The passing game was stifled and the running game has struggled

Offense sputtering on multiple levels for Texans

Houston Texans/Facebook

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"

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

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.

NFL Week 10

NFL Week 10: Good, bad and ugly

Phil Hoffman, Baltimore Ravens Team Website

Week 10 of the NFL brought us some good games. 11 of the 13 game splayed were decided by one possession (touchdown and two point conversion) or less. Good football and parity is what the league wants. Here's what I observed this week:

The Good

-Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is the clear cut league MVP after his performance this past weekend against the Bengals.He was 15/17 for 223 yards and three touchdowns passing to go with his seven carries for 65 yards and a highlight reel-worthy touchdown rushing. The spin move he made on that touchdown run looked like a Madden glitch.

-Including Monday night's OT comeback, Seattle's Russell Wilson is tied for the most game wining drives since entering the league in 2012 with 28 (the Lions' Matthew Stafford also has 28). Here's yet another reason why Wilson is an MVP candidate this season. Look around him and notice he's not working with a whole lot of top notch talent.

-Cardinals wide receiver Christina Kirk had himself a game in their 30-27 loss to the Bucs. Kirk ended his day with six catches for 138 yards and three touchdowns, including a 69 yards touchdown catch that tied the game at 20 in the 3rd quarter. Kirk was a top recruit coming out of high school and did some good things at Texas A&M, but this was a perhaps his breakout performance in the NFL for the former 2nd round pick. Rookie quarterback Kyler Murray will need a him moving forward if the duo hopes to succeed.

The Bad

-Lions' wide receiver Kenny Golladay caught a pass near the end of their 20-13 loss to the Bears and tried to hurry things along by spotting the ball for the refs. Nothing uncommon about what he did...except he moved the ball up a few yards and the refs did nothing about it! Just another reason why officiating has been so terrible as of late.

-Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan is having a bad year. Even after missing four games due to suspension, he's still leading the team in penalties. He singlehandedly killed their first possession of the second half with back to back penalties forcing them to punt. To his credit, he totally owned it when the media came in the locker room after the game.

-Panthers' running back Christian McCaffrey is an amazing talent at the running back position. However, he isn't a bruiser of a runner. He's more of a finese guy. So asking him to bang it inside from the 2-yard line with no timeouts left and the game on the line is not ideal. How about coming up with a more creative way to get him the ball in space? They went on to lose to the Packers 24-16. This and the failed two-point conversion on their previous touchdown were both baffling calls.

The Ugly

-The Rams will be without offensive lineman Rob Haverstein for a week and Brian Allen for the remainder of the season with injuries. Things are getting worse by the minute for the Rams who came into this season off a Super bowl appearance.

-The Chiefs lost their leading sacker Emmanuel Ogbah for the season with a torn pectoral muscle. Losing to the Titans was one thing, but losing a talented pass rusher for the rest of the season as bad as their defense has been is icing on a poop cake.

-Former #2 overall pick Charles Rogers passed away at the age of 38 due to liver failure. Rogers' life was a tragic tale of a talented guy who wasn't ready for what his talent gave him in the way of fame and fortune. He was selected one pick ahead of Texans' all time great Andre Johnson as the two were said to be the best two receivers in the 2003 draft.

Week 10 of NFL action was capped off by a battle in the NFC West between the 49ers and the Seahawks on Monday Night Football. With only two games decided by more than one possession, we were trewated to another good weekend of football. The '72 Dolphins popped their champagne somewhere after the 49ers lost. Division races became a tad more clear. Some became more crowded. But overall, it was another good week of football. Weeks like this one are why people are hooked on football and can't get enough.

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