Houston, we have a problem!
At the halfway point of the 2009 season, the Houston Texans had won five of their eight games and looked set to compete for a play-off berth for the first time in Gary Kubiak's four years as head coach.
And then the wheels came off for a team that seems to find it impossible to win big games when the chips are down.
The Texans twice lost games they should have won against the undefeated Indianapolis Colts and also suffered reverses at the hands of the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars.
That four-game losing streak saw made Houston long shots to reach the play-offs as a wild-card team. They are, once again, on the outside looking in.
The Texans snapped that losing run in emphatic fashion on Sunday, romping to a 34-7 win over the struggling Seattle Seahawks.
That's what these Texans do - they wait until the season is virtually over and then they go on a meaningless winning run that makes everyone think they are the hot team to watch the following season.
They started the 2008 campaign with only three wins from their first 10 but manaed to finish 8-8. And in 2007 they won three of their last four after a very poor first half to post an 8-8 mark.
The late revivals have kept head coach Kubiak in employment because each season he manages to convince his bosses the Texans are just a play or two or a win here and there away from being a Super Bowl contender.
Matt Schuab and Gary Kubiak have struggled to make the Texans a consistent team
There is no doubt this is a talented team and one that is exciting to watch. Quarterback Matt Schaub loves to throw the ball downfield and wide receiver Andre Johnson is a physical beast who is virtually impossible to cover. If he talked and jabbered like most of the guys who play at his position, Johnson would get a lot more headlines.
Defensively, there are also some big playmakers stepping up each weekend for the Texans. Defensive end Mario Williams and the young linebacker duo of DeMeco Ryans and Brian Cushing are cornerstones upon which a potentially dominant unit could be built.
Yet for some reason these Texans cannot put it all together when it matters the most. And that's why people are starting to point fingers at Kubiak, even though his background as an offensive coordinator means Houston are one of the most exciting teams in the NFL to watch.
Kubiak spent his entire playing career with the Denver Broncos, as the back-up for John Elway, starting just five games but appearing on the sidelines in three Super Bowls.
He can draw up a play in the ground and get you 20 yards at a drop of a hat, but he seems to have serious trouble instilling mental toughness in a set of players who appear flaky and prone to crumbling under pressure.
The two games against the Colts are perfect examples.
The Texans fought hard in both games but came away empty-handed. It was almost as if the players expected something to go wrong and knew there was no way they were coming out on top against the undefeated but there-for-the-taking Colts.
In game one, the Texans led 17-13 in the final period but allowed the Colts to regain the advantage with a late touchdown. But they still managed to get into position to take the game into overtime and sent Kris Brown trotting onto the field with just seconds remaining to attempt a 42-yard kick that would have forced sudden death.
What happened next was, in itself, another example of the Texans' inability to handle pressure. Earlier in the game when the stakes were not so high, Brown had landed a mammoth 56-yard field goal. But this time around, with the game on the line, he sent his very makeable effort sailing wide left.
In game two in Houston, the Texans had the Colts right where they wanted them with a commanding 20-7 lead at the half. Schaub was in outstanding form, completing 14 of 17 passes for 152 yards and one touchdown in the opening 30 minutes.
But in the second half, Schaub threw two interceptions and lost a fumble and the Colts out-scored Houston 28-7 to win 35-27.
Supporters of Kubiak, a group which who it should be noted includes his players, suggest he has worked wonders in building a contender from a club that posted just two wins in 2005.
That may be true and 8-8 may be an acceptable return for some teams, but this is a squad that could and should be much better. So owner Bob McNair has a decision to make.
Stick with Kubiak and hope the bounces start to go your way (the four recent losses came by an average of 4.75 points) or go out and find a head coach who can get inside the players' heads, make them believe in themselves and get them over the hump?
Kubiak would argue, as you would expect, for more time. If the Texans can turn those close losses into wins in 2010, they will be a playoff team. And they will have a couple of key offensive players back from season-ending injuries in running back Steve Slaton and star tight end Owen Daniels.
In any other season, when most of the head coaching candidates would be emerging offensive and defensive coordinators, I would expect the Texans to stick with Kubiak and give him time to produce a playoff team.
But this is not going to be any other off-season. Some big-name, Super Bowl-winning coaches are lurking in the shadows - Bill Cowher, Mike Shanahan (whose son, Kyle, is offensive coordinator in Houston), Mike Holmgren, Jon Gruden and Brian Billick.
Some of those guys have television gigs at the moment but could surely be tempted back to the sidelines in the right situation.
And it could be hard for McNair to ignore a group of head coaching candidates with such outstanding pedigree.