CODY STOOTS: 3 headlines, 2 questions, 1 bet
Texans have plenty to be thankful for these days
The Texans winning ways continue and they have plenty to be thankful for ahead of Thursday. Here's three headlines, two questions, and one bet to get you ready for turkey week:
"We Don't Want to Be Known for a Record That Was Set in 1925"
The Texans tied a record set by the 1925 New York Giants who won seven games after dropping their first three. Bill O'Brien joked he saw that team play but stressed the team hasn't "done anything" this season. He said they have done a great job of digging themselves out of the hole but they want to accomplish more. He stressed they have a big game coming up against the Titans and want to beat a team that already has a win over them.
"In the end, what have you done?" O'Brien said.
Right now, they have won seven straight which is the longest winning streak in the AFC and second to the Saints and their nine-game winning streak. They have a two-game lead over the Titans who they host in a week and the Colts who they host at home in a few weeks. They are nipping at the heels of the Steelers who currently own the third spot in the AFC.
What they still have to show is a consistent offense. Deshaun Watson threw two interceptions but O'Brien excused Watson on the intercepted screen. O'Brien said he would have liked the play call back. The other interception Watson failed to get a steady footing with the rush around him and didn't quite make it over the Washington defender to hit Keke Coutee.
Their rushing attack showed signs of life but they will need to get both elements of the offense clicking if they have designs on winning the AFC South and securing a playoff spot.
"It Left a Pretty Big Chip"
Justin Reid has played like a first rounder. That's what Tyrann Mathieu thinks of his play and it's what your eyes show you too.
His latest accomplishment is what Bill O'Brien called the "play of the game" as he took the ball back 101 yards for a touchdown on an interception to create what seemed like a 14-point swing.
Reid is consistently in the right spots and with the ever-changing landscape of the secondary due to injury, he has fit in just right wherever he has ended up. It's amazing in the current NFL he ended up a third round selection.
SportsMap and ESPN 97.5's Lance Zeirlein had a first or second round grade on him on NFL.com and an anonymous executive explained to Zeirlein he thought he could sneak into the first round.
"We're glad he isn't," Mathieu joked. The veteran safety said Reid didn't play or act like a rookie on the field.
"31 teams passed on me twice, it left a pretty big chip," said Reid. He's one of many rookies contributing to a great degree for the Texans but his play this season has put him in the conversation for Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Ka'imi Fairbairn missed two of his five kicks to bring his miss total to five field goals and one extra point. His last miss of 45 yards would have given the Texans a five-point lead and forced Washington to score a touchdown with backup quarterback Colt McCoy in for the injured Alex Smith.
There is plenty of conversation to be had about long snapper Jon Weeks and holder Trevor Daniel. Daniel is replacing Shane Lechler as the holder and it would appear sometimes he fails to get the ball in the ideal situation for Fairbairn be it proper laces placement or steadiness of the ball.
"He made a big kick. He missed a big kick. All right, so, we move on to the next and we try to correct maybe some technique issues and we move on to Tennessee," said Bill O'Brien. Later he added more about the burden for Daniel and Weeks.
"The operation is the key. It's gotta be a perfect snap. It's gotta be a perfect hold with the proper side of the ball, with the belly of the ball showing not the laces."
O'Brien said he liked the operation on the final kick was good but Fairbairn didn't get enough of it. The head coach also stressed there is a slim margin for error in the operation and though it may seem elementary they work on it hundreds of times a day.
Fairbairn maintains he just didn't strike the last attempt well. He said he's excited for the opportunity to kick again this week. He said he also trusts Weeks and Daniel to put in the work to improve and he trusts them to do their job each time and he worries about his part of the kicking game.
Quite simply, the kicking could cost the Texans a game and may have already cost them one. The miss in the Tennessee game looms as it was a three-point margin of defeat. His Colts miss is a miss for almost any kicker as he was no good from 59 yards and he did hit the game winner in overtime. His miss from 48 yards against Dallas helped send the game to overtime. His miss of the extra point in Denver nearly cost the Texans and would have had the Broncos made the kick.
When will Demaryius Thomas show up?
Yesterday the big trade acquisition saw just one target bringing his total in two games to four targets with three catches and 61 yards. Bill O'Brien's offense has often been lauded as an offense that it is tough for wide receivers to pick up quick, but Thomas will need to do some catching up to be a factor.
"I think with (Thomas) we've got to look at that as an offensive staff," O'Brien said. He mentioned Thomas "did some good things" but the ball didn't find him.
If the Texans are going to win the AFC South Thomas will be a key part of their journey. With Keke Coutee's injury history they can't bank on him being there all season and at some point, they will have to find stuff for Thomas, even if there is a slight element of forcing it.
What should the Texans be thankful for this season?
O'Brien mentioned the team would be off on Thursday this week and pointed out how often their players are out in the community giving back to the people of Houston and when the players go back home as well. He mentioned the team is very proud of the player's community effort.
O'Brien also revealed Thanksgiving is his favorite holiday.
"I think Thanksgiving is awesome. It's football. It's turkey. It's stuffing. It's a couple Coors Lights and watch some football."
Here are 11 things the Texans should be thankful for this year:
J.J. Watt is healthy.
Jadeveon Clowney is healthy.
Deshaun Watson is healthy.
Justin Reid fell to the third round.
Kareem Jackson plays safety at a high level.
Johnathan Joseph has stayed relatively ageless.
Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue have been good enough.
Keke Coutee is the first real slot threat in years.
The Texans didn't sign Nate Solder.
The Jaguars didn't draft Lamar Jackson.
Frank Reich handed them a win.
I bet the Texans are out for revenge against the Titans on Monday Night Football. This team has to know they let one slip away against Tennessee. The Titans have been somewhat impressive at times but the likelihood they hoodwink and confuse the Texans again is slim. The defense has settled into a better level than week two and the offense has started to solidify shaky parts as well. Getting one back against Tennessee would go a very long way towards winning the AFC South and securing a playoff spot.