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The Houston Texans didn’t look much like a playoff team when they took the Oakland Raiders on Sunday at Reliant Stadium. In fact, the Texans looked like a team that would be receiving a high first round draft pick in 2012. There were many issues that were glaring in my mind as I watched the Texans fail to put successful drives together time and time again, but nearly all of them stem from one major issue.
This issue I speak of is the horrendous play of the offensive line.
The Texans averaged less than 3 yards per carry, which is an abnormality since Gary Kubiak activated Arian Foster to the active roster at the end of the 2009 season. After taking a second look at the game, one can’t miss the fact that the line of scrimmage is moved about a yard towards the Texans side of the field on nearly every rush. The play of the offensive line had issues taking care of the front seven of the Raiders nearly all game long, long before guard Mike Brisiel briefly left the game with an ankle injury. You can have the owner of the NFL rushing title in the back field all day long, but if your offensive line can’t move the guy in front of him it won’t matter much.
Their poor play was not limited to the ground game however. I am sure that you noticed a couple of issues that Matt Schaub had when attempting to deliver the ball to his intended targets. First was the amount of batted balls that the Texans had in the game. The offensive line could not keep the rushers’ hand out of the air to provide a clear throwing lane for Schaub. For some reason unknown to me, the offensive line refused to cut the rushers once they stopped their rush and got their hands in the air. This, however, was pale in comparison to issue they had keeping rushers off of their quarterback during the other half of the time. Schaub was under siege for the better part of the game, getting hit a number of times and sack a few times more.
This line had better get their issues worked out during this week of practice as they get ready to take on the punishing Ravens’ defense, or their trip to Baltimore will be infinitely more difficult this coming Sunday.