Another loss

The good, bad and ugly from the Texans' 45-7 loss to the Jaguars

DeAndre Hopkins was once again one of the lone bright spots. Houstontexans.com

Quarterback T.J. Yates’ first start didn’t go as well as he hoped as the Texans fell to the Jacksonville Jaguars 45-7. Another week, another poor performance by the Texans. They went down like Mike Tyson hit them with one of his famous uppercuts.

The Good

-It took DeAndre Hopkins about two and a half quarters to really get going, but he beat Jags cornerback Jalen Ramsey on two good plays. The first was a 40-yard go route on a third and 11. The second was a similar go route for a 25-yard touchdown.

-Benardrick McKinney showed that no-quit attitude on a hustle play. Jags receiver Keelan Cole broke away from the defense on a 73-yard catch and run. McKinney hustled down field to prevent it from being a 74-yard touchdown. The fact that McKinney chased him down shows that it means more to him to make that play as opposed to feeling sorry for himself and his team. No “business decision” made here.

-Will Fuller had five catches on five targets for 44 yards. I find this fascinating since he was labeled (and rightfully so) a guy that drops too many passes, as well as being only a deep threat. He ran good routes and made every catch. His best route/catch combo came on a third down conversion on a nice out route in which his crisp cut created not only separation, but a throwing lane for Yates as well.

The Bad

-While the team only gave up four sacks, all three sacks came on third downs and ended possessions. Those three possessions that ended in sacks also came in the dreadful first half in which the Jags jumped out to a 31-0 lead.  

-One of the plays you learn not to make is a costly mistake before halftime. Especially when it gives the team with a sizable lead another shot at putting points on the board. That’s exactly what Yates did by throwing an interception 42 seconds left before halftime. He floated a ball out to Hopkins that Jags safety Barry Church picked off at the Texans’ 45 yard line.

- Offensive lineman Jeff Allen was penalized three more times today. His play has been downright awful. Contrary to what may be popular opinion, he’s not even the team leader in penalties. He has eight, while Jadeveon Clowney leads the team with 11.

The Ugly

-Speaking of penalties, the Texans as a team were penalized 13 times for a total of 122 yards. It’s bad enough when your offense can’t move the ball, but when you give up over 100 yards in penalties, that’ll make any difficulties even more insurmountable.

- Jags fullback Tommy Bohanon scored two touchdowns on a couple 1-yard fullback dive plays. Whenever the opposing team’s fullback scores twice, that’s a clear sign your defense has allowed their offense to deeply penetrate your turf.  

-The pass defense was absolutely shredded by Blake freaking Bortles (21 of 29, 326 yards and three touchdowns) and a couple of undrafted wide receivers! Craig Shelton and I were thinking the same thing earlier, but he actually tweeted it out. Keelan Cole and Jaydon Mickens combined for 11 catches, 247 yards, and all three of Bortles’ touchdowns. Mickens actually slept in his car as a member of the practice squad because he couldn’t afford a place to stay!

Texans defense couldn’t cover the head of a nail with a blanket today. They were playing some man coverage and consistently got beat on crossing routes because their cover guys lack speed and man cover skills. When they resorted to playing more zone looks, they were still getting beat because they can’t generate enough of a pass rush…and their defensive backs can’t cover! Kevin Johnson got penalized and abused yet again today, while the All-Pro who was more than likely not on their draft board that year had two interceptions and a forced fumble last night for the Kansas City Chiefs. There’s nothing great about losing to look forward to since they don’t own their 1st or 2nd rounders in the upcoming draft, so the rebuild will take longer than most will think. Here’s to hoping Rick Smith finds a magic personnel genie to help him make moves this offseason, or I could see another subpar year coming next year.

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ROCKETS BEAT THUNDER

Rockets blast Thunder in home opener, 124-91

Rockets take care of business in home opener. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets had an impressive outing versus the Oklahoma City Thunder after an embarrassing loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night. They took care of business at home on Friday night, which was a surprising blowout. The Rockets didn't have to worry about Karl-Anthony Towns screaming at Alperen Sengun or Anthony Edwards telling Coach Silas to call a timeout. Instead, they took their frustrations out on the Thunder (another younger core).

"We responded and bounced back from that game 1," Silas said. "I wouldn't say it was taking anything out. It was just learning and applying to what you learn and that's going to be us this year. Applying to what you learn and getting better and having some games like we had the other day. Veteran teams have some games when they don't play as well they want."

Christian Wood led the way, as he controlled the paint on all aspects with rebounding and putbacks. He played an incredible game after having a poor performance versus the Timberwolves. Silas showed complete trust in allowing Wood to open sets, as he walked the ball down the court several times, and in transition too. Wood became aggressive on the perimeter with open shooting and tough shots, and long strides towards the rim. He finished the night with 31 points and 13 rebounds off 66 percent shooting from the field.

The young core for the Thunder had a tough night defending Wood from every aspect. Hopefully, he keeps this play up. Silas loved the space that was created throughout the game for Wood, which included the help from Eric Gordon, as he continued to play better. Wood continues to develop underneath the Silas umbrella. He had a great feel for off-the-dribble shooting a few times. Wood becomes more dangerous when space is created on the court.

"It allows me to show what I can do. It allows the floor to be open and I can create for other guys and create for myself," Wood said.

As Gordon continues to impress, his teammate Kevin Porter Jr was amazed with his performance.

Gordon looked marvelous inside and outside of the paint, as it looked like a time ripple. The younger guards of the Thunder had a tough time staying in front of Gordon. His size and strength gave the Thunder a huge problem. Gordon is shooting the ball better too, as he is shooting the three-ball at 70 percent this season. Although it's a small sample size, Gordon is trying to overcome his shooting struggles from last year. Gordon finished with 22 points on 66 percent shooting versus the Thunder.

"EG is the biggest part of this squad," Porter said. He comes in and just scores. We need somebody off the bench to do that. He is our guy when me and J come out, it's EG time and he knows that, and comes in aggressive. So much energy on the bench, and we need that every night from him if we want a chance to win."

As I recently mentioned Porter, his facilitation did look better versus the Thunder than the Timberwolves. Porter had nine turnovers in his first game but managed to have two Friday night. He made great slip passes and found open teammates in the open corner. Porter forced a good number of passes versus the Timberwolves but looked more relaxed Friday night. The hardest position in the NBA is the point guard position, but Silas will not allow Porter to fail. Instead of nine turnovers, Porter dished out nine assists. Silas said:

"Bounce back right, going from nine turnovers to nine assists… I think he had two turnovers tonight, which is great. He is making plays for his teammates, and he was really focused."

Porter's shiftiness and creative ability allowed his teammates to get open looks near the rim. He had 18 points because of his step-back threes and first step going towards the basket. Thankfully, Porter is a great ball handler, which confuses defenders on different spots on the court. It's almost like watching a ballerina skate on ice in the Olympics. Hopefully, his confidence continues to get better throughout the year. Porter shot the three-ball at 50 percent tonight. Efficiency is key for Porter this year.

"I'm just trying to let the game slow down," Porter said. "I had a lot of turnovers last game and I just wanted to piggyback and learn from them and learn from some of my forced passes and reads. And sometimes I still force it a little bit. My guys hate that, and sometimes I'm still passive and I'm working on that. When to pass and score and bounce it out, and tonight I felt like I did a good job of that."

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