If Houston Texans fans thought this doomed year couldn’t get any more humiliating, Christmas Day’s nationally-televised 34-6 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers at NRG Stadium saw the 2017 campaign hit full-on silly season.
Adding the biggest insult to the Texans’ injury-plagued season was the fact that Monday’s game looked and sounded more like a Steelers home game.
There aren’t many Texans fans who want to watch a hopeless 4-10 team play on Christmas Day, and on the flip side of the coin, the Steelers are in the middle of a highly successful season and have a fan base that both travels well and has a nationwide presence.
So, it wasn’t surprising, but was still one of the most embarrassing scenes in Texans franchise history (and that’s saying something).
Then, during the game, the Texans were forced to roll out their fourth different quarterback this season, a guy by the name of Taylor Heinicke who was signed roughly three weeks ago to the practice squad.
Heinicke had previous stints with Minnesota and New England but had never played an NFL snap before Monday. At the end of his first full series (filling in for starter T.J. Yates, who was going through and passed concussion protocol), Heinicke was dropped for a big sack and sidelined for the rest of the game with a concussion (welcome to the land of opportunity for NFL QBs, kid).
In recent years, Texans fans have come to expect this level of volatile instability at quarterback. So, this, too, wasn’t surprising. But, it’s still embarrassing.
ON THE BRIGHT SIDE
• The festive for the Steelers was a wonderful homecoming for La Marque High School alum Brian Allen. A 2012 La Marque graduate, Allen played collegiately at Utah, and was selected in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
“Just to get back and spend Christmas with my family out this way and just being back in the city is a great atmosphere,” Allen said. “I’m happy things played out this way, and I’m just looking forward to the next one.”
The Steelers rookie defensive back (who also played wide receiver in high school for the Cougars) Allen took the field on a handful of special teams plays and recorded an assisted tackle on a punt return.
“For me, growing up, Houston was my favorite team, so the fact that my first Texans game was with me as a player was like a dream come true,” Allen said. “That’s one thing I can scratch off the bucket list for now.”
• The best moment of the game for the Texans came before the proceedings got started when offensive guard David Quissenberry made his hard-fought professional debut as a coin toss team captain in an emotional scene.
Quissenberry was a sixth-round pick for the Texans in 2013, but missed his rookie season with a foot injury. Then, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer and missed the next three seasons undergoing treatment for the disease.
Finally healthy, Quissenberry participated in Texans training camp, was cut from the team but signed to the practice squad. He was elevated from the practice squad to the active roster earlier in the week and made his debut Monday, where in addition to serving as a team captain, he played multiple snaps as a blocking tight end.