FRED FAOUR

Texans escape with 20-13 win over the Bills, but are they ruining Deshaun Watson?

Deshaun Watson was on the run all day. Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Texans grinded out an unimpressive 20-13 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, evening their record at 3-3 after a dismal 0-3 start.

The defense stifled the Bills, including two late picks to lock down the victory.

Deshaun Watson led a tying 84-yard drive to a field goal in the final two minutes where they were helped immensely by a pass interference call on the Bills in the end zone on a deep pass. The Texans had first and goal, but once again failed to score a touchdown. They settled for a field goal, setting the stage for Jonathan Joseph's pick six to win the game.

After six games, we still don’t know what the Texans are. They have losses to Blaine Gabbert and made a broken down Eli Manning look like a real quarterback. The Colts gifted them an OT win, then the Texans defense woke up and locked down the Cowboys and Bills, but they were still all-out to win both. And the bad news? The Cowboys offense is terrible on the road. The Bills are historically bad, and backup QB Peterman gave the game away with the late pick six. Still, the Texans defense did what it needed to do. They held the Bills to just 12 first downs. The got two sacks and forced four turnovers.

They also got key contributions on special teams, including recovering a fumble and blocking a punt.

They needed every bit of it, because Deshaun Watson and the offense had a rough day. Whether it was lingering effects of his injury or simply bad play, Watson struggled throughout. He was sacked seven times, threw two interceptions, lost a fumble (he was lucky he did not lose more) and could not put together sustained drives. His accuracy was off, and he made a lot of questionable decisions.

And that is why it is impossible to know what these Texans are. If the defense can play this well going forward and Watson can be more positive than negative, a playoff berth might be possible. But we really have not seen that combination all year, with the exception of the Cowboys game, and even then the offense was abysmal in the red zone.

On Sunday, Watson and the offense struggled all over the field, including the red zone. They were just 3 of 13 on third down. They had fewer yards (213 total) than the Bills. And it almost cost them the game.

The bigger concern is the Texans may be in the process of ruining Watson’s career.

The offensive line has been an issue for two years. They were terrible again on Sunday, and you have to wonder what the impact on Watson will be long term. He is already physically beaten up, and it is affecting his game. It also appears to be impacting him mentally as well. His body language is not the same, his confidence appears shot, and he could very well be regressing before our eyes.

His head coach has not helped him. Questionable play calling, putting his QB at risk of bad hits, and making boneheaded decisions that cost the team points.

But Watson is not helping himself, either. He once again threw an interception in the Bills end zone on an absolutely terrible decision. At least a couple of the sacks were on him for holding the ball too long. Those mistakes are going to cost the Texans games.

It almost did on Sunday.

Watson is the presumed future of the franchise. He won’t be if he can’t stay healthy and loses the swagger and confidence and turns the ball over multiple times. That is what we saw for much of Sunday.

If it continues, the Texans present - and future - might not be so bright.











 

Plenty of bad but recently some great on the short week game for Texans

Throwback Thursdays: Texans history is so so in Thursday games

Tim Warner/Getty Images

This is a list and a few thoughts from the five Thursday Night Football games where Bill O'Brien has been the head coach for the Texans.

2014: The almost comeback for the ages - Texans lose 33-28

This game sucked early, but then almost sucked a lot less. It still sucked in the end but it had one of J.J. Watt's best plays of his career.

The Colts jumped out to an early lead thanks to a Pat McAfee onside kick and a huge T.Y. Hilton play from Andrew Luck. It was one of the signature Hilton games in his time against the Texans. The Colts would lead 24-0 at the end of the first quarter. Ryan Fitzpatrick and Arian Foster along with some stellar defense would get the Texans back in the game but it wasn't enough.

This was the first Thursday game under Bill O'Brien and would be right in the middle of a three game losing streak coming off a bad overtime loss to the Cowboys and ahead of a Monday disaster against the Steelers.

2015: Sick Hasselbeck makes Texans fans sicker - Texans lose 27-20

I always describe this game as the one where Matt Hasselbeck was crapping his pants on the sidelines and still beat the Texans. I am not too wrong about this. He was so sick he didn't practice and yet still had enough for the Colts to beat the Texans. He was also 40 years old too by the way.

This one hurt as it was Andre Johnson's return to Houston but he was wearing a Colts uniform. He scored the opening touchdown and it was pretty much the only good game he had for the Colts that season. He also scored what would be the deciding touchdown in this one.

It also marked one of the quarterback indecision moments of Bill O'Brien's tenure. Ryan Mallett took a big hit and asked out of the game and Brian Hoyer returned to the game and played pretty well. He completed a long pass as time expired to Jaelen Strong (remember that name!?) to get the Texans their first touchdown. Trialing by seven Hoyer threw an interception in Colts territory ending the Texans comeback attempt.

2016: Brissett blows out Brock - Texans lose 27-0

This is one of the worst losses of the Bill O'Brien era. The Patriots were down to their third-string quarterback in the midst of a Tom Brady suspension and Jimmy Garoppolo's injury. Enter Jacoby Brissett and the best coach of all-time to torture Brock Osweiler and the Texans. Oh, by the way, Gronk was hurt too I think.

A field goal by New England put the first points on the board and the Texans fumbled the ensuing kickoff which then moments later saw Brissett take a rush 27 yards to the house. The Texans wouldn't get on the Patriots side of the field until there was a couple of minutes left in the third quarter and they were down 20-0.

We should have all known Osweiler stunk when he couldn't score in this game, but it took me a few more weeks before I really jumped off the Brock train.

2017: The first one for the chosen one - Texans win 13-9

Tom Savage was benched and Deshaun Watson's era began. A short week after sitting behind Savage in training camp and then getting thrown to the Jaguars defense in the second half of week one didn't matter to Watson. It was the start of his coming out party.

The defense kicked ass in this game helping Watson get the first win. The big run above was the moment many of us will never forget when it comes to this Thursday night affair.

2018: Welcome Back Brock - Texans win 42-23

Ah yes, the Brock Osweiler revenge game! The Texans had won four straight after a dreadful start to the season and were coming off a physical game with Jacksonville. This was Brock Osweiler's chance for revenge on the team that jettisoned him after the 2016 season.

There would be little revenge. Credit the Dolphins, they kept the game fairly close until Deshaun Watson started cooking in the second half. Four touchdowns in the second half was quite the efficient showing on just 10 pass attempts.

It was a fun Thursday night contest especially given the Texans history on the short week under O'Brien.

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