Wrap-up: Texans 21, Bills 9

Thoughts on the Buffalo Bills' 21-9 loss to the Houston Texans:

What it means: The struggling Bills (3-5) lost for the fourth time in five games. Few expected Buffalo to do much against Houston. The Texans (7-1) have the best record in the AFC and are a very tough matchup for Buffalo. The Bills began the season with playoff aspirations, but it appears they are heading for their 13th consecutive nonplayoff season.

What I liked: The Bills played tough for a half. Buffalo’s defense held the Texans to just seven points in the first two quarters. That is impressive for a Bills defense that has struggled mightily. Buffalo defensive end Mario Williams showed up to play. He registered seven tackles and a sack against his former team. Now that his wrist injury is fixed, perhaps this is the start of Williams turning his 2012 season around. The Bills certainly need him.

What I didn’t like: There are no moral victories for the Bills. Just playing competitive shouldn’t be good enough this year. The Bills had their chances to pull a huge upset on the road. But the team failed to convert in the red zone on offense or get big stops defensively. Buffalo was 0-for-3 in the red zone and settled for three field goals. I’m still baffled by Bills running back C.J. Spiller getting only six carries. He averaged 6.5 yards per rush in this game.

What’s next: The road doesn’t get any easier for the reeling Bills. Buffalo will travel again next week to face the reigning AFC champion New England Patriots (5-3). New England is coming off a bye and has two weeks to prepare for Buffalo. It’s a must-win game for the Bills to keep their very slim playoff hopes alive. New England crushed the Bills 52-28 in the first meeting on Sept. 30.