TEXANS OBSERVATIONS

The good, bad and ugly from Sunday's game against the Rams

Jadeveon Clowney had his moments in the first half. Houstontexans.com

Another week without Deshaun Watson, another game scoring less than 30 points. The Texans fell to the Los Angeles Rams 33-7 in what was a competitive game for most of the first half. Tom Savage picked a bad game to have a turnover party, and the defense could no longer keep the high-powered Rams offense out of the end zone.

The Good

-Good to see C.J. Fiedorowicz return from a concussion. His presence should help Savage the rest of the season, as well as aid in run blocking.

-DeAndre Hopkins had another good game. He had 7 catches on 14 targets for 111 yards. He’s now at 51 catches on 94 targets for 692 yards and 8 touchdowns on the season.

-Jadeveon Clowney blew several plays up in the backfield (mostly runs). He had 3 tackles for loss, a quarterback hit, and a sack.

-Brennan Scarlett had 2 sacks and 3 tackles for loss himself. In a season in which 2 of the top 3 pass rushers are out for the season, the time is now for guys like Scarlett to step up to the plate.

The Bad

-Aaron Donald started the game off on Texans’ first possession with a strip/sack/fumble of Savage. Rams recovered at the Texans’ 11 yard line. It was a sign of things to come.

-While Clowney had a good game, all of his most effective plays came in the first half. He’s been known to flash his brilliance from time to time, but in order to take the next step, he must learn to take over games from beginning to end, especially with favorable matchups.

-The run game was abysmal yet again. 25 total rushes for a measly 89 yards. While it showed flashes (Miller’s 21 yard scamper after stopping a fake punt attempt), it never provided the success other teams have had against the Rams.

The Ugly

-A timeout was wasted early in 2nd quarter on field goal attempt because they only had 10 players on the field. It would’ve made a 34 yard attempt a 39 yard attempt. Ka’imi Fairbairn missed anyway. He also missed a 39 yarder last week. Looks like he may have the yips after starting the season perfect.

-Savage ended the game with 4 turnovers: 2 lost fumbles and 2 interceptions. The first 3 turnovers, led to 13 points for the Rams; the last ended the game.

-3 sacks, 8 quarterback hits and 3.6 yards per carry are all on the offensive line. Sure a quarterback’s pocket presence or running back’s vision is also responsible for those numbers, but my eyes saw different. Bill O’Brien called for a ton of 3 steps drops in pass game today. Several times on those drops, Savage had someone in his grill. Also, run lanes either closed before they were run through, or they never opened in the first place.

At 3-6, the Texans have very long road ahead in the final 7 games. They have no 1st or 2nd round draft picks to fall back on for improvement, or tanking purposes. The only thing left to play for is pride. Pride in one’s self, organization, teammates, city, and fans. At some point pride has to spur them on to bigger and better things, right?

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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