In his first road postseason start, not much was expected of Brock Osweiler, but a lot was asked. Osweiler attempted 40 passes in Saturday's Divisional Round loss to the Patriots, throwing one touchdown, three second-half interceptions and countless short-of-the-sticks third-down lasers.
The $72-million quarterback's evening was in line with his play throughout the season: inaccurate, conservative, cost-ineffective.
When asked about the QB's play in his post-game presser, Texans coach Bill O'Brien -- who confirmed he'd return to Houston as head coach next season -- didn't even reference Osweiler, instead commenting about the poor play of the offense as a whole.
"Interceptions, they're never one guy's fault," O'Brien told reporters. "Obviously as an offense, we need to score more than 16 points. You're not going to beat the Patriots scoring 16 points. I'm not going to get into all the different plays and all that."
"At the end of the day, we didn't capitalize on opportunities," Osweiler parroted. "When you don't do that, you're not gonna beat a good football team, like the New England Patriots.
"It's very disappointing. Like I said, you need to capitalize on great opportunities against a football team like this. Even though we hadn't done that throughout the game, at the end of the day, we were still just down eight points at the start of the fourth quarter."
Osweiler's inability to move the offense and punch home touchdowns in Foxborough will keep him and his coach up at night in the offseason. The Texans answered New England's first score with a 14-play drive that resulted in a two-yard pass on third-and-6 and a field goal. Houston turned two rare Tom Brady interceptions into just six points. When the Texans finally had the Pats within one score in the fourth quarter, Osweiler threw what turned out to be a game-sealing pick on the first play of the drive in his own territory.
Brock's underwhelming game could have moved O'Brien to bench him for Tom Savage the second time this season, and few would've blamed him. But he didn't, much to the dismay of fans and tired viewers.
Savage impressed in three appearances late in the season after taking over for Osweiler, taking chances downfield and outside the numbers and throwing with a confidence that had been missing for the Texans' QB position. A Week 17 concussion knocked Savage out of the game and Houston's wild-card test with the Raiders, which paved the way for Osweiler to steal back his starting job just in time for Saturday's clash with the Patriots.
There's no telling whether a different quarterback could have kept Houston in this one through the final frame; it's near impossible to upset the Patriots at home after all. Those "what ifs" will be left to us scribes to mull over in the offseason.
"We have to play better offensively in order for us to get to where we need to be in this league, with the defense that we have and so I put that on me," O'Brien conceded. "We have to figure it out. We have to spend a lot of time this offseason soul-searching. Everybody's got to look in the mirror and figure out what we need to do better."