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Comeback kids' magic runs out as Texans fall in wild card round

Despite loss, O'Brien, Watson optimistic about future

Oct 8, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) and running back Lamar Miller (26) during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 8, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) and running back Lamar Miller (26) during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

HOUSTON - – Finding themselves down early in a game was nothing new for the Houston Texans. Entering Saturday's wild card round, Houston led the NFL in come-from-behind victories with nine. But that regular season magic was not playoff transferable on Saturday as the Texans fell to Andrew Luck and the Colts 21-7 at NRG Stadium. 

Houston spotted Indianapolis a 21-0 lead before halftime. History proved it was too deep of a hole to climb out of, as the Texans slid to 1-55 all-time in games in which they trailed by 21 points or more. The loss ended an up-and-down season for Houston.

"Its very tough, its frustrating," said Texans defensive end JJ Watt. "You've got to give it to Indy, they played well."

From the depths of an 0-3 start that included a heartbreaking home loss to the New York Giants, to a nine game win streak that ironically began in Indianapolis, 2018 was a rollercoaster for the Texans. They earned the right to hang a fifth AFC South banner from the NRG Stadium rafters, but that wasn't enough for head coach Bill O'Brien, who said his team simply didn't get the job done.

"Give the Colts a lot of credit, they came out better than we did," a very dejected O'Brien said after the game. "Frank (Reich) did a really good job and had his team ready to go. All the way around, they did a better job than us today."

O'Brien delivered a fair assessment, as the Colts came out humming offensively. Andrew Luck was in playoff form, picking apart the Texans' secondary for 191 yards and two scores. He was aided on the ground by tailback Marlon Mack, who tallied 148 yards and a touchdown on the ground. 

So whats next for Houston? The first step is fixing an offensive line that gave up a league-leading 65 sacks in 2018. Despite that jarring statistic, O'Brien delivered a positive assessment of his team's future. 

"I think that this organization has a bright future. It starts with our young quarterback and the great group of guys we have around him in the locker room," O'Brien said. 

That young quarterback, Deshaun Watson, echoed similar sentiments. While Watson wasn't his best on Saturday, going 29 for 49 with 235 yards passing, one touchdown, one interception and a team-high 76 yards rushing, he, too, thinks the Texans are headed in the right direction. 

"This season was filled with ups and downs, and we overcame a lot of adversity. We started off 0-3, but made a run and clinched the division and did a lot of good things. It ended a lot sooner than we wanted, but there are a lot of positives to be taken away from this season and the future," Watson said.