The Texans emerged from Sunday night’s game with an unlikely win, wiping out a double-digit deficit in the final three minutes of regulation and securing the victory in overtime over Indianapolis. A day after the unlikely outcome, coach Bill O’Brien was asked if it can become a “catalyst” for the season.
“I think any time you’re down 14 points with two minutes to go, 2:47 to go in the game, and you’re able to come back and pull out the win, I think that says a lot about your team,” O’Brien told reporters. “I think it says you’re a resilient team and it says that you’re never out of it and you’re going to continue to fight.”
Then came the caveat.
“I also think it’s one game. I think it’s one game, and like I always tell you guys, it’s really 16 one-game seasons,” O’Brien said. “That’s what it is. So now you have to quickly turn the page because, again, when you watch the tape there’s a lot to improve upon. We have to turn the page and get going on Denver when these guys get back in here on Wednesday.”
He’s right. Digging deep and erasing a two-score deficit may provide some confidence if the team is ever in that position again, but the goal is to not be in that position — especially against a team they should beat, like the Colts.
The Texans won’t be truly ready to compete with the best teams the AFC or the NFC have to offer until they find a way to beat one of those teams. They’ve had two opportunities to do so this year, against the Patriots and Vikings, and they’ve failed to even be competitive in this game. For his part, O’Brien isn’t interested in looking backward.
“I think that we’ve moved past those two games,” he said. “So I think this is a team that is definitely a mentally tough team. This is a team that understands that, like I always say, it’s a race to see who can improve the fastest in this league. That’s really what the league is about. It’s a progress league. It’s about who can be the most consistent team over the last 10 games of the season. That’s what we’re striving to do. Whatever happened in those previous games happened. Now it’s up to us to try to continue to try to be more consistent and try to keep winning.”
Again, he’s right. And the good news is that the rest of the season has only a couple of clear trouble spots — at Denver next Monday, vs. Oakland in Mexico City next month, and at Green Bay in December. If the Texans take care of their business in the other seven games and find a way to win just one of those three tougher contests, they could finish with a very good record.
That won’t matter in January, when once again they’ll be tested against the best teams in the conference, if they win the division. To climb the playoff tree, they have to be able to compete with those teams.
So far, the Texans simply haven’t been able to do it. If quarterback Brock Osweiler’s late-game performance from Sunday night becomes a trend, maybe they’ll finally be able to.