11 observations from the Texans' 38-22 loss to the Rams

Texans lose, 38-22. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans haven't won since week one, but the team ended a nearly month-long touchdown drought. The Rams crushed the Texans 38-22, handing Houston their seventh straight loss.

1. The Texans defense played their worst game at home of the season. The fundamentals were somewhere between missing and sloppy. There is a severe lack of talent, which is frequently exposed with an often-archaic defense.

2. This was the first game where it felt like there was some quit on the defensive side of the ball. It crept into the performance at one time or another.

3. Vernon Hargreaves continues to play poorly. He was forced into action with Desmond King a healthy scratch for the team. Hargreaves seemed to have forced a turnover on downs but a penalty was assessed to him. The Rams would end up scoring.

4. The defense seems to be outmatched earlier and earlier in games. Sometimes the leaks spring in the second half but this week it was apparent very early on the Rams would not have a difficult day on offense.

5. Cooper Kupp increased his touchdown lead over the Texans as he added his tenth receiving touchdown of the year. The Texans answered late in the game as Brandin Cooks hauled in a Davis Mills pass for a score. Cooks is the lone pass catcher with multiple receiving scores for the Texans. The Texans would catch Kupp late in the fourth quarter as Brevin Jordan caught a pass for a touchdown.

6. Lonnie Johnson had another bad performance at safety. The former second-round pick has a handful of interceptions but on a play-to-play basis, he is very poor in coverage and run support.

7. The offensive line was manhandled by the Rams. One stretch saw the Rams sack Davis Mills four times in five offensive plays. This unit is down multiple starters, but the holdovers at guard in Tytus Howard and Max Scharping have been poor this season.

8. The rushing game was bad with Mark Ingram on the team. It got worse after his departure. David Johnson got the start and had little success. Scottie Phillips was active for the game but also had little success. Rex Burkhead had one solid series late when the Rams had backups in the game.

9. Davis Mills has little chance to succeed with the poor offensive line play. Mills did throw one of his worst interceptions yet though, as he didn't come close to passing the ball over a linebacker, instead allowing the defender to simply reach up and snag the ball out of the air. Mills showed some late life against the Rams when Los Angeles was playing prevent defense. He led three touchdown drives in the fourth quarter.

10. The Texans scored their first touchdown since the third quarter of the loss to the Patriots. Mills moved the ball against a Rams defense playing backups in prevent defense to help set up a Rex Burkhead rushing score. Houston would add two more passing touchdowns and a two-point conversion to stay within the Vegas number.

11. Houston somehow nearly surpassed their ineffective performance against the Bills from earlier in the season, but since the team scored multiple touchdowns, it finishes slightly above the Buffalo beatdown. It was an embarrassing performance for three quarters though, and the team doesn't have much hope against the better parts of their schedule. The Dolphins, one of the potentially winnable games left in 2021, are next.

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Jae'Sean Tate had himself a night. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

No Christian Wood. No Kevin Porter Jr. No Jalen Green. No problem. Jae’ Sean Tate became a complete superhero for the Houston Rockets versus the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night.

He recorded 32 points, 10 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 5.0 blocks, and 2.0 steals and shot 73 percent from the field. With that stat line, he joined former Rocket Hakeem Olajuwon and other historic big men from the past, which Tim MacMahon reported.

Tate is known for his leadership and the ability to be humble. When a reporter asked Tate about the stat line, he said, “How many turnovers? Nah, 25 assists, that’s what sup! Can’t be mad at that.” An expression like that shows the importance of putting his teammates first before taking all the shine. Tate is providing more passion with communication and being the rock that the "Baby Rockets" can lean on.

Coach Silas' confidence in Tate is something built from last year and it shows. Those two have constant dialogue throughout the game, and it’s seen before the huddle or when Silas is standing on the sideline before he calls a play. Silas has run consistent sets for Tate, as he did that within the 15-game losing streak. He dialed up an out of bounds action with 33.4 seconds left, so Tate could make a clutch layup towards the rim.

“Long, long, long ago in his rookie year…we definitely have a bond and with those two guys out, we needed some scoring,” Silas said. “He was the guy who was playing the hardest from start to finish and down the stretch we ran that elbow iso for him. And he just went through his defender and finished. And he made some huge plays in the 4th quarter, which is what you need. Yeah, I trust him as much as anybody else, and he has earned that, and he deserves it.”

“That just shows the confidence Coach Silas, and my teammates have in me,” said Tate. “We lost some of our primary guys tonight. And not only me, but everybody also stepped up.”

His usage rating is slowly going up, which is posted at 18.9 percent per NBA stats. In isolation, Tate is averaging 1.00 points per possession, which puts him in the 75th percentile(!) per NBA stats. Tate is seeing more action out of the corner, so it can allow him to get to his left hand on offense. The elbow iso action is a play that Tate has run since high school, college, overseas, and in the NBA now. He mentioned that the set allows him to get comfortable when his number is called.

“That’s not my primary role and I think everyone knows that,” Tate said. “I am very confident [in] what I bring to the table offensively. Not only scoring wise but seeing the floor and being able to make [a] decision in space. And that kind of helps me when they overlook the scouting report.”

“[I've] been running that play since I was [in] high school. At Ohio St. I ran that. Even when I was overseas, Will Weaver, that was a play he put in. To have that called tonight, it felt familiar and it’s one of my strengths. And playing in the mid-post area and getting to my left hand.”

Tate was excellent for the Rockets on both sides of the ball, as he had a 116.9 offensive and 108.5 defensive rating with an 82.5 percent in true shooting versus the Thunder. Hopefully, Tate can be the leading catalyst again, as the Rockets face the Orlando Magic and New Orleans Pelicans, which are winnable games. It should become a six-game winning streak, as John Wall might play if his condition is right.

Up next: The Rockets face the Orlando Magic on Friday night.

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