If the Houston Texans were going to turn their season around after three consecutive losses, they needed to take care of business against a mediocre St. Louis Rams squad Sunday.
They instead went into full-blown death spiral mode in a 38-13 blowout defeat, losing by four scores despite outgaining the Rams by 204 yards.
The performance can't be pinned on Matt Schaub, who led the offense to roughly 10.0 yards per play before leaving with an ankle injury in the third quarter.
In a mistake-filled performance, Houston incurred seven penalties for 95 yards by halftime alone. They surrendered two touchdowns by the Rams defense' and special teams, bringing the season total to seven touchdowns of the non-offensive variety. The defense lacked backbone, specifically in the red zone.
In short, it was the kind of effort that leads to a reassessment of the coach in what is fading into a lost season for the 2-4 Texans.
Here's what else we learned in Sunday's game:
- Rookie Zac Stacy is running away with the Rams' starting tailback job. The numbers don't jump off the box score with 90 yards on 20 touches, but Stacy continues to do a fine job of moving the chains to sustain long scoring-drives. He has avoided the negative plays that plagued Daryl Richardson early in the season.
- Sam Bradford appeared to be regressing in a major way three weeks ago. Since then, he's thrown six touchdowns without an interception in back-to-back victories. Sunday's trio of touchdowns combined for 7 yards, but it's still a promising sign. On pace for a 35:8 touchdown-to-interception ratio, Bradford is off to the best statistical start of his career for the 3-3 Rams.
- There's no timeshare in the Texans' backfield. Arian Foster channeled his 2010 form, showing more burst than he did last season. On his way to clearing 5,000 career rushing yards, Foster totaled 198 yards from scrimmage compared to just 28 for Ben Tate.
- T.J. Yates is not an upgrade on Schaub. In his first 11 attempts, Yates underthrew DeAndre Hopkins on a potential touchdown, tossed a pick-six in the red zone and threw another interception in the end zone. As long as Schaub's ankle allows him to play, he will be under center at the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs in Week 7.