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Texans vs Seahawks: Observations

Deshaun Watson kept the Texans in the game. Getty Images

Texans vs Seahawks: Observations

This was a great game to watch. Most eyes were on the game due to Bob McNair’s comments and subsequent fallout. The majority of the team chose to kneel and lock arms. Given the climate around the team, most thought this was going to be a lamb led to slaughter. However, the lamb brought some weapons, just not enough in coming up short 41-38.

The Good

-Deshaun Watson is the first player in NFL history with 400 plus yards passing, 4 plus touchdowns, and 50 plus yards rushing in a single game. This guy is special.

-DeAndre Hopkins had 8 catches for 224 yards and a touchdown. He repeatedly made contested catches against Richard Sherman who’s considered one of the best corners in the league. His 72 yard touchdown catch came on a screen pass to put them ahead 38-34.

-The team had 142 yards rushing, while giving up a measly 33 to Seattle. Watson led the team with 67 yards rushing. He showed he knows when to fight for yards (directing Alfred Blue to block as he picked up a key first down on 3rd & 14) and when to baseball slide.

-Will Fuller V is proving to be the vertical threat he was drafted to be. He has 13 catches, with 7 of them going for touchdowns this season since returning from injury.

The Bad

-Watson threw 3 interceptions. The first two were rookie mistakes he appeared to be baited into by Seattle’s talented secondary (Earl Thomas reading him wanting to go to Hopkins on a 3rd down play; Sherman stepping in front of a crossing route leaving his zone responsibility).

-The offensive line gave up 5 sacks this game. With a mobile quarterback, you’d think that wouldn’t happen. Some of those are Watson’s fault, the majority aren’t. This line will need to be addressed this offseason.

-Chris Thompson made two special teams errors by running out of the end zone, and not getting to the 25 yard line. On one of those plays, he fumbled, but recovered it. Special teams cannot continue to plague this team, especially when the defense is playing like a PAC12 defense.

The Ugly

-The team gave up 446 yards passing to a Seattle team the averages 243.8 passing yards a game with just as bad of an offensive line, and a fairly average receiving core. Four different pass plays went over 45 yards. This secondary is atrocious! Numerous blown coverages led to several key plays, including Zach Cunningham and Benardrick McKinney losing Jimmy Graham up the middle for the game winning score. They had an assist from safety Marcus Gilchrist who had deep middle coverage, but chose to float over the side to far left of his vantage point.

-This team cannot win shoot outs. The defense isn’t what it was last year, and the special teams (specifically the kick return game) are actually worse. Watson is proving himself to be everything he was advertised to be pre-draft. But this team will only go as far as the defense and kick return game will take them.

Bonus Coverage: Given team owner Bob McNair’s divisive comments, the team played well. Rookie quarterbacks were 2-10 in previous 12 games at Seattle. Watson gave them a chance to win the game, and the defense let it get away. I hope they don’t turn Watson into Dan Marino, or post-Super Bowl Drew Brees. They were/are all-time great quarterbacks who’s defenses resemble weekend warriors and career/s were/are being wasted because the organization didn’t put the right pieces around them while they were/are at their best.

 

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Another tough loss for the Texans. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans started fast but faltered late as the New York Jets hand Houston their ninth loss of the season 21-14. Here are 11 observations from the game.

1. Starting safety Justin Reid was benched for the game. David Culley said after the game it was his decision as head coach and he would keep the matter internal with Reid.

2. This is the third defender benched for disciplinary reasons this season. Reid joins Zach Cunningham and Desmond King as players who missed time for discipline.

3. Justin Reid told Fox 26 he was benched because he had a disagreement with the coaching staff. He also said he was shocked the Texans benched him. You have to wonder if the “culture” the team is building is right when one of the more likable and personable players falls victim to their rules. Reid, who is a free agent this offseason, could leave the Texans.

4. Tyrod Taylor had a couple of nice plays early on for the Texans. His willingness to take some shots downfield was refreshing and led to a touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks.

5. Rookie tight end Brevin Jordan found the end zone. He has played well in recent weeks after finally getting on the field. Jordan is playing over Jordan Akins as Akins was a healthy scratch again this week.

6. Tytus Howard started at left tackle with mixed results. Howard has struggled to find his way at guard but could be a long-term option at tackle if given the chance.

7. The offensive line overall played poorly after some early success. The pass rush of the Jets got going and the run blocking was poor again. Lane Taylor played at left guard some, with Max Scharping also playing some at that spot.

8. The offense was horrendous after the two scoring drives. The Texans amassed 202 net yards with 91 yards coming on those two scoring drives. Houston gained just 49 net yards after their opening three drives.

9. After the game, I asked David Culley if he would be making a change with his play-caller. Culley stood behind offensive coordinator Tim Kelly and said he would remain the team’s play-caller.

10. Second-year defensive lineman Ross Blacklock had two horrible errors that handed the Jets a chance to turn three points into seven points. Blacklock got a personal foul on a field goal attempt giving the Jets a first down. The very next play his offsides penalty erased a sack. Each week Blacklock falls even more behind a bevy of players drafted after him who contribute positively on a regular basis.

11. The loss to another bottom-dweller has the Texans back in the second spot in the 2022 NFL Draft order. It also feels like the deflating nature of this loss erased some of the good feelings after the victory over the Titans. The Indianapolis Colts come to Houston next week to begin December’s portion of the schedule.

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