FRED FAOUR

5 reasons the Texans lost to the Tennessee Titans

Deshaun Watson was up and down. Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Texans dropped to 0-2 with a 20-17 road loss against a Tennessee Titans team missing its quarterback, stud left tackle and tight end and led by a first-year coach. A division road loss on top of that. The Texans got in a hole early by giving up a free touchdown on a fake punt where they were completely caught off guard. They battled back to take a 17-14 lead, but the defense gave way late - much like last season's 4-12 disaster - and the Texans find themselves in a tough position. So why did they lose this one?

1) Being unprepared

After the quick touchdown on the fake punt, the Titans put together a nice drive and some missed tackles led to a second touchdown and a 14-0 lead on two possessions. The Texans simply looked like they had no idea what the Titans were going to do. That is on coaching and game planning. They adjusted, but the big hole left little margin for error, and they had more errors...

2) Up and down Watson

Deshaun Watson got off to a very slow start. He also nearly fumbled another ball. He also cost the team points with an ill-advised interception in the end zone. He also made a terrible decision on the last play with ball to the middle of the field that left the team with no time. When he was good, however, he showed flashes of last year's Watson, completely 22 of 32 for 310 yards, two TDs and he also rushed for another 44 yards on 5 carries. 

3) Flag day

Costly penalties hit the Texans at every turn. They had 11 for 88 yards, many costing them on big plays. It was sloppy, awful football at the wrong times. 

4) Not an elite defense

The Texans defensive numbers look good on paper, and they were terrific in the third quarter. But they gave up two drives late to lose the lead and did not force a turnover. If the Texans are going to win, they need some playmaking from the defense. They did not get it, even against a below average quarterback in Blaine Gabbert. It proved costly.

5) Special teams woes - again

Remember all those things the Texans did to improve the special teams? Besides the botched punt coverage, they missed a 54-yard field goal, which led them to pass on another one late in the game that could have at least forced overtime. That's minus-9 points on special teams. 

There were some positives - the Texans had more yards, first downs and averaged two more yards per play than the Titans. They ran the ball very well, with 148 yards, averaging 5.7 per carry. Those are numbers that will win most football games. 

But not when you do the five things listed above. And that's how you wind up 0-2.

 

 

 

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RAVENS 33, TEXANS 16

5 observations from the Ravens win over the Texans

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Let's be honest; the Texans were not going to beat the Ravens. Baltimore has better players, a better quarterback and a better coaching staff. (And oh, a better kicker). All of that was on display in the Ravens' 33-16 win.

The Ravens move to 2-0, while the Texans dropped to 0-2 after facing the AFC's two best teams.

The Texans will still likely contend for a playoff spot, but nothing the last two weeks indicates they are anywhere near contending in the AFC. A look at five things from the Ravens win:

1) Oh, Brien...It did not take long for Bill O'Brien's goofy coaching to rear its ugly head. Down 3-0 at their own 34 as the first quarter was running out, O'Brien chose to go for it on fourth and one. The play was predictably blown up, the Ravens quickly scored to make it 10-0, and the Texans were instantly in a hole against a superior opponent. You can't give points away against the Ravens. They might have scored anyway with a punt, but there was no stopping them with a short field.

2) Some positives on defense. Despite the score, The Texans looked much better on that side of the ball against an explosive offense. J.J. Watt had two sacks, the team had four total, and they kept Lamar Jackson from destroying them. Seven of the points were scored by the Ravens defense, and O'Brien's gaffe led to seven more. The Ravens wore them down in the fourth quarter, but they played well enough until then to keep the team in the game had the offense been better. They did not force any turnovers, however, and that was one of the differences in the game. They were also blown off the ball on a fourth and one in the fourth quarter that led to the Ravens' 30th points and could not stop the run at all in the fourth quarter. But that's what the Ravens do with a lead, and the Texans offense gave them no breaks by being unable to stay on the field.

3) The difference between real contenders...The Ravens were just so much more skilled on both sides of the ball. Defensively, they focused on taking away the run. David Johnson averaged 3.1 yards per carry. Will Fuller had as many catches as you did. The Ravens forced two turnovers on just really good football plays. The Texans don't make plays like that. They might against lesser teams, but if your goal is to compete with the best, it's just not good enough.

4) Deshaun Watson needs to be better. His numbers looked so so on the surface (25 of 36, 275 yards, 1 TD, 1 interception). He was sacked four times and added 17 rushing yards on five carries. He did not make plays late when they needed one here or there to maybe get back in the game. With his big contract, it's time for Watson to stop being close to elite and take the next step. His interception was more of being fooled by Marcus Peters than throwing a bad ball, but the Texans were just 3 of 9 on third downs. Throw in the ill-advised fourth down play, and they were just 3 of 10 extending drives. Give the Ravens a lot of credit, but again, to compete with the best, you have to be better than that.

5) Now what? The Texans travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers, who have not been impressive in their two wins. Still, it's hard to see Houston as anything but serious underdogs. They are last in the AFC South, and have a lot of work to do. The defense showed some promise at times, but will have to continue to improve. The offense has a long way to go. They match up better with the Steelers than they do the Ravens and Chiefs, but that does not mean they can win. If you were hoping they would give you some indication they can be more than just also-rans, they failed to do that on any level against either the Chiefs or Ravens.

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