FRED FAOUR

Texans defense is a complete joke, which is why they are 0-3

The Texans have gotten nothing from Whitney Mercilus and Jadeveon Clowney. Photo courtesy of Houston Texans

The Texans lost on Sunday to the New York Giants 27-22. Why? The Texans defense - supposed to be the strength of the team - is terrible.

Bill O'Brien said the Texans have to "coach better, and play better" at halftime. That is his go-to statement. They simply needed to play better. But this loss was solely on the defense.

J.J. Watt? Yeah, he had three sacks once the game was decided. But he was nowhere when it mattered. Jadeveon Clowney? Useless. Bernardrick McKinney? Worthless. Remember when Whitney Mercilus made plays? Yeah, me either. The Texans have lost nine games in a row. Who is to blame for that? 

The vaunted defense, which the Giants gashed all game. The Texans gave up 27 points, all earned by the Giants offense. You can blame Bill O'Brien. You can blame Deshaun Watson. But how about blame the defense? They were terrible in all phases. 

Let's start with the beginning of the game.

-The Texans allowed points to the Giants on four straight possessions, putting themselves in yet another early hole. 

-They let a broken down Eli Manning throw for almost 300 yards. He completed 25 of 29 passes for a QBR of 88.0 and a traditional rating of 132.3.

-The Giants best offensive weapons were unstoppable. Odell Beckham Jr. had nine catches on 10 targets for 109 yards. Rookie Saquon Barkley rushed for 82 yards on 17 carries and added another 35 on five catches. As a team the Giants averaged 4.2 yards per carry on 27 attempts.

-The Texans did not force a turnover for the second straight game.

-For a second straight game, they made adjusments and finally slowed the Giants to start the second half. But on the last drive, when they needed a stop to have a chance, they allowed a 9-play, 77-yard drive for the clincher.

-The Giants were 7 of 13 on third downs and 3 of 4 in the red zone.

The game was eerily similar to last week's, when the Texans started slow, got in a big hole, made adjustments but could not stop the opponent with the game on the line.

When your top two tacklers are in the secondary (Tyrann Matthieu and Kareem Jackson, nine tackles each) you are fighting a losing battle. So while it would be easy and convienient to blame the offense (and O'Brien did more than his share to assist in the loss), the group that was supposed to be the strength of the team is killing them.

As a result? They are 0-3. The season is all but over. And all because the defense could not stop anyone. That was supposed to be their strength. Clowney may not be healthy, but he has been beyond useless. And he wants Khalil Mack money? What a joke. 

The Texans are bad as a whole. Their defense is brutal. And that's why they have not won a game.

And unless there is a major turnaround, don't expect that to change anytime soon.

 

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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.

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