Broncos 38, Texans 24

Shame bells all around for Texans in brutal loss to Broncos

Getty Images

Sunday's game against the Broncos had all the look of a trap game for the Texans. Coming off a huge win over New England and with the Titans up next, it would have been easy to overlook Denver. It's an act we have seen before with these Texans. Not only was the trap sprung, the Texans were embarrassed by a bad football team, getting beat 38-24. Rest assured, the game was not nearly that close. They deserve shame bells all around. Here is how it all played out:

Offense

Positives: They scored 21 garbage time points!

Negatives: They could not have started any worse. They have scored 3 points in 13 first possessions this year. They not only failed to score on their first drive, they gave up a defensive touchdown on their second to put them in a 14-0 hole. Keke Coutee fumbled after a catch, and the Broncos returned it for a touchdown. They could do nothing for the rest of the half. They went for it on fourth and 1 at their own 34 with two minutes left in the first half, and failed thanks to a terrible play call. It led to another Broncos score and an insurmountable 31-3 halftime deficit. Deshaun Watson was ineffective until garbage time. His numbers at the end would look OK, but it was textbook empty stats.

Defense

Positives: Zach Cunningham had 17 total tackles.

Negatives: Like the offense, they started terribly, giving up a touchdown on the opening drive, and things got worse from there. Jonathan Joseph allowed a huge gain on the first play making a poor decision to try to intercept the football. They let Drew Lock march down the field on the Broncos first four offensive drives. The Texans got no pressure and were awful in coverage, giving up 24 first half points to a struggling offense. They of course got defensive holding penalties on the last drive of the half, and did not stop the Broncos once in the first half, and they started out the second half just as badly. It was just a terrible performance across the board. The Broncos had not scored more than 24 points all season. They had 31 in the first half alone. The Texans gave up 309 yards passing to Lock and did not get a stop until 2:37 remained in the third quarter when Tashaun Gipson picked off Lock inside the Texans 5 yard line.

The bottom line

A week after their best win of the season, the Texans followed it up with perhaps their worst performance yet. The Baltimore loss was one thing; the Ravens are the best team in the AFC. The Broncos are a losing team with a rookie quarterback, and they dominated the game. The good news is the Texans tend to bounce back from awful efforts like this one, and they have the Titans in a key AFC South battle next week. The bad news? They still have awful efforts like this. The coaching was bad, Watson was not good when it mattered, the defense was a joke. There was literally nothing positive to take from this game. Other than that...

The Texans fall to 8-5. They can still win the AFC South or earn a wild card spot, but after a performance like this, it is hard to see them being much of a postseason threat.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Rockets get another much-needed win. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets went on a redemption tour by beating the Detroit Pistons and Dallas Mavericks. But the most pivotal win was against the Mavericks as the Rockets finally showed their true potential. John Wall finally made his return from his injury hiatus and played with a lot of energy. DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Gordon combined for 61 points. It was great to see Stephan Silas crack a smile as he was able to beat his former team.

The Rockets clearly missed Wall during his eight-game absense. This season, the Rockets are a .500 team with Wall on the court. Wall is the Rockets' floor general that leads, constructs, and also pushes his teammates to become better.

Wall only played 21 minutes in the 133-108 win over the Mavericks but still had eight assists. Even though Wall only had 7 points, his presence was still felt by finding his teammates for open looks beyond the perimeter. Wall made sure Cousins and Gordon got a plethora of touches. He called multiple actions, so they got open looks from three, which was mainly Gordon. Gordon and Cousins' struggles have been similar but with Wall on the court, they were successful against the Mavericks. According to NBA Stats, Wall posted a 111 offensive rating with the starters versus the Mavericks, which included Gordon and Cousins.

"He's the engine to this team. He gets everybody going. He makes the game easy," Cousins told a reporter after the game. "The pressure that he constantly puts on the defense is a tough thing to deal with."

Gordon has struggled all season long with three-point shooting and relied on his slashing abilities. Saturday night, Gordon made six three pointers against the Mavericks, which was 66 percent from beyond the perimeter. Gordon increased his three-point percentage from 31 percent to 34.5 percent after Saturday night's game. Gordon's 33 points came from being able to attack the entire Mavericks' defense. Willy Cauley-Stein didn't stand a chance against Gordon as he was burned multiple times. Gordon's been a lifesaver for the Rockets in the last two games, and hopefully he maintains his play.

Cousins played fantastic against the Mavericks scoring 28 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. This is Cousins' first double-double with the Rockets this season. Cousins became the vintage player from the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings. It was extremely fun watching Cousins push the ball up the court and aggressively snatch rebounds. Boogie shot 50 percent from behind the arc by making four three-pointers. He was dominant inside the paint as Cousins went 7/8 from the restricted area versus the Mavericks. This was the game Cousins needed after having a poor performance against the Pistons Friday night.

"It was really, really good. He did it all. He's a physical presence on both ends of the floor," as Silas said on Cousins' performance.

David Nwaba and Mason Jones were big factors off the Rockets' bench by having a combined total of 34 points together. Nwaba has been great in transition for the Rockets the entire season. Keep in mind that Nwaba is returning from an Achilles injury he suffered with his former team, the Brooklyn Nets. Nwaba has became a great defender, slasher, and is averaging a career-high nine points per game with the Rockets. He finished with 18 points on Saturday night versus the Mavericks.

Mason Jones has become a fan favorite of the Rockets because of his confidence. Silas is loving the usage of Jones off the bench but wants to find more minutes for him. Jones had a breakout performance versus the San Antonio Spurs with 24 points off 66 percent shooting from the field. He continues to get better with his reads from the point guard position. Jones' knowledge of running the offense has helped his efficiency on the court. He is never afraid to take clutch shots in pivotal moments of the game.

"To have a young kid who can come in and not be afraid of the moment, that's big. That's a tough position to be in as an undrafted rookie. I trust him. It's a good problem to have," Silas mentioned after the game. "He's showing me he's ready. He's a confident kid, and he should be. That's why he's good. He's not afraid of the moment, at all. He can get us organized, run plays, and score the basketball."

Hopefully, the Rockets can sustain their level of play when Victor Oladipo returns against the Washington Wizards, Tuesday. It will be interesting to watch Oladipo and Wall play in the same backcourt.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome