The Houston Texans came into this season with hopes of reaching
the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. The Seattle
Seahawks were trying to return following a woeful campaign.
Both teams, however, are all but out of postseason contention
heading into their matchup this week in Houston and have shifted
The Texans will attempt to snap a four-game slide Sunday, while
the Seahawks are hoping to move a step closer to another winning
Entering this year, Houston seemed to have its best chance to
reach the playoffs for the first time in its eight seasons of
existence. Second-year running back Steve Slaton was trying to
build off a surprising 1,282-yard rookie campaign, and quarterback
Matt Schaub was coming off his best season.
The team also had one of the NFL’s best receivers in Andre
Johnson, and emerging stars on defense in Mario Williams, DeMeco
Ryans and top draft pick Brian Cushing.
After alternating losses and wins in their first five games, the
Texans seemed to give their playoffs hopes a large boost with three
straight wins from Oct. 18-Nov. 1, but four straight losses have
Instead of playoff matchups, the talk for Houston (5-7) has
turned to whether coach Gary Kubiak will keep his job after going
22-26 in his three previous seasons. Kubiak’s team is currently two
games behind Jacksonville for the AFC’s final berth and trails four
other teams in the conference’s playoff hunt.
The Texans, however, can still clinch their first winning season
in franchise history by winning out.
“We need something good to happen to us,” Kubiak said. “Nobody’s
feeling very good right now … you’ve got to play back the
confidence, you’ve got to go out and make the plays to get your
confidence back as a football team and we’re going to do that.”
Not helping that confidence is the loss of Slaton, who has
struggled through a disappointing season but still has a team-best
437 yards. The running back was placed on injured reserve Wednesday
because of a nerve issue in his neck and is done for the
Houston will look again to Chris Brown and Ryan Moats to help
revive a running game that’s tied for 29th in the NFL with 88.7
yards per game. Johnson and Schaub, who has a career-best 3,449
yards and 22 TDs, have helped the Texans become the league’s
fourth-best passing offense (278.9 ypg).
Houston’s defense, however, has struggled to keep opponents off
the scoreboard, giving up an average of 22.2 points. The Texans
have allowed at least 20 in each game of their skid, including last
week’s 23-18 loss at Jacksonville.
The Jaguars scored 17 straight points to open the game and
Houston didn’t get within a touchdown until 4:01 remaining.
Schaub’s dislocated his non-throwing shoulder on the team’s first
offensive play, and the Texans had three passers throw an
interception, including Brown.
After returning in the second quarter, Schaub is expected to
play again this week.
Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck’s sore throwing shoulder
hasn’t helped in his team’s attempt to bounce back from last
season’s 4-12 finish, but the lack of a complementary running game
has hurt more.
In their first season under Jim Mora Jr., the Seahawks are also
near the bottom with 93.4 rushing yards per game, but they’ve shown
signs of improvement on defense in their first back-to-back wins
After giving up an average of 30.2 points during a five-game
stretch, Seattle (5-7) has allowed 17 points in consecutive weeks,
including last week’s 20-17 victory over visiting San
Keeping the 49ers out of the end zone in the second half helped
set up Olindo Mare’s game-winning kick from 30 yards as time
The win kept alive the team’s hopes for its sixth winning season
in seven years. The Seahawks are technically alive for a postseason
berth, but are three games behind Philadelphia and Green Bay. They
also have two other teams in front of them and are among a group of
four 5-7 clubs in the NFC.
A loss and wins from the Eagles and Packers would officially
“It would be easy to look at all the mistakes we’ve made, and
look at the big mountain we have to climb to accomplish it, and get
discouraged,” Hasselbeck said. “So we just have to stay
The teams have never played in Houston, and the Seahawks won the
only other meeting, 42-10 on Oct. 16, 2005.