Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
3 Headlines, 2 Questions, 1 Bet as the Texans try to regroup after one of the worst losses under Bill O'Brien.
Kareem Jackson smashes in return
Kareem Jackson put it on his former team. He just absolutely smashed them. The former cornerback turned safety had everything going on Sunday. The pivotal two plays from him were the return of the Keke Coutee fumble and the huge shot on DeAndre Hopkins on the ensuing drive.
There is a solid argument to have Kareem Jackson still in a Texans uniform. He costs more than Tashaun Gipson but has played better than the current Texans safety. It always felt like this defensive staff felt he was more cornerback than safety. He clearly has excellent safety abilities. He was all over the field making every play for the Broncos. He isn't a cornerback anymore and should have been a full-time safety a while ago. Denver has afforded him that option.
"It wasn't horses--- on offense"
Bill O'Brien was wishy-washy on if there were positives for the Texans. He at first declared there were no positives but then later gave the above statement.
I don't agree or disagree with him.
They got worked in the passing game. The Broncos knew a lot of what was coming and the Texans couldn't get open. Their success late was all about Denver allowing them not what they did really.
I will say, they ran the ball pretty well and obviously couldn't keep running the ball when they were down big like they were early. Carlos Hyde averaged 5.2 a carry. The offensive line played decent.
The first quarter is a disaster for the Texans though. They have to score more and allow less or they can't be taken seriously. Simple.
The pattern continues
Loss - Win - Win
That has been the Texans pattern this season. A stark contrast from the team who fell behind early, rattled off a ton of wins in a row, and then faltered late.
Let's pretend the pattern holds up.
That's wins over the Titans in Tennessee and the Buccaneers in Tampa. A loss to the Titans at home. That's likely enough to make the playoffs and probably be the four seed as AFC South champions. That would likely mean a visit from the Bills.
Again, pretend with me the pattern holds.
Beat the Bills and you're likely on the road to Baltimore. Again. The pattern would have the Texans defeat the Ravens and then play on the road in the AFC Championship game, where they'd lose.
What did this tell us?
Nothing. Patterns are stupid and that's not happening. They're far more likely to drop two in a row and recover with back-to-back wins to sneak into the playoffs. They'll be the trendy pick to be upset at home should they play Buffalo.
Can Tunsil's issues be solved?
Sunday Laremy Tunsil said he is being picked on by officials for his false starts. Watching back the game against Denver, Tunsil had at least two that were missed by the officials and maybe a few more questionable that could have been calls.
I dug into the numbers on Tunsil yesterday. Look, it's ok to get a penalty here or there but in bunches and sometimes in key moments for the franchise left tackle that can't happen.
There has to be something with how the offense is run or called that has Tunsil jumping. He is too good to have to jump for a slight advantage. I wonder if there is extra work to be had with Deshaun Watson to make sure something like this doesn't keep happening.
He didn't commit this level of penalties last year, so he is capable of playing clean football. It is necessary for him to do so down the stretch.
Does Will Fuller mean that much?
I am convinced Will Fuller was in a situation like Jadeveon Clowney was in a few years ago. Clowney was pretty healthy, and could have played, but the team sat him on the road in Green Bay. The following week they played the Colts in a pivotal AFC South matchup. It worked as Clowney played really well and the Texans won on their way to securing another AFC South banner.
Seems to me if the Texans needed the game yesterday Fuller would have played. I understand the idea, and support it even, but there is a conversation to be had on how much better everything looks with him on the field. It didn't feel like anyone got deep, no deep shots were really taken, and when there were chances they were well covered.
Fuller is clearly a key to opening up this offense. It makes Hopkins more effective, the rushing attack (which played well yesterday) more effective, and Watson's legs are also more dangerous when Fuller is on the field. I expect he will be back Sunday giving the Titans fits.
I bet the Titans don't see Sunday's Texans in Tennessee
Ryan Tannehill HAMMERED the hit stick on this one at the end 😂😅 pic.twitter.com/cecBcThFwR— DailySportsDosage (@OfficalDSD) December 8, 2019
The Texans got caught by the sandwich game. Coming off the Patriots game and with the Titans next up the Broncos got the Texans. Fortunately for Houston they have bounced back well after stinkers this season. The Panthers debacle was followed up with a route of the Falcons. The disappointment in Indy saw them fully control Oakland in the second half the next week. The Baltimore blowout begat a Thursday night victory against the Colts four days later.
It would stand to reason Sunday's Texans are gone for at least a week. Credit to Bill O'Brien, they pull up their bootstraps after losses, regardless of the fact those losses are far to familiar.
Speaking of things that won't last, surely Ryan Tannehill's magical season can't continue.
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.
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