Critical lessons learned from Texans' frustrating results vs. Panthers


Sitting at 3-3, the Houston Texans headed to Carolina looking for their fourth win of the season as three point favorites against the winless Panthers.

Unfortunately for Houston, the team came up short, losing 15-13. Panthers QB Bryce Young outplayed CJ Stroud on Sunday, and the Texans running game was terrible once again. Which had many questioning the play calling from OC Bobby Slowik.

It's time to pivot

Slowik's unwillingness to get away from the running game, especially when it's not working, is causing some real concern. This offense needs to run through Stroud, and 24 pass attempts like we saw against Carolina isn't going to be enough.

It's also becoming clear that Tytus Howard needs to go back to playing tackle, and Houston needs to find a new answer at left guard.

Some other big lessons learned from the disappointing loss involves the passing game. Tank Dell and Dalton Schultz have to be able to produce in the same game. Schultz's increased production over the last few weeks seems to coincide with Tank Dell missing time from a concussion.

With Tank Dell back this week, Schultz only caught two passes for 5 yards. Penalties also hampered the Texans, especially a delay of game that knocked the Texans out of field goal range, leading to a punt.

Finally, the Texans offensive regression is starting to be more apparent. Houston only scored 3 points in the second half against the Saints, and the team went scoreless in the first and fourth quarters of the Panthers game.

On the bright side, Houston's defense is improving each week. We wondered if DeMeco Ryans had enough talent on defense to crack the Top 10. And as of right now, they've allowed the 6th fewest points per game at 18.3 points against per game.

Be sure to watch the video above as we react to the loss and look ahead to next week.

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How Texans' CJ Stroud got the last laugh on Panthers entire organization

When Bryce Young and CJ Stroud were drafted with the first two picks of the NFL Draft, we knew they would be compared to one another for years to come.

And here we are just 11 games into the season and one quarterback has already seen his head coach fired. Panthers owner David Tepper spoke to the media on Wednesday and discussed his decision to fire Frank Reich, and also set the record straight on how they arrived at the decision to draft Young.

In so many words, Tepper basically blamed the Texans for how the top of the draft played out. He mentioned Stroud by name and said the Panthers were ready to draft him at No. 2 overall until the Texans backed out of the three-team trade with the Bears.

Tepper made a point of saying everyone in their building had Bryce Young as the top player on their draft board, despite rumors about Frank Reich preferring Stroud.

CJ Stroud and the Texans have been so much better than Bryce Young and the Panthers that Tepper clearly felt it was necessary to defend himself, and the decisions he's made for the organization.

In the end, the person that gets the worst end of the deal is Bryce Young. Coaching changes can be very difficult on young quarterbacks. And it looks like he'll have to learn a new offense in his second year when the Panthers hire a new coaching staff.

How fortunate we are as Texans fans to have DeMeco Ryans and CJ Stroud leading the team moving forward.

With all of this in mind, is there a reason Texans fans haven't fully bought in to the new-look Texans? JJ Watt was a guest on The Pat McAfee Show this week and was asked about the team's inability to fill the stadium on Sundays.

As a former player for the Colts, McAfee always thought Houston had the loudest and best fans in the NFL. And while the Texans are 9th in attendance this year according to ESPN, even CJ Stroud has asked for the fans to fill the stadium.

So there is something to it. You can see the empty seats in photos. So why aren't the Texans packing NRG with a shiny new franchise QB?

We believe the recent history of the team is why fans are slowly coming back. McAfee wasn't here for:

Bill O'Brien cussing at fans during games

Trading DeAndre Hopkins away for next to nothing

The Jack Easterby disaster

Deshaun Watson allegedly blaming ownership for why he wanted out

The Deshaun Watson scandal

Firing back-to-back coaches after one season, and the list goes on.

Don't miss the video above for the full conversation!

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