earlier this year.

    Say what you want about the QB situation but you cant just say if all the plays that happened today happened for the Ravens but the Texans get all new plays…it would have changed the out come of the game.

  21. coolgato13 says: Jan 15, 2012 4:45 PM

    This is a good young team on the rise. Texans beat themselves today.

  22. bertumc says: Jan 15, 2012 4:45 PM

    Please don’t start calling us “special” now.

    90% of all the media dismissed us from their highlights and informational spots this week.

    We don’t need anything now from media type folk. Instead, we will remember our first playoff victory and get ready for next season.

    Save your “special” comments for the love affair with the Patriots and Giants….Yes we have a chip on our shoulder. I think it might be the same one that the 49rs have.

  23. phillyphever says: Jan 15, 2012 4:49 PM

    If Schaub was healthy, the game would have been played in Houston, not Baltimore. At least Houston has found a reliable backup QB and can let some sucker team take Lienart off their hands.

  24. pbolyard says: Jan 15, 2012 4:49 PM

    Every team can say “what if” when they lose. Now it’s time to see if the Texans can come back better and healthier next year and improve on what they were able to do this year.

  25. fittytuckin says: Jan 15, 2012 4:49 PM

    Joe Flacco really isn’t impressive at all

  26. phillybirds says: Jan 15, 2012 4:49 PM

    What if Andy Reid wasn’t a complete moron and the Eagles won a superbowl???? what if????

  27. 6ball says: Jan 15, 2012 4:50 PM

    .

    It’s 4th and 2 with the game on the line, and the best available play was a heave into double coverage? Slant to Johnson, TE, anything involving Foster, naked boot, a QB sneak…..? anything but that.

    .

  28. jjwattismyhero says: Jan 15, 2012 4:50 PM

    All the way!!!

  29. 46defense says: Jan 15, 2012 4:50 PM

    Great year Houston. Lots to build on here.

  30. commandercornpone says: Jan 15, 2012 4:51 PM

    well yates was OK…

    basically… he cost them 9 points per game.

    schaub (and mario) (and andre, for a few he missed) likely wouldnt have gotten them a bye. but they would have gotten them past baltimore.

  31. 1buckeye76 says: Jan 15, 2012 4:52 PM

    what if… they would have pounded arian foster in the 4th quarter instead of putting the game in yates hands?

  32. baous says: Jan 15, 2012 4:52 PM

    Honestly, “what if” this team was completely healthy, I think they’d be playing in the SuperBowl and they’d have a great shot of winning it.

  33. deadmanwalking47 says: Jan 15, 2012 4:53 PM

    what are they gonna do at qb next season?

  34. kantnockdahustle89 says: Jan 15, 2012 4:54 PM

    @6ball.

    If they ran the plays you suggest that would have meant running really fast to the line and having to run another play or spike it with barely any time left. They heaved the hail mary with 11 seconds to go and no timeouts.

  35. lbhtx says: Jan 15, 2012 4:55 PM

    Great game!!!! Texans did what they could with a 3rd string QB!! As far as Mr. Jones fine another Job your done in Houston!! JJ Watt for President!!

  36. bosfaninva says: Jan 15, 2012 4:55 PM

    Pats fans are happy to see the Ravens win this game. The Texans were the better team. That defense is ferocious.

  37. egomaniac247 says: Jan 15, 2012 4:56 PM

    JJ Watts and Brooks Reed are special…add them to Brian Cushing and Mario Williams and you have a beastly YOUNG defense. Lots to be excited about. Schaub would have won this game.

  38. dwight123 says: Jan 15, 2012 4:56 PM

    …and yet they lost thats all that matters at the end of the day!

  39. joestrummerlives says: Jan 15, 2012 4:56 PM

    Not exactly brimming with confidence after that performance. Why the F would you throw a pass on 2nd and 5 with the game nearly over and the clock running?

  40. jrfrom508 says: Jan 15, 2012 4:57 PM

    Hahah @ dlmcc1010

    a force to “recon” with

    that’s brilliant

  41. vbe2 says: Jan 15, 2012 4:57 PM

    The Colts will be back next year and the Texans go back to what they have always been. 7-9 to 8-8.

