THE INSIDE LOOK
5 observations from the Texans' loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars
There really is nothing positive to take from the Texans 45-7 loss to the Jaguars on Sunday. In most of the post-Deshaun Watson games, they have at least been competitive, at least until the fourth quarter. This one was never close and the Texans never had a prayer. It was essentially over when the Jags went up 14-0. By halftime it was 31-0 and the rout was on. Here are five quick thoughts in the wake of the loss:
Jags one weakness is becoming a strength
The Jaguars’ patience with Blake Bortles is paying off. He has been a negative for almost his entire four-year career, but he is playing his best football now. The coaching change to Doug Marrone was a positive, and the Jags have done a nice job of establishing a powerful running game and using that to set Bortles up with play action. He has eliminated the critical mistakes from his game, especially in the red zone, and the Jags have everything else in place around him. It will be tough to trust him in the playoffs, but it goes to show players can develop with better coaching and being put in a better position. He is playing at a much higher level than I ever expected. Obviously, it helps that he was going up against a terrible defense, but he had a big game against Seattle the week before, too. Bortles got most of the fourth quarter off after going 21 of 29 for 326 yards, three touchdowns, no picks and a near-perfect rating of 143.8.
The Texans special teams continue to be a complete joke. Three penalties on the first two extra points? Yes, there are players on the field that do not belong in the NFL, but these are dumb penalties, not hustle penalties. And an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on your punter that leads to points before the half? Wow. And of course, coverage was shaky on punts. It kind of got lost in a game where the Texans had no chance but once again special teams was a negative.
Is there anyone on this defense that can cover a wide receiver? Kevin Johnson continues to regress and is starting to look like a busted pick. He simply has not been the same since returning from last year’s injury. The hope that he would return to form is one of the reasons the Texans did not invest heavily in A.J. Bouye. Kareem Jackson has been OK at times, but Johnathan Joseph looks done. They made it look way too easy for Bortles and the Jags. Some of that has to be scheme, as the Texans were confused the entire game (well, at least in the first half when the Jags were trying). The Texans got very little pressure and forced no turnovers again.
The line has been drawn
The offense figured to struggle against the Jags defense, and it lived down to expectations. The offensive line was simply overmatched by the Jags front seven, and as a result they were unable to run the ball or protect the QB. T.J. Yates was not very good, but did anyone expect him to be? Not much to say here other than they were just flat out bad. The Texans are going to have to totally revamp their OL in the offseason as there is little in the cupboard as the unit is now constructed.
The heat is on
For the first time this season, the Texans were not even competitive, especially on defense. The coaching staff had actually been doing a pretty good job of keeping the players motivated until this game. Expect more heat on Bill O’Brien and Rick Smith in the wake of this one.