TEXANS OBSERVATIONS

The good, bad and ugly from the Texans 20-13 win over Buffalo

Jonathan Joseph had the game-winning pick 6. Zach Tarrant/Houstontexans.com

The Texans like things the hard way. I’m talking about making three lefts instead of making one right hard. I’m talking trying to assemble anything from Ikea without instructions in the dark after taking six shots hard. The 20-13 win over the Bills was about as dirty as a win could feel. Here’s how I saw things:

The Good

-JJ Watt got his seventh sack of the season today. He’s rounding into form. However, my concern is that these sacks are coming against subpar offensive lineman.

-Alfred Blue has been the team’s most consistent runner outside Deshaun Watson. He averaged 4.5 yards a carry today on only six carries. His decisiveness, vision, power, and pass blocking makes me wonder why he hasn’t gotten more playing time.

-Jonathan Joseph picked off Nathan Peterman and took it to the house to put the Texans up 20-13 with 1:23 left in the game. The old man showed it’s all about the preparation. He read the comeback route and knew Peterman was going to it. That was a pick six from the moment I saw him break on the ball.

The Bad

-Negative plays in scoring range continue to plague this team. Early in the second quarter saw DeAndre Hopkins (yes, you read that right) throw incomplete on first down, Lamar Miller lose five yards on a second down run, then Hopkins gain 12 on 3rd & 15 and settling for a field goal. Bill O’Brien’s play calling may not be the best, but neither is the team’s execution.

-Speaking of O’Brien, he chose not to use any of the three timeouts after the Bills got a turnover with 39 seconds before the half. What made the decision even more baffling was LeSean McCoy losing five yards on first down. That could’ve gotten the Texans an extra possession before the half. Maybe that’s not his job and I’m assuming it is.

-Shareece Wright got beat badly on a 16-yard touchdown by Zay Jones to put the Bills up 13-10 early in the fourth quarter. It was a double move that Wright bit on and made Jones/Peterman look like an All Pro receiver/quarterback combo. It’s the kind of play that highlights the depth woes at corner.   

The Ugly

-Jadeveon Clowney tackled Chris Ivory by one of his dreadlocks and it came out! I was nervous about it being called a horse collar penalty. The sheer pain of being pulled down by your hair and having it come out makes my skin crawl. And this is coming from a bald guy.

-Watson looked really timid in the pocket today. Sure his protection is not the best, but he was indecisive and got himself hit several times. He was also sacked seven times for 35 lost yards. Some of those sacks were the line’s fault, but a handful was his fault. He should have run with the ball a few times, but decided to look for the big play down the field instead.

-One of Watson’s picks came when they were in scoring range, up 10-0 right before halftime. He scrambled outside the pocket after breaking away from a sack and launched a ball into the end zone where the safety was waiting on it like a fair catch punt. Had he simply thrown the ball away or run then slid, the score could’ve been 13-0 heading into the half and the momentum would have shifted more in their favor. Instead, it gave the Bills hope.

Watson continues to get hit. The run game hasn’t looked the same for the third game in a row. Cornerback depth, as well as offensive line play, will be an Achilles heel for this team until next season. Despite all of this, the team is on a three game win streak and find themselves possibly back in the playoff hunt. With the Jags banged up and the Titans not proving to be anything special, the division isn’t out of reach. But the way this team has played, I wouldn’t get my hopes up just yet.

 

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