  42. egomaniac247 says: Jan 15, 2012 5:00 PM

    KIR says: Jan 15, 2012 4:32 PM

    For Tebow fans T.J. Yates is what an inexperienced QB with NFL skills looks like.

    175 yards, 0 tds, and 3 picks that could have easily been 5?

  43. freedomispopular says: Jan 15, 2012 5:01 PM

    Yates has a bright future.

  44. worldsgreatest says: Jan 15, 2012 5:03 PM

    And somehow, with no turnovers, two touchdowns, nearly 200 yards passing, 4 or more dropped balls by his receivers, and averaging over 7 yards a completion against the #3 defense Joe Flacco was absolutely right that he will continue to be blasted by the media and people outside of Baltimore.

    Anyone not living in Maryland who has an opinion on Flaccos toughness or thick skin has no idea. None. Zero.

  45. robdolphins says: Jan 15, 2012 5:04 PM

    What if Andy Reid wasn’t a complete moron and the Eagles won a superbowl???? what if????

    Dear Phillybirds, my Dolphins would love your idiot coach..Can you convince the Eagles to fire him?

  46. daisymaytr says: Jan 15, 2012 5:07 PM

    What if? If Peyton had been healthy the Texans wouldn’t have even made the playoffs

  47. zonedogz says: Jan 15, 2012 5:09 PM

    Tremendous game by Texans defense. Wade Phillips as DC was the off-season acquisition of the year. Kudos to him!

  48. firegoodell says: Jan 15, 2012 5:09 PM

    Raven’s aren’t that good and they are basically a healthy team right now – no major injuries to key players. The Texans should have beaten them anyway. The Raven’s probably don’t even get the bye if the Steelers don’t have injuries to key players late in the season. Injuries are a part of football and there should be no excuses made because of them (the steelers or texans shouldn’t use those as an excuse) but the Raven’s definitely benefitted from those teams’ injuries. I can’t see how they can beat the Patriots. Joe Flacco and that offense couldn’t put up 25+ on the Alabama defense without the help of of 4+ turnovers. Their offense is just HORRIBLE and to be honest the defense is old and benefitted from playing a fifth round rookie QB.

  49. benwantsababyruth says: Jan 15, 2012 5:12 PM

    Offense was impotent

  50. dawhorsefeathers says: Jan 15, 2012 5:14 PM

    Houston sure outplayed Baltimore, if it wasn’t for those turnovers and scoring fewer points and stuff.

  51. occamssabre says: Jan 15, 2012 5:15 PM

    Hats off to the Texans from this Ravens fan. They’ve got a kickass base for a defense to build on and with Shaub I actually think they win this game. They’ve got arguably the best O-line in the game too. The future looks bright for your team!!

  52. whatwouldlombardido says: Jan 15, 2012 5:15 PM

    The Texans are a solid team. Can they get a championship with Kubiak as coach? Not so sure. Congratulations on a great year. Good luck next year.

  53. calwilliams06 says: Jan 15, 2012 5:19 PM

    Nice piece, Gregg.

    Hats off to the Texans, they suffered some adversity this year but still performed admirably. Be interesting to see how good they’ll be next year with maybe a little better luck with injuries.

  54. occamssabre says: Jan 15, 2012 5:20 PM

    firegoodell says: Jan 15, 2012 5:09 PM

    …Joe Flacco and that offense couldn’t put up 25+ on the Alabama defense without the help of of 4+ turnovers…

    So all of a sudden the Pats have the Texans’ pass rush and corners, huh? You’re delusional if you think the Pats will be able to stop Ray Rice either running or catching the ball out of the backfield. Not saying the Ravens will win but the Pats’ D couldn’t hold the Texans’ jock!

  55. chaseutley says: Jan 15, 2012 5:21 PM

    What if the Texans gave Schaub an actual golf cart instead of making him tool around in Barbie’s Dream Car?

