Jermaine Every's observations

The good, bad and ugly from the Texans win over the Dolphins

Deshaun Watson had his best game of the season. Tim Warner/Getty Images

Prime time games are a showcase. The Texans have laid some eggs in them in the past. This game was different. They smacked the Dolphins around 42-23 en route to their fifth straight victory. Here’s what I observed:

The Good

-The offense went 4/4 in the red zone and all were touchdowns. Two of those touchdowns were Deshaun Watson throwing to rookie tight end Jordan Thomas. The “red area,” as Bill O’Brien has called it in the past, has been an area of allergic reaction to this team. They took their medicine today because there was no itchiness, red eyes, swelling or puffiness in the “red area.”

-The run game looked great against a team that has given up 10,000 yards rushing in last few weeks. Miller had 133 yards and a touchdown, including a 58 yard run on the second play of the third quarter. Greg Mancz playing right guard for Zach Fulton has played exceptional. Offensive linemen don’t always get the praise they deserve. Without them, NOTHING goes right!

- Watson threw five touchdown passes this game. He went 16/20 for 239 yards, NO sacks and NO interceptions! The touchdown pass he threw to DeAndre Hopkins came on a misdirection play action pass. Maybe O’Brien and Watson have recaptured their juju from last season.

The Bad

-The Dolphins were able to run at J.J. Watt’s side effectively. This is becoming a common theme for Texan opponents. Troy Aikman made the comment during the broadcast, but this is something some have known for a while. He sets up and rushes way too wide which creates a lane.

-Whitney Mercilus continues to show up…on milk cartons. At one point in the third quarter, his only stat was a quarterback hit. He ended up posting an assist on a tackle to add to his QB hit. I’m convinced I can wear his jersey and be more productive. I’ll need a tan and add about 20 pounds, but should be just as productive.

-Devante Parker torched the Texans’ secondary for six catches and 134 yards. This type of production came from a guy who has only been active in three games this year and was the subject of trade rumors!

The Ugly

-The refs made an appearance, which is never good. Dolphins got their first score on a phantom contact to the head penalty. It took a field goal off the board, moved the ball to the 12 yard line, and allowed a slight momentum shift. Did I mention the back to back penalties on both teams following opening kickoff and re-kick, or the penalty before the half that caused the teams to come back to the field to run another play?

-Jonathan Joseph went down with a leg injury after Jadeveon Clowney’s leg whipped into his. Zach Cunninham also limped off with a knee injury. Depth is becoming an issue for this team midway through the season.

-The defense gave up 125 yards rushing on 25 carries for 4.6 yards per carry average. Good thing the offense didn’t turn the ball over or else this number would have looked worse. A division-leading team expected to make the playoffs cannot give up 4.6 yards per carry and expect to make a run in the playoffs.

5-3, leading the AFC South, and riding a five game win streak sounds good. But this team needs to keep improving upon their weaknesses and relying on their strengths if they expect to be taken seriously. This was their first dominant win of the season, and there were still some areas in which to be concerned. They can take a page from another local team and choose to #NeverSettle if they want to make a run.


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Texans fall to Browns. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans kept it closer than the experts thought they would, but couldn't pull out a victory. Here are 11 observations from the loss in Cleveland to the Browns.

1. The game looks totally different if Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor finishes the game. Taylor left at halftime with a hamstring injury. He was playing exceptionally well against his former team. Taylor is not expected to play Thursday according to NFL Network.

2. Davis Mills had a rocky NFL debut which was to be expected. Mills looked to have the wrong elements of a few plays. He also couldn't hit backup wideout Andre Roberts over the middle and threw an interception. It was a fine performance considering what Mills showed he could do in the preseason.

3. Mills didn't work with a full load of offensive weapons in the second half. Rookie wideout Nico Collins didn't return to the game after his lone catch and big run early in the game. Veteran slot receiver Danny Amendola left the game with an injury. Tight end Anthony Auclair left with an eye injury. The Texans entered the game without wide receiver Anthony Miller who was inactive.

4. Brandin Cooks is a monster through two games. He is the most dangerous skill position player on the team, and defenses still have trouble covering him and staying with him. Cooks turned in yet another impressive day for this team and hauled in a Davis Mills touchdown pass.

5. The Browns did a solid job against the ground game of the Texans. Mark Ingram averaged under three yards per carry and Tyrod Taylor was the only rusher to have a big play on the ground. This led to a fair number of third-and-long situations which the Texans usually had trouble converting.

6. Justin Reid was set to increase his payday on his next contract with his early play. Reid forced a fumble and had an interception in the first half. Unfortunately, Reid would leave the game multiple times with injuries. The knock on Reid has always been his health.

7. The Texans were worn down by the Browns rushing attack all day. Once Cleveland committed to the run they saw the success of their work culminating in a 26-yard scamper by Nick Chubb for a touchdown. The Browns didn't run as much as I excepted them to run early.

8. Tim Kelly had another nice day calling plays. Kelly remains creative in finding ways to get the ball out of Taylor's hands quickly as well as manufacturing matchups where the Texans can win and pick up yards. He even got creative to get Davis Mills a passing touchdown late in the game. Kelly has been very impressive through two games.

9. Andre Roberts was inexcusably bad today. The Texans defense held on the opening drive and his muffed punt eliminated the momentum from the defensive stand. He also had poor returns on kickoffs. His lone job is to be a solid returner, and he failed at that on Sunday.

10. David Culley had a head-scratching decision foregoing an offsides call on a third down. The head coach opted for the result of the third down, and a punt on fourth down, instead of another third down. He did not explain himself well postgame on the decision either.

11. The Texans hung tough and should feel solid about where they could have been without the injury to their quarterback. With no Taylor in the short week, it will not be easy to beat the Panthers who upset the Saints on Sunday.

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