GOING DEEP

How the Texans have experienced an offensive surge in recent weeks

The offense is finally rounding into form. Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images.

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."

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.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Jeremy Pena could have some big shoes to fill. Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images.

MLB and the MLBPA are embroiled in yet another labor dispute. The owners and players have both dug in their heels and refuse to budge. No end is in site for the lockout as Spring Training is drawing more and more near each passing day. So what does that mean for our 2022 Astros' season?

One sigh of relief came when Justin Verlander signed his new deal. Two years for $50 million dollars isn't bad at all. Factor in he's closer to my age than my son (coming off Tommy John surgery), and some may worry. Not me. He's the closest thing to Tom Brady MLB has seen since Nolan Ryan. Jim Crane and James Click did a great job bringing him back. His spot as the ace with the rest of the staff they have should help shore up the bullpen if one or two starters can make that transition. I know I said I didn't want him back a few months ago, but time has passed, and wounds have been healed.

When it comes to Carlos Correa, I'm growing more and more comfortable with the thought that he may not be back. I talked about his potential replacement months ago. Maybe the reason being is that the club loves Jeremy Peña at that same position, and Pedro Leon could also factor in. Plus, Peña is tearing the cover off the ball in the winter leagues.

At 24 years old, turning 25 in September, he'll be under team control for the foreseeable future. That truly depends on the new labor agreement. So does Correa's new contract. His contract will be largely based on the parameters set in the new labor agreement, since he didn't sign before the lockout took place. And now we know that contact will be negotiated by Correa's new agent, Scott Boras.

I'm all for the doom and gloom when it comes to an MLB labor issue because they've historically screwed over fans. The most notable and egregious was the '94 World Series being canceled. However, there's way too much money at stake right now. More money than ever to be exact. That said, it's precisely why there's a dispute. That, and the fact that the owners have always gotten over on fans and players, and the players are poised to get their just due.

When the season starts, the Astros should be contenders yet again. Don't look for them to come out the gate firing on all cylinders as this team may look a bit different. Guys may not be fully ready after a lockout and there will be some roster turnover. The bulk of the core will be here, ready, and healthy. Whether Correa is a part of that group remains to be seen. Am I concerned? Hell no! This team has enough to fill that void at least partially and will have either guy under team control for a while. Think about this upcoming season as the time you fixed up your older car. New tires, headlights restored, rims polished, inside made over, and a fresh coat of paint after the transmission rebuild. It still has over 150,000 miles on it, but you wouldn't trade it in for anything because it still runs well and has sentimental value. You know one day it'll give out and need to be put out to pasture, but you're holding on and riding until the wheels fall off. Enjoy Astro fans, because the ride will be over one day. Hopefully much later than sooner.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome