Texans look to meet expectations this season
HOUSTON — One of the things we know about the nature of existence is that nothing ever lives up to the hype.
If we are, indeed, right about this, the Houston Texans had better start playing poorly, and soon, or we're all going to have an existential crisis on our hands.
The Texans are perfect through three weeks. Perfect in record, and darn close to it in every other way too. This is not to say they have not made mistakes. On Sunday, they gave up a safety and committed a turnover that gave the Denver Broncos a chance.
Nothing is perfect, but as of today I couldn't identify a major weakness on this team if I were Simon Cowell.
There are little things. Right tackle Derek Newton had a rough go of it Sunday and might not quite be ready for all this. And Kevin Walter's long touchdown catch notwithstanding, the Texans still lack a big receiving threat opposite Andre Johnson. But those are micro weaknesses. The Texans have no macro weakness. They run well, and they stop the run. They pass well, and they pressure the passer. They're good. Quite good.
They went to Denver, where the Broncos have a good defense and a Hall of Fame quarterback. It was 31-11 with 10 minutes left, and if Ben Tate doesn't fumble, the Texans win that game by three touchdowns and are universally declared The Best Team In The NFL Right Now.
But of course Tate did fumble, and the Hall of Fame quarterback threw a beautiful touchdown pass, and the good defense got a stop in front of its home crowd. Then there was another touchdown pass, the 404th of Peyton Manning's career.
So the game got a little tense. Turns out the Texans are not going to win every game by 20, the way they did the first two weeks. But they are 3-0 for the first time in franchise history. There are only two other undefeated teams left, and Houston has the league's No. 7 offense and No. 2 defense.
In other words, the Texans have lived up to the hype. So far.
It gets tougher. Their next four games are against the Titans, Jets, Packers and Ravens, although three of those games will be in Reliant Stadium.
It is still too early to say the Texans have challenged our understanding about the nature of hype, or of existence itself. Because the hype was that they were good enough to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. That appears to be the case at moment, but the combatants in last year's AFC Championship Game are still ahead on Houston's schedule.
The Texans at this point are like an Eminem album you just opened and popped into your CD player. (Let's just pretend that's still how you do it, OK?) Even if the first couple songs you heard were good, you've consumed enough garbage from him over the years that you're going to have to ride this thing all the way through before you run and tell your friends about it.
We are asking a lot of these Texans now. The scrappy underdog is a dog that won't hunt around here anymore. So, sure, 3-0 is great. A win in Denver is a good win. And congratulations to the Texans on a franchise-best start.
But it is time to beat the Ravens. It is time to beat the Patriots. It is time to go to the Super Bowl.
That's the hype, anyway.