The finish line is near as we count down 10 plays that defined the Texans' 2013 season.
This project began much broader in an effort to identify the 10 plays that defined the Texans' season. But in going through the list a trend emerged: nearly all of the most pivotal plays in the Texans' season were interceptions.
We are of course bypassing a few important plays:
The sack-fumble Case Keenum took in the fourth quarter against Kansas City, when he had a chance to lead a game-winning drive. D.J. Swearinger's costly penalties against the Jacksonville Jaguars, which contributed to a loss that preceded Gary Kubiak's firing. The block that ended Brian Cushing's season. The incomplete pass Matt Schaub threw to Andre Johnson in the end zone against the Raiders, which preceded Schaub yelling at Johnson, Johnson yelling back and then walking off the field.
So far we've discussed Johnathan Joseph's interception against the New England Patriots, the first pass of the season, Matt Schaub's first pick-six, Case Keenum's first interception, T.J. Yates' pick-six and the interception Brian Cushing returned for a touchdown, signaling his triumphant return from a torn ACL in 2012.
4. One pick-six becomes two
At this point in the season, there still was no reason to consider this a trend. The storyline entering the Texans' Week 3 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens centered around safety Ed Reed's return to the place where he became a future Hall of Famer.
This pick-six wasn't responsible for the loss. Houston lost by 21 points and committed 14 penalties -- a franchise record they matched twice more during the season.
But it came at a particularly deflating time. The Texans were leading, 6-3, and Baltimore linebacker Daryl Smith's pick-six changed the momentum.
This loss didn't spell doom. It was Houston's first, they were still 2-1.