The Houston Texans Lose to the San Francisco 49ers

As the end of the regular season draws to a close and post-season hopes have been dashed, the Houston Texans are already preparing for the next season. With a record of 4 and 9, this marks the Texans first losing season under Head Coach Bill O’Brien who came under much scrutiny after the loss to the San Francisco 49ers this past Sunday.

O’Brien was criticized for the way that Quarterback Tom Savage was handled after a hard hit. No pass protection 9 minutes into the second quarter resulted in Savage getting slammed to the ground by 49ers LB Elvis Dumervil (#58). In what was a scary moment, Savage appeared stunned and his hands could be seen shaking while a ref stood over him. Non-medical professionals quickly diagnosed him to have had a seizure and were appalled when he went back in during the next play. It was later determined that the shaking was more likely an instinctive physical reaction to the head trauma he suffered because head trauma was most certainly suffered. This is where the criticism came into play for O’Brien who has since explained he was unable to see Savages visceral reaction to the hit as he was standing on the 50-yd line.

O’Brien explained, “I had no idea. I figured that he got hit, really didn’t know he got hit, there’s 12 bodies around him. Very, very difficult from the 50-yard line where I’m standing to see if he even got hit. With benefit of the video – I, which I do not have benefit of any video; there’s no video on the sideline. There are tablets…With benefit of seeing the video, obviously from my standpoint, the care for the player, I would’ve never let that player back in the game, and I don’t believe that [Texans’ head medical trainer] Geoff Kaplan would’ve allowed that player back in the game. I don’t have benefit of the video. I did not see anything.”

In truth, there are a number of individuals in place including medical staff, trainers, and a “concussion spotter” who failed to recognize the severity of the situation. Savage somehow passed the “concussion protocol” and played a few more snaps before the powers that be recognized something was off. Savage was eventually pulled but “concussion protocol” is rightfully back in the spotlight as what happened on Sunday was unacceptable.

Injuries have plagued the Texans all season long and have surely taken their toll. “Yeah, man. I’ve never been a part of a team like this with this many injuries,” DeAndre Hopkins said post-game. “I mean guys, they go out back-to-back, so it’s not something I don’t think anybody in this locker room has dealt with before.” During that game alone, the Texans lost Savage and Kendall Lamm to concussions while players including Andre Ellington, Carlos Watkins, Lamar Miller, Marcus Gilchrist, Jadeveon Clowney, and Brandon Dunn missed plays after getting hurt on the field.

“Yeah, every year somebody. This year just happened to be us, the Houston Texans,” Jonathan Joseph said. “And you look around the league every year, teams are going to battle injuries, you know. I think this year, we just got hit with the injury bug. Horrible that it’s a part of football.”

Though it seems as gloomy as can be for the Texans, there is one bright spot…and that would be Pro Bowl Wide Receiver DeAndre Hopkins who can catch anything. After catching 11 passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns against the 49ers, Hopkins blamed himself for the loss due to an untimely fumble. “I feel like it’s on me, man,” Hopkins said. “Put the ball in my hands, let my team down on a big drive.” His first fumble in two years…This season, Hopkins has 88 catches for 1,288 yards and 11 touchdowns. Not to mention the fact that he’s caught passes from 3 QBs this year alone even though multiple QBs are nothing new to him. “I wish we could’ve gotten it to him [more]. We tried. San Francisco did a good job of doubling him a lot, especially after the second touchdown catch,” O’Brien said of Hopkins. “But he’s a great player, and we’re going to continue to try and get it to him.”

It’s clear that Hopkins creates his own magic out of anything that is thrown his way.