Off target and lacking confidence from the very first snap, Hoyer killed the Texans with three unforgivable picks and a lost fumble over the first two quarters of play.
"I need to be better than that," Hoyer said after the game. "That's the bottom line. Just a lack of execution. I didn't want to come out of that game."
The giveaways made Hoyer the first quarterback to produce a four-pack of turnovers in the first half of a playoff game since Miami's Dan Marino did the deed in a January 2000 divisional-round loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
That was Marino's final game for the Dolphins and this could be it for Hoyer in Houston. If Saturday's wipeout clarified anything, it's this: Houston can no longer float through the NFL with a hodgepodge of hobby horses under center. It's high time to use the draft to find a better target for O'Brien to groom.
O'Brien has plenty to answer for, too. While he's done an outstanding job this season, that doesn't explain why he chose to line up Watt in the Wildcat near the Kansas City end zone just before the half. With the Texans trailing 13-0, the defensive terror was stuffed for a one-yard loss before Hoyer took the field to throw his third pick of the day.
I picked the wrong time to have the worst game," Hoyer said. "It's tough. Own up to it and learn from it. Embarrassing."
O'Brien then came out of the half choosing to stick with Hoyer, instead of giving Brandon Weeden a chance to parlay off his brilliant starting performance in Week 16.
"I did not consider that," O'Brien said after the game, regarding removing Hoyer for Weeden. "I felt like sticking with him was the right thing to do."
Still wafting around the field, Hoyer in the second half produced four punts, a drive that ended on downs and a ghastly fourth interception before this impossibly dull playoff tilt mercifully fizzled to an end.
If Houston wants to get back here again next season, they need to spend the next eight months fixing the most important position in sports. Another season of Hoyer, Weeden and the second coming of Ryan Mallett simply won't cut it in today's NFL.
It's your move, O'Brien.