Texans missed an opportunity, but loss to Bills wasn't catastrophic

The Texans had a hard time containing mobile quarterback Tyrod Taylor on Sunday, but losing to the Bills isn't a killer for the Texans. Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

No one will deny that losing is bad, but sometimes losing is less harmful than it is at other times.

On Sunday the Houston Texans suffered their first loss since October. Unlike some of their early losses this season, this one wasn't a complete catastrophe. In the scheme of things, the Texans aren't much worse off than they were heading into the game.

That's because the Indianapolis Colts lost, too.

The Texans and Colts have both helped each other during the past couple months, with neither being able to really take control of the division. Indianapolis lost 45-10 to the Pittsburgh Steelers, prompting my colleague Mike Wells to award his game ball to the AFC South. Had the Texans won Sunday in Buffalo, they would have taken control of the division, pulling a game ahead of the Colts two weeks before their next matchup.

Instead both the Texans and Colts are 6-6. They'll face each other on December 20 in Indianapolis.

The reasons not to panic apply to what happened to the Texans during the game, too. The Texans were still in the game late, within six points at the two-minute warning. They were beat by a mobile quarterback with an excessively talented receiver and running back at his disposal, and those players made exceptional plays. Texans outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney played one of his better games, and the Texans seemed finally willing to play he and Whitney Mercilus together more late in the game. The Texans moved the ball well offensively, with the notable exception of one important fourth-quarter drive.

There is also reason to panic if you look for it.

I'm not that worried about the backslide in the Texans' run defense -- they aren't always going to face running backs like LeSean McCoy. But the Texans' lack of depth at safety showed on Sunday, most notably in the 40-yard go-ahead touchdown pass to Bills tight end Charles Clay.

They didn't handle mobile quarterback Tyrod Taylor well, and they'll have to face another mobile quarterback in the Titans' Marcus Mariota in three weeks.

Offensively, the inability to get the ball to star receiver DeAndre Hopkins for most of the game (he had three targets and one catch in the first three quarters) is a concern. So is the Texans' futility in the fourth quarter, when they went four-and-out, turning the ball over on downs, struggling against the blitzing Bills.

The bottom line, though, is the Texans can recover from this. They just can't let one loss become a trend.