What happened to the Houston Texans in their Week 1 matchup against the New England Patriots? Here’s some flaming hot takes in regard to what’s working best for the team. Take a look and find out more.
The Houston Texans lost their season opener Sunday to the New England Patriots 27-20 and it played out as sloppy as a week 1 game possibly could. In my last article I listed the things that Houston needed to do to have a chance of winning this game. I said that J.J. Watt and the rest of Houston’s front 7 need to get to Tom Brady when he drops back to pass. Brady was barely touched and carved up Houston’s secondary for 3 touchdowns in the first half alone.
I also said the Texans needed to avoid turnovers because the Patriots will make you pay if you give him extra opportunities to put points on the board. On the Texans first play on offense, Deshaun Watson and Lamar Miller fumble the ball on a read option play which gave New England great field position and three plays later it turned into six points for the Pats as Brady hit Gronkowski on a throw to the left sideline just before the goal line. The play could’ve been downed at the one yard line but that would have set New England up with a first-and-goal which more than likely would’ve ended with at least a field goal.
Watson definitely showed signs of rust which is to be expected considering it has been almost a year since his last game. He finished the day throwing for 176 yards on 17 completions out of 34 attempts. He also had an interception and a touchdown but overall it was an underwhelming day for Deshaun but I have confidence that he will bounce back against the Tennessee Titans this week. The Texans did put together a very impressive drive toward the end of the third quarter. Miller and Alfred Blue both were picking up five to six yards per carry and they marched right down the field with Blue having a one-yard, touchdown run to his credit.
The Texans definitely made some good half time adjustments because they scored 14 points after halftime as a opposed to New England’s six second-half points. The offense seemed to be more simplified in the second half and they focused on establishing the run game a lot more than they did in the first half. Lamar Miller and Blue both impressed me this week and I think moving forward that fans are going to see the offense keep the ball on the ground a lot more to start the game.
I took away four positives from this game that should keep Texans fans optimistic this season:
1) As I mentioned, the running game looked really good. The numbers don’t necessarily jump out at you but when Miller and Blue needed a first down or needed to set the offense up with a manageable second third down, they did it.
2) Although it was not Watson’s best day, his mobility was impressive. He showed he still has the ability to extend the play and also the ability to take off and run when he sees nothing down field.
3) Tyrann Mathieu seemed to be involved on every play. He had an interception and a fumble recovery in the game and seemed to give the defense the spark that helped them claw their way back into the game.
4) The coaching adjustments. The first half consisted of run-pass-options and plays that took a long time to develop. In the second half, as I previously stated, the offense looked quicker and simpler. Most of Deshaun’s throws in the second half came off quick three step drops and single move routes from receivers.
I took away two negatives from the game as well which were the offensive and defensive lines:
1) New England is not known for having a very dominant pass rush but the pocket seemed to collapse every time Watson dropped back to pass. He was constantly getting hit, especially in the red zone where it is vital that the quarterback cannot take a sack.
2) The defensive line was also very disappointing. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney were handled for the majority of the game. It is not very often that I can say that Watt was handled in a game but he was not making his presence felt on the edge. Granted, Brady gets the ball out of his hands extremely fast but even New England’s run game was able to pick up chunks of yards no matter who it was running the ball.
Week 2 is extremely important for Houston especially with Jacksonville getting a win in their matchup last weekend. I will be back in a few days to map out what Houston needs to do to secure a win against the Titans this weekend.
Do you agree? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below.
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Houston Texans: Rob and Brian’s final sign-off from Locked on Texans
Brian and Robert say goodbye to Locked on Texans. After 540 episodes, we bid a tearful farewell to Houston Texans faithful, reminisce about our tenure and share some final thoughts on the Houston Texans future.
Houston Texans: The best free agents to target in the 2019 off season
The Houston Texans off season is here and there’s a lot of work to do to prep this team for 2019. Who are the top free agents that the team should go after? Let’s take a look at the players who would make an impact.
The Houston Texans were one of the NFL’s better success stories this season after starting the season 0-3. J.J. Watt returned as one of the league’s most dominant defensive players, while free agent signee Tyrann Mathieu was a playmaker at the safety position. Third-round pick Justin Reid was one of the league’s best rookies and a starter in the Texans’ secondary for years to come.
DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson maintained their solid connection from last year as the former was named to his second consecutive first team All-Pro. Despite being sacked a league high 62 times, Watson passed for 4,165 yards and 26 touchdowns as he led the Texans to a 11-5 record and the AFC South division title. Lamar Miller was only 27 yards from his third 1,000+ yard season, despite missing two games because of injuries.
While the offense did put up strong numbers, the offensive line was a liability throughout the season as Watson was constantly under pressure, while Miller and the rest of the Texan running backs had few running lanes. Right tackle Seantrel Henderson was signed to fix those problems but he broke his ankle in the season opener and did not play for the rest of the season. He is a free agent now and so is Kendall Lamm, the man who replaced Henderson on the offensive line.
Julie’n Davenport struggled at left tackle and Martinas Rankin has not shown enough to yet to be a contributor on the offensive line. While Jadeveon Clowney and Mathieu are both free agents who need to be brought back, improving the offensive line is the team’s biggest priority in the off season. The Texans need to address the offensive line in both free agency and the draft as the unit struggled to protect Watson.
In regard to bringing in help via free agency, Daryl Williams missed most of the 2018 season with a shoulder injury but he was a second team All-Pro in 2017 and is the top tackle available.
His value might not as high because of the shoulder injury but Williams is one of the league’s better tackles and the Texans need to get him in free agency to bolster their offensive line. Williams is a mauler that should help create running lanes for Miller, while keeping Watson upright in the pocket. If the Texans are unable to sign him, Ja’Wuan James and Roger Saffold are the next best offensive linemen available in free agency and both players should be targeted by the Texans.
An upgrade in the secondary is also needed as Shareece Wright struggled in coverage, while Kayvon Webster and Aaron Colvin battled to stay healthy. Kareem Jackson had a great year for the Texans but is another Texans’ free agent that has to be re-signed.
The Texans need to address their own free agents first as Clowney, Mathieu and Jackson were all vital parts to the team’s success in 2018.
What do you think? Feel free to comment in the section below.
Interested in writing for Locked On Texans? Tweet us: @LockedOnTexans, Facebook: Locked On Texans or drop us a line at [email protected]
Houston Texans: Identifying the team’s most glaring weaknesses
What are the Houston Texans biggest weaknesses going into the 2019 off season? Rob and Brian bring on State of the Texans’ BigRon to discuss what needs to be done to fix a team that has tons of potential to be dominant. What’s the best way to improve the offensive line? Is Julién Davenport still worth developing and what should we expect to see in additional development?
How about the thought of shifting Greg Mancz to center and Nick Martin to guard? The trio also discusses the future of Whitney Mercilus on the roster as well as certain defensive lineman not getting enough playing time. What else? Take a listen to find out more!
Houston Texans: Le’Veon Bell and plethora of free agent running backs
What’s the best way for the Houston Texans to fix the running backs position for the 2019 season? They certainly can do better than bringing back Alfred Blue. Rob and Brian talk about what the team needs to do and gives their top free agent running backs to help this offense flourish. Is bringing in Le’Veon Bell a possibility? Can the Houston Texans get the back they want in this season’s draft?
The duo discusses that plus gives their thoughts of Indianapolis Colts’ firing offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo and the interesting back story that likely factored into the move. Plus, Gary Kubiak finds a new job in the NFL. What else? Take a listen to find out more!