- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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Reading the coverage…
“Offensive stagnation. Costly penalties. Special-teams struggles. Turnovers. Debilitating third-and-longs. The whole gang returned Sunday when the Texans had a chance to secure the top seed in the AFC, when they knew what was at stake,” writes Tanis Ganguli of the Houston Chronicle.
The Texans needed two wins in their last four to secure home-field advantage through the playoffs, says Randy Harvey of the Chronicle. They couldn’t get them both and they are right back where they were last year with a first-round game against the Bengals in Houston.
Matt Schaub didn’t do anything Sunday to quiet people who question his ability to perform in big games, says Harvey.
The Texans had their flaws exposed, says ESPN Stats and Info.
This is what Chuck Pagano dreamed about in the darkest of days fighting leukemia at the hospital, says Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star. “As a fitting and emotional tribute to Chuckstrong, the Colts went out and celebrated his return by playing their very-best game of the season.”
Deji Karim saw the Texans kickoff coverage team part like the Red Sea on his touchdown return that put the Colts ahead for good in a win where the Colts got something from everybody, says Phil Richards of the Star.
Going back to Baltimore seems fitting for these Cinderella Colts, says Mike Chappell of the Star.
They had nothing to play for but proved a lot, says Nate Dunlevy of Bleacher Report.
The Jaguars showed in a season-ending loss that they still have an unresolved quarterback situation, says Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union. Chad Henne threw two pick-6s to Titans linebacker Zach Brown.
Moments after the Jaguars’ loss, general manager Gene Smith said he’s not been told of his fate by owner Shad Khan, says Ryan O’Halloran of the Times-Union. Said Khan: “You know as much about it as anybody on the planet Earth. It’s all conjecture. The minute I have something, you’ll know.”
The consequences for this massive underachievement shouldn’t fall exclusively on Smith, says Gene Frenette of the Times-Union. He thinks Smith has to go. “Nobody questions that (Mike) Mularkey is an upstanding guy who works hard, but that can be said for a lot of NFL coaches with questionable job security. He can't keep playing the we-tried-our-best card and expect Khan is going to welcome him back in 2013.”
A new bunch of players on the Jaguars punt coverage team was exposed -- twice, says Stellino.
If Mike Munchak is back in 2013, he should have a playoffs or bust mandate, says David Climer of The Tennessean. “Over the past four years, they are one of 10 NFL teams that have failed to make the playoffs. In a league whose rules are written to promote parity, that’s inexcusable.”
A forgettable season had a memorable ending, says Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean. Indications are Munchak will survive it, but Bud Adams said he still has things to sort through.
The Titans had a record return day, with two interception returns for scores by Zach Brown, and two punt returns for touchdowns by Darius Reynaud, says John Glennon of The Tennessean.
Jake Locker will have surgery to repair his non-throwing shoulder, says Wyatt.