TITANS 41, TEXANS 38
5 observations from the Texans' season-ending loss to the Titans
The Texans season came to a merciful end on Sunday in entertaining fashion, as they dropped a 41-38 decision to the playoff-bound Tennessee Titans. The year may be 2021, but it was typical 2020 Texans; Derrick Henry ran all over them once again, and they played hard but lost in dramatic fashion in the final 20 seconds. At least the Texans showed some heart and made the Titans work for it. Five observations from the season ender:
1) At lest we can stop waiting and look forward to new hires. The season is now officially over, and we can turn our attention to who might take over as head coach and GM. The lone bright spot of the season was the end of the Bill O'Brien era, which at least gives some hope. Now we will see if that hope will be fulfilled. It's a stretch to think the Texans will get these hires right, especially if Jack Easterby is involved at all, considering he signed off on the DeAndre Hopkins deal. But at least the wait is nearing its end. It will be a challenging off-season with no picks and a lot of bad contracts, but maybe the Texans get the GM hire right and a better coaching staff improves some of the underperformers. So at least there will be hope - at least until the hire is made.
2) There were some bright spots this season. Watson finished with a terrific statistical season, even though his team was not very good. With a better coaching staff next year, he should take another big step. He did not have much help. Brandin Cooks was solid, and Keke Coutee had a nice second half of the season and looks like a useful piece moving forward. Tight end Pharoah Brown was a pleasant surprise. We've mentioned Tyrell Adams and Keoin Crossen as bright spots on the defensive side late in the season. None of these guys are stars, but they should be useful pieces moving forward. The Texans don't have a lot of those.
3) Does it feel like there is no leadership other than the players? Someone in the front office should have stepped in and made Watson sit this game; an interim coach with no skin in the game wasn't going to do it. The Jack Easterby stories are a matter of lore, and Cal McNair remains mostly silent. This felt like a ship without a captain, and it hit the iceberg hard.
4) Speaking of leaders...it might have been J.J. Watt's final game as a Texan. It was sad to see, but the truth is the Texans should give him a chance to play somewhere he can win. He has been the greatest player in franchise history, and one of the best athletes to ever play in Houston. He is not what he was, but he can still be a big factor for a good team. It's unlikely the Texans will be that next year.
5) This defense has been bad for a while. Maybe the best news in the coaching change will be a total revamp of the defensive coaching staff. Romeo Crennel's defenses have not been good for a long time, no matter who was actually calling plays. It's time for a new system and a new voice. That alone won't do it; there is a LOT of work to be done. They will have to raid free agency since they have no premier draft picks. But it's been a hard watch for a long time, and Sunday was no exception, especially on the last drive.
The bottom line: Thankfully, this disaster is over. The bigger concern is will the Texans make the right hires? Will the O'Brien stench take years to wash away? They wasted a really good Deshaun Watson season. It was a pathetic effort all the way around, and one with very few positives, especially since they will not get a high draft pick. All in all, it was just a lost season.