Coach Gary Kubiak (Getty Images)
It was a roller-coaster season for the Texans. They started 1-2, reached the midway point at 5-3 and suffered a four-game losing streak -- all to AFC South opponents -- before closing the season with a four-game winning streak.
In their last game, the Texans rallied from a 27-13 fourth-quarter deficit for a 34-27 victory over New England at Reliant Stadium. The Texans finished 9-7 for their first winning record.
After the game, owner Bob McNair made it official: Coach Gary Kubiak will return for his fifth season. There was speculation around the country that Kubiak might lose his job, but McNair said last month that he didn't want to make a change because change was disruptive.
McNair also said he thought the Texans had a better chance to be really good next season with Kubiak rather than a new coach.
"Gary's my coach," McNair said. "I know there was speculation that he might not be (back in 2010), but he will be. He'll definitely be back. I don't see any reason why he wouldn't be."
Kubiak was hired in 2006 to replace Dom Capers. The Texans have finished 6-10, 8-8, 8-8 and 9-7 in his first four seasons.
"That means a lot to me," Kubiak said. "It shows me that Bob believes we're headed in the right direction. He's great to work for. He's always positive, supportive and very thorough.
"I'm glad we won this game and finished with a winning record. That's for him and everyone in the organization."
The Texans were a long-shot to make the playoffs, but they ended up coming close. On Sunday, they needed two of three team -- the Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos or New York Jets -- to lose or tie. Baltimore beat Oakland. Denver lost to Kansas City.
When the Jets defeated the Cincinnati Bengals, it ended the Texans' bid to make the playoffs for the first time in team history.
WHAT WENT RIGHT: The Texans had their best season away from Reliant Stadium -- 5-3 on the road; their previous best was 4-4. Quarterback Matt Schaub was outstanding. He stayed healthy for the first time and led the NFL with 4,770 yards. He also had 29 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. In the last two games, the Texans found a running back in rookie Arian Foster. He carried 39 times for 216 yards and three touchdowns in victories over Miami and New England.
WHAT WENT WRONG: The Texans' running game was supposed to be strong with second-year running back Steve Slaton, but he experienced a horrible slump. He fumbled seven times over the first half of the season and lost five of them. He was more effective as a receiver than runner before being injured and placed on injured reserve. The Texans won at Tennessee in their first AFC South game. Then they lost the last five, none by more than eight points. Their 1-5 division record was their biggest disappointment.