As the seconds ticked down on the clock during the Texans game Sunday night, patrons of a northwest Houston sports bar turned their backs to the large screens covering a wall of the bar, sipping beer, shaking their heads.
A few exciting moments had fans - some decked out head to toe in Texans gear - on their feet, hugging and giving each other high fives at Standing Room Only Bar. It became obvious in the final minutes, however, the Texans would not be able to pull out a win.
Blame went around after the Patriots took down the Texans 41-28, propelling New England into the AFC championship game. A few put the burden on Texans coach Gary Kubiak, others quarterback Matt Schaub or a weak defense. Fans seemed to agree that New England's quarterback Tom Brady, a three-time Super Bowl champion, was certainly a key factor.
Charles Cruz said the team did not play its best against the formidable Brady and Patriots. He said the problem lay with quarterback.
"We aren't going to change Schaub," he said dejectedly. "They could have pulled it out."
Cruz had hoped for a better outcome this season.
Kevin Sanders has been a die-hard Texans fan since they started the team. He watched every game at the Standing Room Only bar with his friends and family this year.
"This was the team," Sanders said. "What we did this year was excellent, but we have to be able to get over that hump."
Sanders, who coaches youth football in Houston, called Kubiak too conservative. The Texans simply fell short. "I need to see a Super Bowl ring," Sanders said.
For several fans needing to mourn the Texans loss, the Montrose-area bar Anvil wrote on its Facebook page: "That stinks ... well, it's our job to make you feel better ... the next 20 drinks to fans wearing Texans gear are on us. Come on by- we're dead!"