Originally posted on Fox Sports Houston  |  Last updated 12/23/11

HOUSTON - OCTOBER 19: Head coach Gary Kubiak of the Houston Texans during play against the Detroit Lions at Reliant Stadium on October 19, 2008 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Sunday was supposed to be the full system flush. Thursday was going to be the re-fill. Four days after dropping a stinker at home to the Carolina Panthers -- a loss that Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak had seen coming, a performance Texans fans hoped Houston merely had to get out of its system -- the Texans were going to re-start their season the same way they started it in the first place, with a big win over the poor Indianapolis Colts. And then the Texans lost to the Colts 19-16. The Texans lost to the worst team in the NFL. The Texans lost to a quarterback named Dan Orlovsky, who completed a game-winning pass to Reggie Wayne in the final seconds. "We make one play offensively at the end, the game's over," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "We make one stop at the end, the game's over." But they didn't. It is difficult, now, to imagine the Texans winning a playoff game. They haven't scored more than 20 points since starting quarterback Matt Schaub went down. That was five weeks ago. The team you are watching now is not the one that won the AFC South. It is a version of that team, but not that team entirely. When Houston beat Indianapolis 34-7 in week one in Houston, the Texans' season was still about the playoffs, where the franchise had never been. When they met Thursday night in Indianapolis, the Texans' season had become about the Super Bowl. It had to be, even if everybody had gotten hurt in the 14 weeks since, because the Texans were in the playoffs and had the NFL's No. 2 defense. That's a Super Bowl contender, ready or not. Besides, the Colts this season have been the cure for what ails you, and it hasn't much mattered what the affliction was. The Colts have the NFL's second-worst offense and fifth-worst defense. They lost a game by 55 points this year. The Texans needed to take a big ol' swig of the Colts, swish them around for a while and expel them right along with whatever was still stuck in their gums from last week. Instead, they chocked. It was more complicated than that, though, because the Texans are not the same team they were a month ago. Because they clinched their playoff berth with a dramatic comeback by a third-string quarterback, they created the illusion that all was well, that nothing had changed, that they were, as we say, "a team of destiny." Maybe destiny does carry some teams, but some teams fumble destiny, right along with the football. That had been an issue for Houston recently. Both running backs lost fumbles against the Panthers, and the quarterback turned it over twice, too. A few missed reads by the quarterback, and a couple blown coverages, and the Texans were right back to looking like they always had. Kubiak had seen it coming, and tried to warn his team it wouldn't be getting away with that stuff. Sunday, it didn't. So Thursday was the real test. Who are these guys, after all the injuries? Though the franchise's first playoff berth was already assured, there were still carrots in front of them. A first-round bye and home-field advantage, namely. At its start, the season was about the playoffs. Two weeks ago, it became about the Super Bowl. Who where these guys? The kind of team that loses to the worst team in the NFL, that's who. There was no system flush. There was nothing to flush out. This is who the Texans are now, and the playoffs are coming. Ready or not.
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