  56. robdolphins says: Jan 15, 2012 5:21 PM

    As a Dolfan, it pains me to say this..But, it looks like Patriots will be making another Super Bowl..Can’t see this Ravens squad beating them…Oh well

  57. jmcclain1130 says: Jan 15, 2012 5:22 PM

    Props to the Texans, they played toe to toe with the Ravens despite having a rookie third string qb. Ravens better get their act together if they stand a chance next week against the Pats. Honestly, don’t think they have a chance judging by this game.

    I’m a ravens fan by the way.

  58. eastcoastv says: Jan 15, 2012 5:25 PM

    This is a stupid article and some of the comments are even more stupid.

    What if Torrye Smith would have caught that pass?

    What if Ray Rice would’ve made the first down?

    What if Ray Lewis and Ed Reed would have intercepted those passes instead of deflecting them?

    What if Vonte Leach would have gotten the few inches for the first down?

    What if the world ended back in Oct like that crazy preacher from CA said it would?

    Dumb…….

  59. trbowman says: Jan 15, 2012 5:29 PM

    Schaub has a history of coming up small in big moments, but you’re right – they’d of won today with him.

  60. egomaniac247 says: Jan 15, 2012 5:32 PM

    “Anyone not living in Maryland who has an opinion on Flaccos toughness or thick skin has no idea. None. Zero.”

    Flaccos not terrible but certainly isn’t great. He’s in Matt Ryan territory ….occassionally has a big game passing but more often just manages a game that his running game won for him…..and throws picks at the worst times. He may bust out of that….I think Eli did. But his mouth is starting to make him look like a whiner.

  61. dolphins4 says: Jan 15, 2012 5:35 PM

    Jacoby Jones has to be the most stupid punt returner I’ve ever seen.

  62. bflobacker says: Jan 15, 2012 5:36 PM

    Flacco is a B- QB at best. Super Bowl will be NE vs GB/NYG

  63. djaehne says: Jan 15, 2012 5:42 PM

    Jacoby Jones is the goat. Kareem Jackson will be gone also. Next year will start out fun but its another grind and if they’ve learned anything from this run, its to have home field advantage.
    Texans will sneak up on everyone again next year since major media only cares about them after they lose. Ok, thats my whine.

  64. ledhed1212 says: Jan 15, 2012 5:43 PM

    Texans didn’t have a CHANCE, huh…?

    Get ready for the next 5 years, haters…..!

    TEXANS are Texas’ team now, and we earned a small measure of respect today from the nation who never gave us a chance…..This defense is just starting to jell…….They got to the divisional round and had their way with the Ravens and did this with a 3rd string QB and a totally revamped roster due to season ending injuries?? You gotta be kidding me…

    They stuffed Ray Rice after all the bluster and Arian was the first back to crack 100 yards on this team EVER in the playoffs…Imagine if Houston’s starters were playing?

    You gained my respect this year Texans – should be interesting in 2012!…..

  65. earthtopft says: Jan 15, 2012 5:47 PM

    Tebow’s playoff passer rating = Dalton’s and Yates combined. That is how much better he is than those two lame ducks.

  66. jsalis13 says: Jan 15, 2012 5:48 PM

    Who exactly have the Patriots beaten this season? The Ravens have won tough games against good competition(playoff teams) and did it again today.

    So yeah, keep saying that they are going to get destroyed by the Patriots. But a week from Monday when the game is decided by 3-7 points remember what you said and think about how stupid you sound.

  67. 8man says: Jan 15, 2012 5:48 PM

    I was at the game. The Ravens did not win in a style that would make you believe they will beat New England or anyone they would face from the NFC. Especially given the turn overs committed by the Texans and a big missed field goal.

    They have some work to do.

  68. bkravens1 says: Jan 15, 2012 5:51 PM

    The Teaxans were the better this, they were the better that AND THEY STTILL LOST! The Ravens are in the AFC Championship Game again; period!

  69. jsalis13 says: Jan 15, 2012 5:51 PM

    Another thing is this. Was Flacco great, no. But was he terrible? Hell no, he threw 2 TDs and made some great throws, if it weren’t for 5 dropped passes his stat line, and the game, looks alot better.

