Bengals 37, Texans 31
5 observations from the Texans 37-31 loss to the Bengals
The Texans and Bengals had little to play for on Sunday, and it showed at times, especially on defense, where neither team was interested in tackling. But it was an entertaining game that came down to the wire. The sad thing is the Texans can't even beat the Bengals. Five thoughts on the Bengals 37-31 win:
1) Where have you been all season, David Johnson? The overpaid running back has been awful all year, but on Sunday, he actually looked like a Pro Bowl running back. Johnson had 12 carries for 128 yards and a touchdown, plus 3 catches for 11 yards and another touchdown. That he did it behind an injury riddled offensive line was all the more impressive. For the first time, Johnson looked like a real running back, with explosive runs. Being able to run the ball was huge for the Texans, as it kept them in the game. He won't be back next season, but he might have earned himself a shot somewhere else.
2) This guy can play for this team next year. Keion Crossen has quietly had a solid season. A special teams ace, he has been forced into coverage duty because of injuries and suspensions. He is one of the few DBs who has been solid in coverage, and did a nice job on A.J. Green. Even when he was beat, he had good coverage. Not a star by any stretch, but unlike a lot of his teammates, he belongs in the NFL. He was one of the few bright spots on a defense that made Brandon Allen look like a Hall of Famer.
3) Deshaun Watson is having a great statistical season. Watson had another good game, with 324 yards and 3 TDs on 24 of 33 passing. He was the second best quarterback on the field on Sunday, but Johnson's big day helped him out. Watson will finish with well over 4,000 passing yards, has 30 touchdowns and only six interceptions. His escapability in the pocket is amazing. But he once again turned the ball over late to end the Texans chances on a sack fumble. Despite that, his team should have a much better record. Allen was better on Sunday, but this season has been a breakout year for Watson. He just needs a lot more help. Having said that, he should not play next week. No reason to get him hurt in another meaningless game.
4) The interior defensive line needs new blood next year. The Texans will have a lot of holes to fill in the off-season, especially in the secondary. But just as glaring is the interior defensive line. They were blown off the ball many times, and run defense starts there. Maybe Ross Blacklock develops next season, but if not, the Texans need a brand new group. The defense in general is a mess, with maybe five players who are worth a damn. None are in the interior.
5) Romeo Crennel needs to be put out to pasture. He is a likeable dude, and he was thrust into a tough situation. But the defense is his baby, and it has regressed year after year. A new scheme, new thoughts and a fresh approach are imperative. It would be hard for this team to be worse. The new staff should thank Romeo for his efforts and wish him luck elsewhere.
The bottom line: This game really meant nothing, except to pad some stats. Deshaun Watson, David Johnson, Brandin Cooks and Brandon Allen did just that.