There are plenty of games each season where one team dominates in the first half and then falls flat in the second half, but explanations for the difference are rarely as stark as the one in Houston on Sunday night.
After coach Gary Kubiak collapsed at halftime and left for the hospital, the air clearly went out of the Texans’ sails and the Colts stormed back to take a 27-24 victory. After the game, Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips talked about there being “a lot of unknown” around the team as they went back out for the second half and several players said it was hard to block thoughts of the coach out of their heads while trying to beat the Colts.
Wide receiver Andre Johnson also said he thought Kubiak’s absence may have had an effect on the team’s offense in the second half.
“I don’t know. It probably could have. It was our first time really having it where he wasn’t there,” Johnson said, via the team’s website. “As far as getting the plays in and stuff like that, so it was definitely different. Sometimes it seemed like it took the plays a little bit longer to come in and stuff like that, but that’s no excuse. We didn’t make enough plays to win, and we had opportunities to.”
Several other players echoed Johnson’s belief that Kubiak’s absence was no excuse and the Texans certainly had their chances to win the game in the second half, but it’s hard to judge any human being too harshly for being impacted by what we saw on Sunday night.