By Paul Gallant, SportsRadio 610By Paul Gallant

Back to back weeks. Back to back wins. And back to back . . . snoozefests. I’ll spare you a repeat edition of my bored whining. On my show Friday, I made a movie trailer for Sunday’s game:

And . . . it panned out as such. The Texans didn’t play great. But they won. And that’s all that matters.

Especially with the way the rest of Sunday’s games played out. The Colts’ last minute win over the Browns soured things a bit. Winning the AFC South would likely require the Texans to win out, and the Colts to lose the rest of their games. But the following outcomes . . .

  • Ravens 28 – Dolphins 13
  • Broncos 24 – Bills 17
  • Cardinals 17 – Chiefs 14
  • and the Colts 25 – 24 victory over the Browns

 

. . . vaulted the Texans from 12th to 8th in the AFC. Then consider the teams ahead of them in the standings:

  • The 4th place Bengals (8-4-1) and 5th place Steelers (8-5) are close to unreachable. The Texans trail each in the standings AND have lost to both teams.
  • But the 6th place Chargers (8-5) are certainly catchable. They host the Broncos next week. Then wrap up the season with road dates against the struggling – yet formidable – 49ers and Chiefs.
  • And the 7th place Ravens? They have home dates with the Jaguars next week and the Browns to wrap up the season. Most importantly, they’re coming to town to take on the Texans in 2 weeks. With a win, Houston will hold the tie-breaker over Baltimore.

 

While far from a certainty – because it will likely require 3 wins in a row and THE FIRST Texans’ victory in Indianapolis – the playoffs suddenly look possible.

Oh yeah . . . there was a game.

THE GOOD

Just Two Guys . . . And We’re Having A Good Time

Arian Foster: 24 carries, 157 yards and these two runs:

Bam.

Bamm.

J.J. Watt: 3 sacks, 1 tackle for a loss, and 1 deflected pass.

Bammm . . . wait, he didn’t score a touchdown? Might have to trade him.

Bortles-ed Up!

Sorry.

Jacksonville had some first half success moving the football. They scored a touchdown in the 1st quarter, then drove into Texans territory twice in the 2nd. Those latter two drives stalled in the red zone and led to field goals.

But after that, it was a dominant performance from the Texans defense. They sacked Blake Bortles 4 times, hit him 9 times, deflected 8 of his passes, picked him off once, and held the rookie to 20-39 (51%) for just 205 yards (5.3 yards per attempt). The Jags couldn’t get anything going on the ground either – not that they have much talent at running back. Still, they were held to 3.4 yards a carry as a team.

Let’s not go overboard over this performance though. This should have been expected. After all, the Texans were facing a rookie quarterback with a terrible offensive line and no running game to speak of.

THE BAD

Early Lethargy

The Texans tried to talk up the Jaguars all week. Still, all the compliments in the world can’t shove Jacksonville’s 2-10 . . . and now 2-11 record to the side. They’re a bad football team. And their fans know it. Just take a listen to calls on their post game show on 1010 XL Radio in Jacksonville:

The sports fan in me was already looking past this game. And based on how sloppy they played in the first half, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were thinking ahead to next Sunday’s date with the Colts. It’s only human nature.

Third Down Nightmares

The Texans were an abysmal 3-14 on 3rd Down in Jacksonville. Let’s review:

  • Q1 – 3rd & 6 at own 24: Fitzpatrick sacked
  • Q1 – 3rd & 15 at own 20: Screen to Andre Johnson for a 5 yard loss
  • Q1 – 3rd & 7 at JAX 26: Incomplete pass to Arian Foster downfield. The throw was accurate, Foster just couldn’t complete the catch.
  • Q2 – 3rd & 5 at JAX 9: Incomplete pass to Andre Johnson over the middle. Johnson caught the ball and was knocked out on the play. An unnecessary roughness call for the hit that knocked ‘Dre out gave the Texans a 1st down.
  • Q2 – 3rd & 8 at own 19: Incomplete pass deep to Keshawn Martin, well overthrown.
  • Q2 – 3rd & 3 at own 27: Incomplete short pass to DeAndre Hopkins. It was nearly picked off. The Jaguars left end got a great jump on the play . . . and may have been offsides.
  • Q3 – 3rd & 2 at own 29: A Foster 5 yard run up the middle. 1st Down.
  • Q3 – 3rd & 7 at own 49: Fitzpatrick scrambles up the middle for 6. He could have had the first, but tripped. It didn’t matter though, because the Texans converted on a 4th and short.
  • Q3 – 3rd & 5 at JAX 26: Fitzpatrick hooked up with Damaris Johnson for 11 yards. Johnson fumbled after getting the 1st . . . and it was recovered by Hopkins.
  • Q3 – 3rd & 1 at JAX 1: Fitzpatrick stuffed on a QB sneak. Foster would score a touchdown on 4th & 1.
  • Q4 – 3rd & 12 at JAX 38: A checkdown pass short to Foster for 11 yards . . . just short of the 1st. The Texans lined up to go for it on 4th down and drew the Jags offsides on the next play.
  • Q4 – 3rd & 9 at JAX 45: Screen pass to Hopkins for no gain.
  • Q4 – 3rd & 12 at JAX 28: Fitzpatrick kneel down.

 

A few thoughts. First of all, I was a bit disappointed in the first screen call. Fitzpatrick had a lot of success throwing downfield last week against the Titans. Why not stretch the field again? At the very least, call anything other than wide receiver screens. They’ve rarely worked in the Texans’ favor this season.

3rd and long situations are difficult for ANY team to overcome. Unfortunately, the Texans’ offensive line – inconsistent all year in pass protection – didn’t help much. Fitzpatrick found himself consistently under pressure, and didn’t have a lot of time to make plays.

Ow

This hit was pretty nasty. I’m no doctor, but Andre Johnson appeared to be out cold for a couple of seconds here. We’ll see if he can play against the Colts. Andre has probably lost a half-step, but he’ll be much needed if the Texans are to win in Indianapolis for the first time ever.

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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