December 26, 2010: After watching the Texans lose to the Denver Broncos, making it four losses in a row to fall to 5-10, a despondent fan in the greater Houston area is preparing to commit suicide when the Angel of Football Future descends into his bedroom clothed into the divine light of truth. “Stop!” cried the angel. “I have been sent unto you to save you from despair by bestowing a vision of the 2011 Texans!”
Fan: You mean there’s hope? Does Arian Foster lead the league in rushing again?
Angel: No, he injures his hamstring and misses the first few games.
Fan: What, Arian goes down? Crap! At least tell me that Andre Johnson leads the league in touchdown receptions!
Angel: No, he also has a hamstring injury, and only appears in seven games before the regular season ends.
Fan: Both of Houston’s top offensive weapons suffer hamstring injuries? It just gets worse! Does Mario Williams finally lead the league in sacks?
Angel: No, Mario goes down with a torn pectoral muscle and is lost for the year after the fifth game.
Fan: Gah! Now you’re just tormenting me! Top performers on both offense and defense injured! I suppose you’re going to tell me that Special Teams are awful as well?
Angel: Actually, your rookie punter plays great–
Fan: Finally, a break!
Angel: –but then he’s lost for the year with a non-contact injury.
Fan: Agggggh! It’s like a nightmare you can’t wake from! At least tell me that’s the worst of it, that no more major Texan players go down?
Fan: Wait, more injuries? Mario, Arian, Andre, that’s all the Texan’s superstars…except…
Fan: No! Not Matt Schaub! Tell me Schaub stays healthy!
Angel: Sorry. Albert Haynesworth breaks his foot in the tenth game.
Fan: Bastard! So I suppose Matt Leinart is our starting quarterback for the rest of the season?
Angel: Well, he starts for one game, but he breaks his collarbone just before the half.
Fan: I’m in Hell! I suppose you’re going to tell me we hire some retread QB to lead the team?
Angel: Well, they do sign Jeff Garcia–
Fan: Aggggghhhh! Kill me now!
Angel: And Jake Delhomme does take some in-game snaps…
Fan: WHY, GOD, WHY???? WHY DO YOU HATE THE TEXANS SO MUCH???
Angel: But the starting quarterback for the rest of the season is actually a fifth-round rookie named T.J. Yates.
Fan: I’m dying here! With all that the season must suck hard! What do we finish, 5-11? 4-12?
Fan: 3-13? 2-14?
Fan: Aggggggghhhhh! A winless season! We’re as bad as the 2008 Detroit Lions! Life is an unending vale of misery and sorrow!
Angel: No. The Texans go 10-6, win the AFC South and beat the Cincinnati Bengals in their first playoff game ever before losing 20-13 to the Baltimore Ravens on the road.
Fan: What? After all that, our team makes the playoffs and wins a game there? How did we get by Indianapolis?
Angel: Peyton Manning was out for the year with neck surgery and they went 2-14.
Fan: But with Mario out, our defense must have sucked the farts out of dead wildebeest!
Angel: No, after the team hired Wade Phillips and drafted two defense standouts in J. J. Watt and Brooks Reed, the defense went from 30th to 3rd in the league.
Fan: Wow, with all that adversity, that’s a great outcome! A playoff game at Reliant Stadium will rock!
Angel: Indeed it well.
Fan: I guess I won’t kill myself after all! Now, can you give me any hope for the Astros?
Angel: Uh, I think it’s time to end this vision…
Sadly, the Texans’ offense (especially Jacoby Jones) made too many mistake for Houston to make it to the conference finals, but that shouldn’t obscure what a remarkable ride the Texans gave us this season, and what devastating string of injuries they had to overcome to get there. The Texans have both one of the youngest, and one of the best, defenses in the league, and if Schaub. Foster and Johnson can stay healthy, should be serious Superbowl contenders for at least the next few years