The passing game was stifled and the running game has struggled
Offense sputtering on multiple levels for Texans
3 Headlines, 2 Questions, and 1 Bet as the Falcons are next up for the 2-2 Texans.
"He cares deeply about trying to help us win"
Deshaun Watson took this loss to heart and is already making corrections. Hours after the game, he remains at NRG Stadium working with quarterbacks coach Quincy Avery pic.twitter.com/uBR86SKgJ0— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) September 29, 2019
Bill O'Brien offered little on his quarterback staying late and working after the loss to the Panthers. Watson had one of his more inconsistent games as a pro and as you will see below he took a lot of the blame.
Crash course in Carolina defense
Deshaun Watson explains Carolina's defense in 66 seconds. pic.twitter.com/8Fn4OAKHk3— Rivers McCown (@riversmccown) September 29, 2019
You can hear Deshaun Watson's annoyance at the futility the offense exhibited. The quarterback and the rest of the offense clearly knew what the Panthers approach was and yet, couldn't beat it. Watson mentions the two throws he missed that would have certainly been the biggest plays of the day.
O'Brien said after the game they called bad plays. The Panthers had allowed over 21 points on average heading into Sunday's game.
The offensive line didn't help the situation, but the offense only really having two or so chances to really beat the Panthers defense deep isn't ideal. Kenny Stills, who left with a hamstring injury, could have helped.
No kicking woes...yet
Are you worried about kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn at this point?
"No. No. I don't worry about Ka'imi (Fairbairn)," O'Brien said. "He's got a good mindset. He's had a couple kicks that have, you know, sprayed to the right on him but he'll fix it."
Last week Fairbairn missed an extra point. This week his missed a field goal and nearly missed his second attempt. The Texans moved on from their punter after two weeks, but from O'Brien's comments Fairbairn is safe, for now.
The way the Texans play, close games rarely blowing people out, they can't afford to have misses in the kicking game. There are so many teams struggling at kicking in the NFL right now there isn't a lot they can do if Fairbairn falls off. They'd do better to work on him than make a rash decision and bring in a new face.
Is the rushing attack broken after hot start?
Don't get fooled by the box score. The Texans didn't run the ball well against the Panthers.
Carlos Hyde had five rushes of his 12 go for one yard or less. 25 of his 58 yards came on one play.
Duke Johnson had 40 of his 56 yards come on one run.
If you take out Deshaun Watson's rushing production, Keke Coutee's rush, and the two long runs by Johnson and Hyde the Texans had just 49 rushing yards on 16 carries. That's a 3 yards per carry average. That would be the 30th ranked yard per carry average in football.
The offensive line didn't help Sunday, Greg Mancz was awful in filling in for Zach Fulton. Houston has to rush the ball better for the offense to get back on track.
Trouble at home?
The Texans offense is significantly less impressive at home than it is on the road.
Road PPG: 27.5
Home PPG: 11.5
Road YPG: 395
Home YPG: 263.5
Now, the Panthers are the fourth best defense in yards per game but the Jaguars are 18th in the same statistic. The Chargers are 12th and the Saints are well into the bottom half. So it isn't the opponent.
It would be interesting to know how many teams have that drastic of a difference between their home and road splits.
I bet the Texans play a shootout with the Falcons next week
I have no idea how the Texans are going to slow down Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Mohammed Sanu. I also have no idea how the Falcons are going to slow down the Texans. Atlanta might relish a shootout as they've been playing from behind mostly this year. Sunday they made Marcus Mariota look like a star. We know that's not the case. Deshaun Watson is a star, and should get the offense back on track in a hurry against the Dirty Birds.