GIANTS 27, TEXANS 22

Another bad loss for the Texans in the home opener

J.J. Watt had a big game. Zach Tarrant/Houstontexans.com

Once again, the Texans dropped a game they could have won and are now 0-3 on the season. This time it was the New York Giants beating them 27-22 in NRG Stadium. The story of the game was the continuing lack of first half offense and a high number of penalties. Today’s total was 7 penalties for 50 yards. Four of those were false starts by the offensive line. The score at halftime was 20-6 in favor of the Giants and Houston managed only 160 total yards of offense at the break.

Defensively the Texans struggled to get off the field. The Giants scored points on their first four drives of the game putting the Texans in a hole they couldn’t climb out of. Saquon Barkley led the way on the ground with 82 yards and a touchdown on the way to a huge time of possession difference. The Giants held the ball for over 35 minutes while Houston had it for only about 24.

Things turned around in the second half. The defense was able to apply more pressure up front and forced New York into four consecutive punts. J.J. Watt looked more like the player we were hoping he would be, getting three sacks (one was a strip of Eli Manning) and making another huge tackle for loss. He finished the day with eight tackles and was a disruptive force.

The Texans secondary was once again vulnerable. Manning finished the day 25 of 29 for 297 yards, 2 touchdowns and a 132.3 quarterback rating. Offensively they added another 115 yards on the ground for a total output of 380 yards. The Giants played most of the game with a huge lead and it never looked close.

While Deshaun Watson finally got the offense moving in the second half with 249 passing yards and 2 touchdowns; it was a crucial interception he threw in the third quarter that halted a promising drive deep in Giants territory. That was Houston’s second drive to end on a turnover as a Lamar Miller fumble ended the previous one just outside the red zone. It was those lost opportunities to score that kept the Texans from having any chance to come back in this one.

Ka’imi Fairbairn was 3 for 3 with a long of 54 yards today, which gave Houston its early points. And once again Will Fuller proved he and Watson have a great connection as he hauled in another touchdown among his 5 receptions for 101 yards, getting the score within 5 points, 20-15. The Giants came right back and made it 27-15 on a pass to Sterling Shepard. The scoring ended with a short Watson pass to Lamar Miller getting the Texans to 22 points, but the Giants were able to run the clock out and end the game.

 

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Another tough loss for the Texans. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans started fast but faltered late as the New York Jets hand Houston their ninth loss of the season 21-14. Here are 11 observations from the game.

1. Starting safety Justin Reid was benched for the game. David Culley said after the game it was his decision as head coach and he would keep the matter internal with Reid.

2. This is the third defender benched for disciplinary reasons this season. Reid joins Zach Cunningham and Desmond King as players who missed time for discipline.

3. Justin Reid told Fox 26 he was benched because he had a disagreement with the coaching staff. He also said he was shocked the Texans benched him. You have to wonder if the “culture” the team is building is right when one of the more likable and personable players falls victim to their rules. Reid, who is a free agent this offseason, could leave the Texans.

4. Tyrod Taylor had a couple of nice plays early on for the Texans. His willingness to take some shots downfield was refreshing and led to a touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks.

5. Rookie tight end Brevin Jordan found the end zone. He has played well in recent weeks after finally getting on the field. Jordan is playing over Jordan Akins as Akins was a healthy scratch again this week.

6. Tytus Howard started at left tackle with mixed results. Howard has struggled to find his way at guard but could be a long-term option at tackle if given the chance.

7. The offensive line overall played poorly after some early success. The pass rush of the Jets got going and the run blocking was poor again. Lane Taylor played at left guard some, with Max Scharping also playing some at that spot.

8. The offense was horrendous after the two scoring drives. The Texans amassed 202 net yards with 91 yards coming on those two scoring drives. Houston gained just 49 net yards after their opening three drives.

9. After the game, I asked David Culley if he would be making a change with his play-caller. Culley stood behind offensive coordinator Tim Kelly and said he would remain the team’s play-caller.

10. Second-year defensive lineman Ross Blacklock had two horrible errors that handed the Jets a chance to turn three points into seven points. Blacklock got a personal foul on a field goal attempt giving the Jets a first down. The very next play his offsides penalty erased a sack. Each week Blacklock falls even more behind a bevy of players drafted after him who contribute positively on a regular basis.

11. The loss to another bottom-dweller has the Texans back in the second spot in the 2022 NFL Draft order. It also feels like the deflating nature of this loss erased some of the good feelings after the victory over the Titans. The Indianapolis Colts come to Houston next week to begin December’s portion of the schedule.

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