  70. joerevs300 says: Jan 15, 2012 6:00 PM

    More like the Ravens paid off the refs, I mean come on…you run the ball 30+ times you’re holding someone or hands to the face/facemask. Not one penalty on the Ravens.

    But hey…two drives all day more than 30 yards and they netted 6 points. And 6 3 and outs.

    I am sure that will get it down on the road against NE next week.

  71. johntonioholmes says: Jan 15, 2012 6:11 PM

    worldsgreatest

    Nearly 200 yards passing? That made me laugh.

    400 yards passing is impressive nowadays. 300 is average and 200 is embarrassing. And Boldin and Evans made some pretty nice one handed catches that helped that meager yardage total, too.

    That’s why Flacco will continue to be ripped by the media and people outside of Baltimore.

    His playoff performances have been embarrassing.

  72. goddamnthatsfunny says: Jan 15, 2012 6:17 PM

    How did the Texans have the better defense? They gave up more points and had forced less turn overs? I dont care either way but i think today the Ravens D was better.

  73. reddskeletor says: Jan 15, 2012 6:19 PM

    Well, the Texans will have to hope Wade Phillips returns and they stay healthy.

  74. txn4sooners says: Jan 15, 2012 6:33 PM

    Great season, Texans! Come back stronger next year. The one thing that Super Bowl teams know is that you have to play at home or you’re probably not gonna make it. And they also know that the winners are the ones who do, not the spectacular, but the fundamentals. You can’t try to field a bouncing ball in your own red zone. Blocl, tackle, catch, do the fundamentals and you’ll usually win.

    Niners!! If the Packers lose…Niners vs. Patriots.

  75. firejerry says: Jan 15, 2012 6:34 PM

    As a Bears fan—-I rather have rookie TJ Yates than 4 year QB Calib Haney on my roster!!!!!!!!!

  76. lilrob10201 says: Jan 15, 2012 6:42 PM

    This team with Matt Schaub will be a superbowl contender.As long as Wade Phillips stays and does not get a head coaching job somewhere else this team will be on track.

  77. billyg5012 says: Jan 15, 2012 6:44 PM

    Here’s to hoping that Wade stays put in Houston.

  78. worldsgreatest says: Jan 15, 2012 6:47 PM

    I was saying 200 yards passing despite Texans dominating time of possesion in the first half, and the Texans playing good defense wasn’t bad. Not great, not bad.

    Again, it may seem like Flacco is whining but he isn’t…ever. the dude doesn’t whine. He makes funny sarcastic, tongue and cheek comments that humorless football fans world round spin in a negative way.

  79. bhind8ball says: Jan 15, 2012 6:49 PM

    I’m left to wonder, what if the Ravens had one penalty called against them. Especially after Boldin slammed that d-backs head on the turf after the play was over.

  80. pastabelly says: Jan 15, 2012 7:03 PM

    Texans special teams cost them the game.

  81. pastabelly says: Jan 15, 2012 7:07 PM

    Flacco showed nothing.

  82. hardmike57 says: Jan 15, 2012 7:08 PM

    Hate to admit it- I’ve been a cowboy fan for 40+ years. But I can see Houston becoming Texas’s favorite team in a few years. They seem to be WAY ahead of ” Jerry’s KIDS”.

  83. godzilla111111 says: Jan 15, 2012 7:11 PM

    The Ravens beat the Texans with Shaub at QB.

    The Ravens have won seven games against playoff teams.

    Don’t look pretty doing it but they do it.

    What is your team doing next Sunday?

  84. natefalkirk says: Jan 15, 2012 7:12 PM

    Congrats to Texans, good season, especially in light of injuries. Outplayed Ravens today, and would have won but for a few ill-timed mistakes. This season definetely showed that you need a good backup at QB. Yates played well enough, considering. He kept his team in it.

    Chicago, Indy and KC, not so much.

  85. kylehamer says: Jan 15, 2012 7:17 PM

    Mark my words, when its all said and done Yates will be remembered as a Tom Brady type pic for the Texans. With less than a full season as the leader, I think he’s the second best QB in this draft class

  86. bhind8ball says: Jan 15, 2012 7:35 PM

    Ed Reed played great . Hats off to him. Texans beat themselves. They looked like a better team. If Yates had more experience that couldve helped. Ravens didnt have a penalty even though I saw plenty of questionable calls and a couple of personal fouls . Tom Brady should make all the difference next week byebye Ravens

  87. jonanthans says: Jan 15, 2012 7:40 PM

    Congrats to the Texans, you guys have a great team with a ton of young talent. Came up short but the experience your young players got today is going to pay dividends next season.

  88. marcrayray says: Jan 15, 2012 9:25 PM

    Yeah, the Texans are great. I was at the game. Didn’t they lose today? Congrats to the Texans. They had a great season. They’re really great.

  89. golonger says: Jan 15, 2012 9:25 PM

    Schaub wouldn’t have done crap….he is so over-rated…..if the Ravens hadn’t tried to beat themselves….this game wouldn’t have been close!

  90. golonger says: Jan 15, 2012 9:26 PM

    kylehamer = moron

  91. golonger says: Jan 15, 2012 9:28 PM

    All those saying the Ravens don’t have a chance against the Pats are clueless….the Texans defense is BY FAR better than the Pats….if the Ravens offense can play below average and still win scoring 20, they will be alright against the Pats….Pats aren’t stopping Ray Rice just as they couldn’t in the playoffs last time!

  92. Deb says: Jan 15, 2012 10:04 PM

    Congratulations to the Texans on a fantastic season. Much respect for the showing your team made at season’s end and in the playoffs despite losing your QB and backup. I can’t believe how well you performed against that Ravens defense with a third-string quarterback. Looking foward to seeing what you guys bring next year.

  93. reedhof20 says: Jan 15, 2012 10:32 PM

    FYI…
    Foster ran for 95 in the first half, 38 in the 2nd. Texans scored all of there points in the 2nd quarter – 0 in the 2nd half. Ravens beat Yates and Schaub. They even got it done last year in Houston. If you think the better team one you are in denial. In fact, it is just the opposite. Flacco threw for 305 and R2 ran for 100+. Result: Ravens win by 15. Today- AF runs for 130, R2 goes for 60. Flacco throws for 130. Result: Ravens win by 7. Even on a bad day, result: SCOREBOARD. Maybe next year Texans and welcome to the NFL. We have been beating the Steelers in every statistical category for 5+ years and some how, they win more often than not. It’s the NFL…get use to it. Patriots Fans: Ravens D is not the Denver D, and the Patriots D is not the Texans D…can you do the math? Keep talking…and for the most part I agree. However, for some reason we operate SO much better as a dog. We are better hunters. Can’t wait.

  94. gmk17 says: Jan 15, 2012 10:47 PM

    The NFL is fooling itself if it thinks making refs full time employees…just watch a few baseball games to see how consistent their full time umpires are doing. I do like the idea of having a separate ref in the replay booth. It will help with making the game flow better and hopefully prevent what happened in the Giant/Packer game.

  95. dumdumdidday says: Jan 15, 2012 11:35 PM

    Joe Flacco was outperformed by a rookie from North Carolina – make no mistake, the Patriots will destroy the Ravens

  96. johntonioholmes says: Jan 16, 2012 12:38 AM

    worldsgreatest

    In all honesty, I never had a problem with Flacco. I always thought he and Rice were stand-up guys, and I always figured Flacco got criticized too much because he wasn’t making the big plays that his counterpart in Pittsburgh made.

    I never thought he was a great QB, but I know he isn’t as bad as some people say.

    But I disagree with your assessment, here.

    He’s a whiner.

    If he wants more credit for winning games, then he should actually win games, instead of not losing them.

    And if he has to assume a Trent Dilfer-like role so the Ravens can win, then he should embrace it, and not let the criticism get to him.

    Because all that matters is the W.

  97. cnines says: Jan 16, 2012 12:45 AM

    Anyone saying the Pats will destroy the Ravens or vice versa are just showing their football ignorance. I love it.

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