Houston Texans' Collapse Further Proof Gary Kubiak Must Go

From Bleacher Report - NFL
October 13, 2013 - 8:58pm

Throughout history, there have been a few military defeats so shocking, so thorough, so embarrassing they've become synonymous with utter failure: the Battle of Little Big Horn, the Battle of Waterloo, the Bay of Pigs invasion. For Gary Kubiak, the Houston Texans' 38-13 loss to the St. Louis Rams was his Game of Pigs. Suffering a 25-point upset at the hands of a 10-point underdog (per OddsShark.com at kickoff) is awful enough. For Kubiak, though, it drops his talented Texans to 2-4. They are on pace for a season far, far short of their Super Bowl goal. Texans general manager Rick Smith and owner Bob McNair have been patient with Kubiak while the Texans have underperformed their talent year after year. Sunday's inexcusable defeat, though, should mean Kubiak has finally blown his last chance.   Great Expectations Only three NFL head coaches have seniority over Kubiak: Bill Belichick, Marvin Lewis and Tom Coughlin. Two others have had equally long tenures: Mike McCarthy and Sean Payton. Let's take a look at exactly what Kubiak has achieved with his eight seasons in Houston, per Pro Football Reference:   Since Kubiak's second season, when the Texans moved on from quarterback David Carr and acquired Matt Schaub, the team has been solid on offense. From Kubiak's third season on, the Texans have always finished with a top 10 scoring offense. Kubiak, a former NFL quarterback and protege of Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan, has held up his end of the bargain in this regard even though he went through four offensive coordinators in his first five seasons.  Under Kubiak, the Texans quickly gained respectability; they went from 2-14 to 6-10 in his first season, and from 6-10 to 8-8 in his second season. By 2008, though, Kubiak had assembled almost all of his current offensive nucleus: Schaub, stud wide receiver Andre Johnson, tight end Owen Daniels and a stable of explosive tailbacks (primarily Steve Slaton and, since 2010, Arian Foster).  It seemed like the Texans were always everyone's sleeper pick, dark horse contender or up-and-coming team. Yet year after year, they disappointed: 8-8 in 2008, 9-7 in 2009, 6-10 in 2010. Despite great talent on both sides of the ball (including defensive end Mario Williams and linebacker Brian Cushing), the Texans couldn't even reach the postseason.   The Breakthrough In 2011, Kubiak hired defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and finally had a stout defense to match his prolific offense. The Texans had the NFL's fourth-best scoring defense and immediately became one of the NFL's best teams, racing to a 10-3 start. Schaub then suffered a season-ending Lisfranc injury, which seemed to doom the Texans' chances for postseason success. With undrafted free agent T.Y. Yates under center, the Texans lost all three of their remaining games, but still won the AFC South and their first playoff game. Seeing the difference Schaub's loss made to the team's performance, the Texans signed Schaub to a five-year contract extension at the beginning of the 2012 season. Then, everything clicked. Second-year defensive end J.J. Watt became the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year, which set the catalyst for a magical Texans season. With the eighth-best scoring offense and ninth-best scoring defense, the Texans put up a 12-4 record, again winning the AFC South. Schaub, finally able to test his postseason mettle against the AFC's best, failed. After a shaky no-touchdown, one-interception performance that barely scraped the Texans past the Cincinnati Bengals, the Texans were pasted by the New England Patriots, 41-28. It was clear that the Texans had a roster worthy of the Super Bowl. Whether Kubiak and Schaub were good enough to get them there, though, was clear as mud. In July, Smith told Sirius XM Radio (quoted via The MMQB), "[Schaub] does have to play better in those situations for us to take our team to the next level."   The Downfall With a healthy Johnson, Daniels and Foster, plus breakout rookie receiver DeAndre Hopkins and All-Pro left tackle Duane Brown anchoring one of the league's best two-way offensive lines, Schaub is having his worst season since becoming a full-time starter. Schaub's not only thrown more interceptions (nine) than touchdowns (eight), his touchdown rate (3.8 pecent) is his lowest since his first year in Houston, and his interception rate (4.2 percent) is his worst as a full-time starter. Schaub's yards-per-

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