One significant thing all fans in attendance got to witness was Manning becoming the all-time leader in touchdown passes in a season. His fourth TD pass of the day was his 51st of the 2013 season, besting the previous record of 50 set by Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in 2007. He was congratulated on the sideline by his teammates and coaches immediately after setting the record.
Interim Head Coach Wade Phillips summed up the disappointment in his post-game media press conference. “Obviously, I thought we fought real hard. The interception when it was close (hurt). Before that though, we were in field goal range and got sacked twice and it kept us from tying up the score. We had the ball and were three points behind and then we threw that interception.”
You know, the guy’s (Manning) a great quarterback, and they came out throwing. Fifty-one passes in one game…you know that’s a lot of passes. The last one (long pass) late in the game, I’m surprised they threw it, but that’s part of football.”
Quarterback Matt Schaub also talked with the media after yet another disappointing loss in a season that everyone associated in any way with the Texans would like to forget. He was asked if the game signified what the season had been like.
“Yeah, we were moving the football and had to settle for a couple of field goals. We had a close game and they made a play and their offense generated a couple of points and separated themselves a little bit and we tried to hurry up and play catch-up and we just, you know, couldn’t convert a third down here and there, and they did the things necessary to win the game today.”
Schaub was asked if it had crossed his mind that he might have just played his last game as a Texan in Houston. “It definitely crossed my mind. I didn’t want to think too far ahead, but I’ve played this game long enough that I know how things work, so you know, it definitely crossed my mind. It was exciting to be out there all week and be with my guys in the huddle that you are with for so many years, and you go to battle with here today, but you know, we fell short.”
It is almost certain that Schaub WON’T be in a Texans uniform next season. There will be many more assistant coaches that won’t be around either, as every new coach brings several of his own assistants in and makes wholesale assistant coaching changes.
Additionally, there are probably better than one third of the current team that will be banished from Houston as well and their play this season more than justifies that. There are a number of players on both sides of the ball that will wear a uniform for a different team IF they remain in the NFL next year.
A Houston loss in Tennessee on Sunday will give them the #1 overall draft pick in the 2014 NFL Draft next spring. The team has MANY positions that need to be filled, but there is no doubt about it…in order to be successful in the NFL for several seasons in a row, you MUST have a “franchise quarterback” along the lines of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Drew Brees to name a few.
There are also many other needs this team has, and it is going to be a challenge for whomever the new head coach is when he comes in. It could be that it will take two or three seasons to rebuild what was considered one of the favorites in the AFC to make a run to be in the Super Bowl in New Jersey in February.
One this is for certain: there will be plenty of fireworks and activity as the new head coach decides who to keep and who to cut as he tries to figure out the formula to rebuild the team as quickly as possible, and get the Texans back into contention in 2014. Stay tuned for what happens next!