27-0. Wow. That . . . was bad. But worse? All too familiar.
Covering a team in the AFC South can get quite boring. After all, teams like the Jaguars and Titans often feel like FCS opponents, while the Colts are literally Andrew Luck and a pile of burnt money. So when the Texans have a BIG GAME on their radar, I get a little extra excited.
I imagine that they do too. Unfortunately, EVERY SINGLE TIME they’re asked to perform in a big spot they choke it all away. I’m sure they get excited and amped for the game the week before. But come kick off? If things don’t go 100% according to plan, they clam up like Rabbit in 8 Mile.
There’s no eventual redemption for these guys. And there never has been. The Texans in primetime against the league’s best are a Dee Reynolds standup routine.
Except this time? Louis C.K. wrote Sweet Dee’s jokes. And she still dry heaved on national TV.
The Texans had EVERY CONCEIVABLE ADVANTAGE going into Thursday’s game against the Patriots.
- They were down to their third string QB Jacoby Brissett.
- Who was playing behind an offensive line that got pushed around by the Dolphins days before.
- A line that would have the daunting task of stopping J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus, Jadeveon Clowney, not to mention Vince Wilfork and the surprising John Simon. They only led the NFL in sacks and had been pretty strong against the run.
- And the offense? Who cares about the scoring issues? Ryan Tannehill – who is terrible – had nearly 400 yards passing on them.
I still had doubts. Because I’d learned a few things in my time watching NFL football, but none top this one. You just can’t doubt THAT team. So I didn’t.
And now here we are, with the Texans losing to one of the league’s best. In disastrous fashion (I at least thought it would be close). Again.
Haha, you’re sh*tting me right?
Fine. Bernardrick McKinney had 16 tackles and a sack.
I’m not going to pin this loss on Brock Osweiler. Yes, it’s been far from great thus far:
- His 6.38 yards per attempt ranks 29th among quarterbacks.
- He’s thrown the 2nd most interceptions in the league with 4 (he’s also had the most starts in the league thus far with the rest of week 3 kicking off).
- And his quarterback rating (72.2) is higher than just 1 quarterback: Case Keenum (57.8)
But I know what I see, and there’s potential there. He can put the ball in some very tough spots, no matter how awkward his delivery is. He’s still holding the ball a little too long. He sometimes telegraphs his throws and forces it to DeAndre Hopkins. And he runs like a crippled ostrich (this apparently goes all the way back to his tee ball days). Still, I felt that his biggest problem Thursday was the Texans’ conservative gameplan and a shaky offensive line.
Unfortunately, the island of Brock supporters is slowly sinking. After all, the Jason La Canfora hates him.
Everything. The end.
Just kidding. But not really kidding that much. So let’s just list them.
- Let’s just start with the offensive gameplan. Are we sure that Bill O’Brien’s gameplans are matchup based? Because every single game there’s a whole lot of dedication and patience for a running game that deserves neither. Lamar Miller’s 21 carries for 80 yards are pretty misleading, especially when you consider that a quarter of them came on 3 carries in the 4th quarter down 3, then 4 scores. He is a very conservative runner, and seems like he’s missing out on a lot of big plays to the outside. That needs to change. Take a gamble dude.
- This fact is all the more frustrating when you consider that the Patriots were basically daring the Texans to run. They had 2 safeties deep in coverage and were playing man on Houston’s receivers. And STILL, the running game still didn’t work. So why not go to short passes? This may sound biased, but I’m pretty confident that DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller would have been able to get open in a 5-6 yard window for Osweiler.
- While we’re on the running game, why the hell did the Texans run that draw on a 3rd and 8 at the 40 yard line in the 1st quarter? The days of being conservative are over. Hoyer isn’t there anymore. Pinning Brissett deep is overrated (especially when you punt a touchback right after). You have Osweiler as quarterback. Let him make the play! That play really set the tone of the rest of the game. The Texans were playing not to lose. You can’t do that on the road against New England.
- The offensive line didn’t help the running game, nor did it help out Osweiler. Xavier Su’A Filo just isn’t good, and being sandwiched between typical backups Chris Clark and Greg Mancz clearly isn’t helping.
- Ball security is basic. Hold the ball with 4 points of contact on the arm carrying it. And if you’re about to get hit, bring your other hand in for added protection. There is no excuse for a fumble. And there is REALLY no excuse for a fumbled kickoff return (it’s like an onsides kick at your own 20). So then when you fumble two kickoffs? Pack your bags. Charles James. Tyler Ervin. No more.
- While we’re on Ervin, I’d prefer that he stop returning kicks altogether. What are you thinking calling a fair catch at your own 4 yard line?
- The defense had a layup this week against a third string rookie quarterback. Brissett was far from anything special. And the Patriots offense resembled something out of high school. Yet missed tackles and general confusion allowed the Patriots to take a 10-0 halftime lead and never look back. Towards the end of the game, the general sloppiness gave LeGarrette Blount a 41 yard touchdown run.
- Watt. Mercilus. Clowney. The Texans 3 most impactful defenders combined for just 8 tackles. Where were they? Not one impact play between the 3 of them? Against that Patriots O-line?
That game was a disaster. Yes, there are still 13 more. But it’s a major bummer realizing that we’re going to have to wait until a hopeful (hopeful is probably the wrong term here) rematch with the Patriots for the Texans to prove that they can hang with the best teams in the AFC.
Paul Gallant hosts “Gallant at Night” – Tuesdays 9-11 PM, Wednesdays 8-11 PM, and Fridays 8-11 PM on SportsRadio 610. He also hosts SportsZone Unfiltered – Fridays at 10 PM – on The Kube: Channel 57 and the Spoiler Alert Podcast – available weekly on iTunes and SportsRadio610.com. Get in touch with Paul via email or his facebook page.