Texans 26, Jags 3

Texans vs Jags: Good, bad and ugly, London Edition

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In an early morning London Edition of AFC South action, the Texans throttled the Jags 26-3. It was a close game until the Texans pulled away in the second half. Here are my observations:

The Good

-Fresh off being named AFC Offensive Player of the Month in October, Deshaun Watson continues to show why he's so special. 22/28 for 201 yards and two touchdowns, plus another 37 yards rushing. His best work came in the form of turning into an escape artist and making plays. He's special and I hope he can stay healthy. That, and Bill O'Brien needs to continue to call plays the way he has lately.

-Carlos Hyde was an afterthought. Kenny Stills was a throw-in. Now, both guys are staples in this offense. Hyde had 160 yards rushing and narrowly missed a touchdown. Stills has proven to be more than just a deep threat as he routinely makes tough catches to keep the chains moving. Who would've thought either of these guys would contribute so much when they were traded for just prior to the season starting?

-The defense stepped up big time. While there were some areas that need improvement, I was thoroughly pleased with their performance. They iced the game with three straight turnovers in the 4th quarter (two interceptions and a fumble). They also managed to hold Leonard Fournette to only 72 yards on 16 touches. Doing that to one of the league leaders in yards from scrimmage was perhaps most impressive.

The Bad

-Three offensive penalties on the opening drive for a total of 30 yards are one of the reasons why this team constantly puts itself behind the eight ball to open games. I'm not alone in thinking shooting yourself in the foot and trying to walk it off is a bad idea, am I?

-It took the defense until the last play of the third quarter to finally get a sack. They had no pressures or hits until then either. To say the pass rush was non-existent would be a bit much, but not off base. Gardner Minshew is no Watson, but he is slippery. Missing J.J. Watt hurts, but that's no excuse. They ultimately ended up with two sacks and should've had at least four or more.

-As I mentioned earlier, Hyde narrowly missed a touchdown. Why? Because he didn't change the ball to his outside arm and it was poked out right before he crossed the goal line. All ball carriers are taught to switch the ball to your outside arm when carrying the ball on the sideline. To add insult to injury, he never got his chance to score when the Texans immediately got the ball back. Let's hope he corrects this small issue in the near future.

The Ugly

-It's time for Jonathan Joseph to retire. Sure he got a nice pass break up in the 4th quarter, but he got big faced by Leonard Fournette in the 1st quarter and had to leave the game. Later, he delivered a big hit on Kelan Cole and came out for a few plays. He's no longer the player he was once before. However, he should be retained as a special assistant because of what he can provide the young defensive backs.

-Jags defensive end Calais Campbell was called for helmet to helmet in the 3rd quarter on a Watson scramble. His helmet completely missed Watson and the only thing that hit Watson in the head was his arm. While protecting the quarterbacks has been a point of emphasis for years now, some of these calls are getting ridiculous.

-Former Texans corner A.J. Bouye tried to start something arguing with Dylan Cole between the change over after a turnover. Both guys were held back. The interesting thing here is they're both defensive players and there wasn't anything that happened that could lead to the animosity. I'll be looking for a possible cause, but that looked personal.

The six hour time difference proved to be a non-factor. This win keeps the Texans at pace with the Colts. An early game this week coupled with a bye next week should allow them maximum rest and preparation. They'll need it because they have the Ravens in Baltimore then the Colts, followed by the Patriots, coming to NRG for their next three games. Here's where they can prove themselves to be true contenders. The Colts game is a must-win if they want to win the division. Ravens and Patriots are wins needed to move up the AFC playoff ladder. Hopefully we will see them come out of this midseason test unscathed and battle-tested.

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Things are quickly changing. Composite photo by Jack Brame

Proving that things can always get worse, the Houston Texans(1-6) hit rock bottom losing to the Green Bay Packers 36-20 Sunday at NRG Stadium. The Packers (5-1) extended their winning streak at NRG stadium to 6-0.

All phases of the Texans defense failed to stop the Packers' marching orders. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was good for 23-34 throwing for 283 yards and four touchdowns. Two of those scores went to Davante Adams, who had a career day with 13 receptions for 196 yards.

With Gareon Conley still on the IR, defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver moved cornerback Lonnie Johnson to safety. The move did not pan out. The Texans played man coverage instead of zone, which led to Adams having his big day. Houston's corners stunk up the joint, too.

The offense wasn't anything to brag about, either. Quarterback Deshaun Watson continues to struggle with a lack of talent surrounding him. Is there a less effective running back tandem than David Johnson and Duke Johnson? While DeAndre Hopkins was having his 34th career 100-yard game for the Arizona Cardinals, running back David Johnson, who the Texans received in trade for Hopkins, delivered another lackluster performance, rushing for 42 yards on 14 attempts. Johnson is making $12 million this year and averaging less than four yards per carry. Meanwhile, Kenyan Drake (Arizona), Antonio Gibson (Washington), and James Robinson (Jacksonville) all are averaging more than four yards, and all three of their salaries combined are less than Johnson's. Sorry Houston, you won't see a return on the David Johnson investment.

Looking forward

The Texans franchise is clearly foundering. Former multi-untalented general manager and head coach Bill O'Brien didn't just leave a 0-4 record, he left a dumpster wildfire that may take the Texans years to extinguish. While other losing teams may be "Tanking for Trevor," the Texans are bereft of first and second round picks next year.

Last season, the AFC South saw the emergence of the Tennessee Titans and the division is even stronger now. If the New York Jets are in position to draft Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and that plays out, current Jets' quarterback Sam Darnold could be heading to the Indianapolis Colts. The years of winning empty titles in a weak division are over for the Texans. Davante Adams' performance Sunday made one thing painfully clear to Texans fans: second-tier coaches directing third-tier players is a recipe for disaster.

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