HOUSTON (CBS Houston) – The Texans certainly didn’t look good Sunday in a 30-17 loss to the Giants.
Surprising? No, not really. This is an average team piloted by a mediocre quarterback. And losses happen, especially on the road.
But based off of the reaction via twitter, text, and phone calls during our post game show, we’ve got an awful lot of people pressing the panic button. If you fall into that category, I’ve got some advice for you:
- Take a chill pill,
- and temper your expectations for 2014. Because you shouldn’t have expected much out of this team to begin with.
Think about it. The Texans are coming off a 2-14 campaign. They replaced Matt Schaub with Ryan Fitzpatrick. And they still have many of the same issues they did last year. Those issues were magnified in a game that Arian Foster sat out.
When you hit rock bottom, you’ve got no choice but to be patient. The solution to your problems aren’t as simple as benching some guys and hoping for the best from backups. Because in most cases – especially teams coming off of 2-14 seasons – those reserves are reserves for a reason.
Yes, even at quarterback.
Here are my thoughts on the game:
Bill O’Brien’s gambles didn’t ALL work well against the Giants. In fact he failed more often than he succeeded:
- A 4th and 1 that was stuffed early in the third quarter
- Passing on 3rd and 19 from the Texans 9 – resulting in an interception.
And there were times where we wished we’d seen him take a chance – specifically another 4th and 1 early in the 4th quarter. O’Brien chose to punt – and that punt was blocked.
But we’re in the sunshine land segment of my post. So lets remember the time that Shane Lechler faked a punt on fourth and short and we all worshiped O’Brien as a king among kings. The fact that he even CONSIDERED going for it multiple times – which we all know Gary Kubiak would never have entertained – makes me feel pretty confident in O’Brien going forward. This was not his best coached game, but you have to like how aggressive he was.
You know what they say about big hands…
…DeAndre Hopkins has some. Here’s the catch that counted. And here’s the BLEEPING ABSURD ONE that was called back (by none other than fan-favorite Tyson Clabo getting flagged for illegal formation). Hopkins was a difference maker against the Giants – 6 catches for 116 yards – despite sub-standard play from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. And he also stepped up in a game where Andre Johnson – with just 4 catches for 24 yards on 11 targets – was held in check. Based off what we’ve seen thus far, Fitzpatrick has supreme confidence throwing to Hopkins in traffic. And through 3 games – HE…not Andre – has been the passing attack’s biggest playmaker.
Other brief moments of positivity
- J.J. Watt has a sack. We’ll forget that it was the Texans’ only one for now…
- Considering Arian Foster was such a late scratch, Alfred Blue had a solid game. He had 78 yards on 13 carries – most of it coming on a 46 yard scamper – and caught Lechler’s pass on that fake punt
- And once again, the Texans forced a turnover inside their own 10…courtesy of a Kendrick Lewis forced fumble. They have 4 takeaways inside their own 10 on the year.
- This happened.
- …And I can’t think of anything else.
The offensive line received a lot of praise last week for their performance to open the season. They deserve nothing but criticism after the 30-17 defeat.
Let’s start with some math. Subtract Alfred Blue’s 46 yard run…and you’d see the Texans rushed the ball 24 times for 73 yards on the day. That’s an average of about 3.04 yards a carry. And for this team to win, that’s not nearly enough.
Oh wait, I’m not done. Ryan Fitzpatrick scrambled 7 times for 34 yards on the day – none of which were designed. Which means outside of one big run, the Texans struggled to the sum of 39 yards on 17 carries. 2.3 yards per carry.
Still not finished. Fitzpatrick was sacked twice on the game, was hit five more times, and had 4 passes deflected by defensive linemen. All in all, a miserable performance.
But the Giants CAN run the ball, bro
They actually can’t. Or at least they didn’t for the first two weeks of the season. Yet despite their abomination of an offensive line, Rashad Jennings ran all over the Texans. He had 34 carries for 176 yards on the game. And should probably write a thank you card to the Texans’ defense for all the tackles that they missed.
Eli Manning – 21-28 for 234 yards and 2 TDs – was due for a good game. Unfortunately, so too were Brooks Reed and Whitney Mercilus, neither of whom could create any pressure of their own. Outside of J.J. Watt’s sack, Manning faced ZERO pressure.
And if Eli’s just chilling in the pocket all game, it’s only natural that Victor Cruz would step up too. Johnathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson aren’t fast enough to keep pace with Mr. Salsa.
Don’t worry, I didn’t forget him
No one in town was very optimistic about Fitzpatrick’s chances with the Texans. And unfortunately, the Harvard grad had a bad day – the Fitpatrick way – at the office: one with too many interceptions.
It was awkward watching Fitzpatrick throw the ball. I don’t know if the wind was a factor, but he was LABORING to make some very routine throws. Throws that STILL wobbled their way towards their intended targets.
The ones that reached un-intended targets were tougher to watch. Fitz was picked off 3 times, and had 4 passes deflected in the secondary. In addition to the 4 knocked down by D-Lineman at the line of scrimmage. Yeah…
I’ll give Fitzpatrick credit for escaping the rush from time to time. But other than that, it was a rough outing.
Still, the bench Fitzpatrick for Mallett conversation – which apparently has started – needs to stop:
- This was a bad day for Fitzpatrick. But you don’t bench a quarterback for an unproven player after he has ONE bad day at the office. You just don’t. Especially when he’s starting for a team with a winning record.
- Does anyone actually KNOW Mallett is an upgrade? This is a guy acquired for a conditional seventh round pick in ’16. New England didn’t think that highly of him based on that.
- And do we really believe that Mallett – who is a statue in the pocket – could have succeeded in the face of the Giants’ pass rush? Sorry, but I don’t. Nor do I think Mallett would fare well against the Bills’ rush next week.
We all know the quarterback situation could be better here. But in all likelihood, this is a position group that WON’T improve until they draft a franchise guy next year.
Unless that doesn’t happen…
Paul Gallant hosts the “B-Straw and Pauly G” show – Tuesdays 9-11 PM, Wednesdays 8-11 PM, and Fridays 8-11 PM – with Brien Straw. Get in contact with Paul on Twitter – @PaulyGSays – or on Facebook – Paul Gallant.
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