COMING OUT ON TOP

The good, bad and ugly from the Texans' 31-21 win over Arizona

Jadeveon Clowney played like a superstar. Houston Texans

The Houston Texans’ up and down season continued with a 31-21 victory over the Arizona Cardinals at NRG Stadium. Now 4-6 on the season, the Texans aren’t completely out of the hunt for a playoff spot, but it’ll truly be an uphill battle.

The Good

-Bruce Ellington took advantage of the opportunity of more playing time in the absence of Will Fuller. He had 6 catches for 63 yards and some key third down conversions.

-DeAndre Hopkins leads the league in touchdown receptions with 9. While only twp have come from Tom Savage, they looked to have found some chemistry against the Cardinals.

-The run defense was stellar. They held the Cardinals to just 45 yards and a 2.8 per carry average. Benardrick McKinney amd Jadeveon Clowney both had 2 tackles for loss each. Their best play came on a 4th and 1 from Cardinals 34 yard line where they dropped Adrian Peterson for a loss.

-D’Onta Foreman got some consistent carries. He responded by going for 65 yards and 2 touchdowns on 10 carries.

The Bad

-No way Blaine Gabbert should have had a career day throwing 3 touchdown passes. The pass defense continues to disappoint as the coverage and pass rush just isn’t cutting the mustard.

-Savage’s ball security is alarming. He had another strip/sack/fumble today. Granted, it was due to a nickelback blitz coming against the awful right tackle Breno Giacomini, but he’s got to do better protecting the football.

-Kevin Johnson went out of the game and will be in concussion protocol. Johnson may not be a top notch cover guy, but he does an adequate job. His biggest contribution may be his hitting, which apparently may have caused his concussion. This is just another in a seemingly laundry list of injuries for the Texans this season.

The Ugly

-Giacomini’s pass blocking at right tackle has been abysmal. He’s a clear sign of what happens when you wait until late in free agency to address a deficiency and there’s nothing but two day old bread left in the bakery.

-Jonathan Joseph has seen his best days of being a reliable cover guy pass him by. He routinely has been getting beat lately. The worst play came against rookie tight end Ricky Seals-Jones. Seals-Jones had about an 8-10 yard cushion on a simple 11 yard out route touchdown catch. We’re talking about a rookie versus a respected veteran.

-Foreman had his breakout performance as a rookie, but his season may be over. On his second touchdown run, he went to the ground not too long after crossing the goal line. Looks like it may be an ankle or lower leg injury. Any time the cart is brought out, it typically means trouble.

On the day the Texans induct Andre Johnson into the Ring of Honor, they also managed to keep their season alive. Getting contributions from guys like Ellington, Foreman, as well as usual suspects Clowney, McKinney, and Hopkins, this was a good win against a beatable opponent at home in front of a crowd that may have come mainly for the halftime festivities. The season may be on life support, and the pastor is still at the hospital to pray with the family expecting the worst, but there’s a glimmer of hope.

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Paying a kicker 17 million dollars? Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Head coach/general manager Bill O'Brien engineered questionable moves during the off-season that already have come back to bite the Texans in the butt. Fans have yet to see the Texans on the right track, at least on television for now. Here are the top three, or bottom three, contracts that have Houston raising eyebrows, shrugging shoulders, and shaking heads.

Randall Cobb: 3 years, $27 million

The 30-year-old wide receiver has been quiet so far this 0-2 season with seven catches for 82 yards. New offensive coordinator Tim Kelly is favoring "12 and 21" schemes which render Cobb the third option behind Will Fuller and Brandin Cooks. This could change now with Fuller nursing a hamstring injury sustained against the Ravens. To be fair, with no preseason games or extended practice, Cobb has not had time to build chemistry with quarterback Deshaun Watson. So let's mark him, "bad contract," but jury still deliberating.

David Johnson: 3 years, $39 million

Johnson has carried the ball 22 times for 111 yards. Normally, these would be acceptable, even commendable stats. However, Johnson carries the burden of being involved in the trade that sent DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona. BTW, Hopkins in tearing it up in Arizona with 22 receptions for 219 yards. Also, more evidence condemning Johnson's contract, the Texans could have made a run at Leonard Fournette (17 carries for 108 yards) or Adrian Peterson (21 carries for 134 yards), both chewing up more turf for less money.

Whitney Mercilus: 4 years, $54 million

Here's another 30-year-old who was being paid big and producing little. He was MIA against the Ravens with no tackles and no sacks, despite being on the field for 70 percent of the Ravens snaps. Mercilus was able to squeeze the Texans for huge money last year when he picked up the workload of injured J.J. Watt.


Honorable Mention

Ka'imi Fairbairn: 4 years, $17,650,000

Fairbairn is the third highest-paid kicker in the NFL. Fairbairn had a rough start against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 1, missing an extra point and a deep 51-yard field goal attempt. Meanwhile, up in Dallas, Greg 'The Leg' Zuerlein is being paid half of what Fairbairn makes, but knocking them down from the logo, including a last-second, game-winning field goal to beat the Falcons. Former Texans kicker Randy Bullock is enjoying greater success in Cincinnati for considerably fewer dollars, too. Fun fact: Fairbairn is paid more than most Texans secondary defenders.


But really, the worst, and most regrettable Texans contract of all might be Bill O'Brien's deal- 4 years, $20 million.

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