TITANS 20, TEXANS 17

Texans vs Titans: Observations from Jermaine Every

DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller had big games. Zach Tarrant/Houstontexans.com

The Texans continue their piss poor record in one score games by losing 20-17 today to the division rival Tennessee Titans. Titans first year head coach Mike Vrabel was elated on the sidelines after the victory over his former team where he coached the league’s worst defense last year. This was another close game that the Texans should have won. Let’s take a look at some observations:

The Good

-Will Fuller looked good. He didn’t have ANY drops! Eight catches on nine targets for 113 yards and a touchdown in which he flat out burned Malcolm Butler. Sure he’s body-catching the ball, but I’m okay with that as long as he holds onto the ball. His big play ability will be needed if this offense has a chance at putting up big points.

-Deshaun Watson finally started using his legs. Not only did he gain 44 yards, but he also extended several pass plays. He got out of bounds on the plays he ran, and found guys wide open on scramble drill pass plays. It was a very welcomed sight for those who wanted Watson to do the same last week vs the Patriots.

-The Texans put up 148 rushing yards on 26 carries for a 5.7 yard per carry average. These numbers look very healthy two games into the season. Hopefully this trend can be sustained all season long. This offensive line isn’t very talented, but they’ve been run blocking well so far.

The Bad

-Both Jonathan Joseph and Tyrann Mathieu missed…whiffed on tackles leading to a Ttians touchdown. The worst part is Joseph had the receiver stopped for a loss, and Mathieu could have saved the touchdown.

-The front seven failed to take advantage of the Titans missing both starting offensive tackles and starting their backup quarterback. They managed only one sack. Even though Jadeveon Clowney wasn’t playing, this should’ve been a much higher number. Which leads to…

-…Titans backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert went 13 of 20 for a piddly 117 yards and a touchdown. BLAINE FREAKING GABBERT!!! I know the whole “they’re in the league for a reason” excuse will be thrown out there, but come on. He’s not listed as a bust in Jacksonville simply because of how bad their current quarterback is. He’s the kind of guy that’ll have a long career because he’s smart in the class, but a dud on the field.

The Ugly

-Going for a blocked punt is cool, but it has to be a strategic play. Leaving a gunner WIDE OPEN on the outside and the Titans took advantage scoring on a 66 yard touchdown pass by faking the punt.

-Offensive line was terrible. They racked up penalty yards like a shopaholic racks up airline miles on a credit card. So many times they let Watson got hit. I pray for him every time he drops back.

-The game ended on a play Watson CAN NOT make! They’re down three with no timeouts with 17 seconds left, he sat back in the pocket and eventually scrambled around (appearing to go past the line of scrimmage), only to throw the ball to the middle of the field to Hopkins as time ran out. This was about as boneheaded a move one could make. Sure chances of the game being tied or won were slim at that point, but you have to give your team a shot.

-Vrabel appeared to out-coach Bill O’Brien. The fake punt for a touchdown was the play that comes to mind the most. I also attribute Watson’s poor decision-making to O’Brien as well. Sorry coach, but it is your job to make sure your quarterback knows what’s expected of him in that situation. Everything is your job when you’re an NFL head coach. For Texans’ fans, I’m hoping this ship gets righted soon, or this will be another long season.

 

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Watson's accusers appeared on Real Sports on Tuesday night. Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images.

HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel’s heavily promoted and much anticipated examination of Deshaun Watson’s legal mess involving alleged sexual misconduct shed little new light and merely presented a summary of well worn he said/she (x22) said accusations and denials.

The episode debuted Tuesday night on the premium cable service and will be repeated dozens of times throughout the week on HBO’s platforms. Check your local listings for times and channel.

The segment was hosted by Soledad O’Brien who presented compelling face-to-face interviews with two of the quarterback’s accusers: massage therapists Ashley Solis and Kyla Hayes. Their stories were detailed and graphic. Both cried during the interviews.

Solis: “As I’m working, he deliberately grabs himself and put his penis on my hand. I pulled my hand away instantly and I started crying. I told that I’m done. I don’t want to do this anymore.”

Solis said she felt threatened when Watson, before leaving the session, allegedly told her: “I know you have a career to protect, and I know that you don’t want anyone messing with it, just like I don’t want anyone messing with mine.”

Solis added, “That’s when I got really scared because that sounded like a threat to me.”

Hayes: “He wanted me to kind of make a V motion in his pelvic area. I just kept massaging and did what he asked, until his penis kept touching me repeatedly as I did it.”

Hayes said that Watson had an orgasm, which she said was “mortifying, embarrassing and disgusting.”

O’Brien asked Hayes why she continued to have contact via email with Watson after their encounter.

Hayes: "I wasn't sure what he was capable of. He could've physically assaulted me. He could've bashed my business, so I had to protect myself and my business the best way I saw fit. Did I ever see him again after that? No. Did I give him the runaround? Yes."

O’Brien pointed out that two separate grand juries in Texas heard criminal accusations against Watson and neither found enough evidence to indict him.

Solis and Hayes, and 20 other massage therapists have filed civil suits against Watson. The cases aren’t expected to reach a courtroom until next March. Both sides could reach a settlement before then which would effectively shut down any legal action against Watson. However, both sides say they aren’t interested in any pretrial settlements. That’s what they say now, anyway.

After being banished to the sidelines for the 2021 season by the Houston Texans, Watson signed a historic, 5-year fully guaranteed $230 million contract with the Cleveland Browns.

Hayes said she feels Watson “is being rewarded for bad behavior." Solis said, "It's just like a big screw you. That's what it feels like. That we (the Browns) don't care. He can run and throw, and that's what we care about.”

Watson currently is participating in preseason workouts with the Browns and, at the moment, is cleared to play the upcoming NFL season.

That is unless the NFL suspends Watson for some, most or all of the 2022 season. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said the league is nearing completion of its independent investigation into Watson’s case and will reach a decision “shortly,” probably this summer. The NFL and NFL Players Association mutually agreed to have former U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson decide whether or not Watson violated the league’s Personal Conduct Policy and what discipline should be handed down if he did.

The Browns are scheduled to play the Texans on Dec. 4 at NRG Stadium in Houston.

O’Brien said, while producing the Real Sports piece, she tried to interview Watson, his attorneys and the Cleveland Browns for their side of the story. All declined.

During a press conference in March to announce his joining the Browns, Watson denied any inappropriate behavior with the massage therapists.

Watson: “I never assaulted any woman. I’ve never disrespected any woman. I was raised to be genuine and respect everyone around me. I’ve never done the thing that these people are alleging. My mom and my aunties didn’t raise me that way.”

Leah Graham, a member of Watson’s legal team, sat for an interview after O’Brien’s segment was complete.

Graham: "It's 22 women. It's one lawyer. There's only one lawyer who was willing to take these cases. And as we know from Ashley Solis’ deposition, Mr. (Houston attorney Tony) Buzbee was not the first, probably not the second or third lawyer she went to, but he was the only one to take her case. Why? Not because it had merit, but because he would use these cases to increase his social media following and quite frankly to get on shows like this one.”

My reaction after watching the Real Sports segment? We weren’t in the room when the massage therapists worked on Watson. We weren’t in the grand jury room when evidence against Watson was presented. We don’t know what happened. We don’t know what will happen if these cases go to trial.

Until then all we have is one big, lurid, embarrassing mess. In American courtrooms, defendants are presumed innocent. That’s often the opposite in the court of public opinion. We’ll just have to wait while the wheels of justice grind painfully slow.

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