By Shawn Lealos
The Houston Texans had already locked up the AFC South heading into the final game of the season, but they still had something to play for when it came to preparing for the playoffs. In the regular season finale, Houston faced the Tennessee Titans, a team that was threatening to overtake them in the division before losing their quarterback Marcus Mariota. The Texans watched their quarterback Tom Savage fall to a concussion and then lost to a backup led Titans, 24-17.
The Houston Texans offense was inept for most of this loss. Before his concussion, Tom Savage had only completed five-of-eight passes for 25 yards and fumbled the ball once. That fumble was recovered by DaQuan Jones for a touchdown, with Tennessee taking a lead they would never surrender. After Savage left with his injury, Brock Osweiler came back in. Osweiler played as starter for most of the season, so there was hope that Houston would rally around him.
Osweiler had a solid game by the end, throwing for 253 yards and a touchdown and never turning the ball over once. He also ran for a one-yard touchdown to C.J. Fiedorowicz. DeAndre Hopkins led the team with seven catches for 123 yards. However, the running game did nothing, with Alfred Blue running for 28 yards and Jonathan Grimes running for 16 yards.
In 2015, Matt Cassel was the starting quarterback for part of the season for the Dallas Cowboys and couldn’t win any games. With Titans’ starting quarterback Marcus Mariota out for the season, Cassel came in to start and won the game for Tennessee, giving the Titans their first winning season since 2011. While Houston did sack Cassel four times and intercepted a pass, they couldn’t stop the team from scoring.
The Titans never trailed in the game, despite playing with their backup quarterback. Derrick Henry and DeMarco Murray combined for 86 yards and a touchdown in the game. Cassel threw a touchdown pass to Rishard Matthews, who finished the game with 114 receiving yards. Joel Heath recorded two of the sacks for a Texans defense that was missing some key starters, but they gave up two of the touchdowns in the loss.
Special Teams: B
Nick Novak has been hot over the last few weeks, but he missed a 45-yard field goal today, his first miss since Nov. 13. Shane Lechler was not much help in the punting game, averaging 47 yards per punt but not pinning any inside the 20. They also couldn’t do much in the return game, averaging three yards per punt return but giving up an average of 13 yards per return.
The Houston Texans knew they would likely have the draw of facing the Wild Card team in the AFC West in the first round of the playoffs. With little to play for in that respect, they deactivated Lamar Miller once again, stripping the team of their running attack. When Tom Savage was injured, Brock Osweiler came in and played well, proving he has been working hard since his benching. The Texans lost here, but the important thing is to prepare for next week’s playoff game.
Next week, the Houston Texans will host a first-round playoff game and there is no telling who will start for them at quarterback. Tom Savage took over as the starter three weeks ago and hasn’t thrown a touchdown in three starts. Brock Osweiler was not playing his best throughout the season and was 7-6 before he was replaced in the Jaguars game. Running back Lamar Miller should be back for the playoffs after missing two straight games with an injury. The Texans will host the first round playoff against either Oakland or Kansas City.