How the Texans have experienced an offensive surge in recent weeks
Overlooked between Romeo Crennel's failed two-point conversion and their atrocious defense, the Houston Texans have experienced an offensive surge over the last two games.
For the first time this season — and the first since Week 6 of 2019 — the Texans have scored 30 or more points in back-to-back games. The 36 points obtained during their loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday was Houston's highest point total since last October, when the Texans erupted for 52 in a win over the Atlanta Falcons.
The solution to unlocking the Texans' full potential on offense has been the result of offensive coordinator Tim Kelly trusting his quarterback. In a heroic effort against the Titans, Deshaun Watson had one of the finest performances of his young career. He completed 75.7 percent of his passes for 335 yards, to go along with four touchdowns in a losing effort.
Since the firing of Bill O'Brien on October 12, Watson has looked more comfortable running Houston's revamped offense. It appears that he has increased his audible calls over the two-week period, which has allowed him to showcase the versatility of Houston's offense.
The results have concluded in the Texans averaging 33.0 points while putting up 449.0 yards over the last two games. In the four games before Houston's recent surge, the Texans averaged 20.0 points and 327.0 total yards per game.
"If we could score 100 points — I would," Watson said following the loss on Sunday. "We always want to score touchdowns when we touch the ball. That's our idea, regardless of the situation of the game. My idea is to get points on the board every drive. And if we don't have that mentality, then we're doing something wrong."
This. This is good. Real good. 📺: CBS 📱: https://t.co/Nm64mQkAPf https://t.co/LUp8LgFua5— Houston Texans (@Houston Texans) 1603049831.0
Over the last two weeks, Watson has witnessed a near 30 point increase in his QBR (85.1). His return to elite status stems from Watson's improved chemistry with his reconstructed receiving corps since the loss of DeAndre Hopkins.
Brandin Cooks has seen an increase in his on-field production since the significant shake-up at the helm. After he failed to record a catch against the Vikings, Cooks has averaged 114.5 yards on 17 catches over the last two games. Against the Jaguars, he became the only receiver other than Will Fuller to register over 100 reception yards on the season. And Fuller notched a season-high 123 yards on six catches in the loss against the Titans.
Darren Fells — who is filling in for the injured Jordan Akins — has also seen an increase in his on-field performance. Over the last two games, the 6-foot-8 tight end as registered 142 yards on eight receptions, to go along with two touchdowns.
"It says that we have guys who can make plays and that our quarterback sees that he has weapons around he can utilize," interim head coach Romeo Crennel said. "He's taking advantage of what the defense gives him and throwing to the open guy. I think it's a good sign that the offense is making good progress. Hopefully, we can continue to build on that."
For the Texans to salvage their season, they will have to do so heavily relying upon their recent surge on offense — but only in the passing game.
Entering Week 7 of the season against the Packers, the Texans have possessed the worst defense in the NFL. They are currently ranked 31st for allowing the second-most total yards on defense (2,538), while given up a league-worst 1,065 yards on the ground.
"I wouldn't say we were different — we just had more opportunities to take the shot. We took advantage of getting third and short and capitalizing...we had the opportunity to take shots, and we did that. It wasn't anything different out there. We just continue to build on that." — Watson.
Coty M. Davis is a reporter for ESPN 97.5 Houston/SportsMap covering the Houston Texans. He is also the co-host of Locked On Texans, a part of the Locked On Podcast Network. Follow Coty on Twitter @CotyDavis_24.