While it was a wild year filled with many tough things on and off the field, the Houston Texans can hold their heads proud as they played spoiler on Sunday in topping the Chicago Bears 31-24 to end the 2008 season at 8-8. They wrapped up the season winning five of their last six games, with just a slip up in Oakland last Sunday.
The season appeared lost when the team was 0-4 after a hurricane postponed one game, and the team had to have a bye week in week two, and didn’t play a home game will week four. They reeled off a set of three and four-game win streaks to make the season that could have been worse in the end seem like one that they can build on in 2009.
The team topped the Bears with their usual formula of victory, a big game from their biggest offensive weapon – WR Andre Johnson, who had 10 grabs for 148 yards and touchdowns from 43 and three yards out. It was the eighth 100-yard game of the season for the NFL’s leading receiver.
Rookie back Steve Slaton also had a good day, outrushing fellow Bears rookie Matt Forte, 92-to-50 yards. Slaton did lose a fumble, but also scored a touchdown and had a 47-yard run, while Forte’s biggest carry of the day was for just 13 yards.
Matt Schaub played well, and cemented himself as the teams number one QB after coming back from injury. He threw for 328 yards on 27-for-36 passing with two TD’s and a QB rating of 121.1. Kyle Orton was 22-for-37 for 244 yards with two TD’s for the Bears in the losing effort. Chicago ends the year one game back of the Vikings in the NFC North at 9-7, and out of the playoffs in the NFC.
The Texans trailed early 10-0, but exploded scoring 21 points with two second quarter TD’s from Schaub to Johnson and then a Ryan Moats two-yard run to make it 21-10 at the 8:30 mark of the third quarter. After the Bears closed it to 21-17, Houston got a field goal from Kris Brown to make it 24-17, then Slaton went in from two yards out to make it 31-17 with 3:24 left.
The Bears scored with 1:31 left when Orton went in from one-yard out to make it 31-24. The Texans were able to run four run plays to end the game as they ran out the clock. If the Texans can build on the end of the 08 year with a solid offseason, they could easily be a team on the rise in the AFC in 2009.