TEXANS 27, JAGUARS 25
5 observations from the Texans 27-25 win over the Jaguars
If only the Texans could play the Jaguars every week, they would be much better than 2-6. In a sometimes entertaining game between two really bad teams, the Texans were less bad and escaped with a 27-25 victory in Jacksonville. Five thoughts on the game:
1. Stop us if you have heard this before: The Texans running game was awful once again, although it was probably a benefit that David Johnson was knocked out early. Duke Johnson wasn't much better, but at least he created a few extra yards on plays that had no chance. But the only real positives in the running game came from Deshaun Watson, who rushed seven times for 53 yards (not including kneel downs). And the Texans defense was gashed again by the Jacksonville running game. Failure to run and failure to stop the run have been consistent issues all season.
2. Deshaun Watson is quietly putting up big numbers. Watson was sacked twice, but he completed 19 of 32 for 281 yards, two touchdowns and hit two big plays to Brandin Cooks and Will Fuller, although the second should not have counted. The refs missed a blatant delay of game call, and the Texans took advantage. For the season, Watson is on pace for over 4,000 yards, 30 TDs and 10 interceptions. Watson has not thrown an interception in four of his last five starts. Teams are not supposed to be 2-6 when their quarterback puts up those numbers.
3. A quick answer. For just the second time in two years, the Texans scored a touchdown on their opening drive. Deshaun Watson hit Cooks for a 57-yard touchdown, answering Jacksonville's opening score to tie the game at 7. The only other time they scored on the first drive was Week 17 last season against Tennessee, when A.J. McCarron got the start. This has been a serious issue for the Texans, and it was critical they scored early, especially after letting Jacksonville get an early 7-0 lead.
4. A pretty clean game. The Texans had just three penalties (one an intentional delay) in the game and one turnover on a Duke Johnson fumble. They did not win the turnover battle as both teams had one, but there just were not a lot of mistakes and it made a huge difference.
5. The defense had its moments, but mostly bad ones. They weren't good, but they came up with an interception, a key fourth down stop in the fourth quarter, and played just well enough to win. Zach Cunningham has had a lot of empty tackles this year, but he had a solid game. The Texans were missing Bradley Roby, Whitney Mercilus, Jonathan Martin and lost Brennan Scarlet to injury during the game. Considering who was out there, they did OK, although they allowed the Jags to march down the field in the last few minutes to have a shot to tie it, but they at least stopped the 2-point conversion. A good defense would have had a few more turnovers, because the Texans dropped two relatively easy interceptions. But the Texans are not a good defense. On Sunday, they were less bad than usual, and it was enough for a win.
The bottom line: These were two bad teams, and the Texans are just a little better than the Jaguars. It is pretty meaningless in the grand scheme, but at least the Texans gained some separation from the axis of evil bad teams that are winless or have one win.