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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RAVENS 33, TEXANS 16

5 observations from the Ravens win over the Texans

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Let's be honest; the Texans were not going to beat the Ravens. Baltimore has better players, a better quarterback and a better coaching staff. (And oh, a better kicker). All of that was on display in the Ravens' 33-16 win.

The Ravens move to 2-0, while the Texans dropped to 0-2 after facing the AFC's two best teams.

The Texans will still likely contend for a playoff spot, but nothing the last two weeks indicates they are anywhere near contending in the AFC. A look at five things from the Ravens win:

1) Oh, Brien...It did not take long for Bill O'Brien's goofy coaching to rear its ugly head. Down 3-0 at their own 34 as the first quarter was running out, O'Brien chose to go for it on fourth and one. The play was predictably blown up, the Ravens quickly scored to make it 10-0, and the Texans were instantly in a hole against a superior opponent. You can't give points away against the Ravens. They might have scored anyway with a punt, but there was no stopping them with a short field.

2) Some positives on defense. Despite the score, The Texans looked much better on that side of the ball against an explosive offense. J.J. Watt had two sacks, the team had four total, and they kept Lamar Jackson from destroying them. Seven of the points were scored by the Ravens defense, and O'Brien's gaffe led to seven more. The Ravens wore them down in the fourth quarter, but they played well enough until then to keep the team in the game had the offense been better. They did not force any turnovers, however, and that was one of the differences in the game. They were also blown off the ball on a fourth and one in the fourth quarter that led to the Ravens' 30th points and could not stop the run at all in the fourth quarter. But that's what the Ravens do with a lead, and the Texans offense gave them no breaks by being unable to stay on the field.

3) The difference between real contenders...The Ravens were just so much more skilled on both sides of the ball. Defensively, they focused on taking away the run. David Johnson averaged 3.1 yards per carry. Will Fuller had as many catches as you did. The Ravens forced two turnovers on just really good football plays. The Texans don't make plays like that. They might against lesser teams, but if your goal is to compete with the best, it's just not good enough.

4) Deshaun Watson needs to be better. His numbers looked so so on the surface (25 of 36, 275 yards, 1 TD, 1 interception). He was sacked four times and added 17 rushing yards on five carries. He did not make plays late when they needed one here or there to maybe get back in the game. With his big contract, it's time for Watson to stop being close to elite and take the next step. His interception was more of being fooled by Marcus Peters than throwing a bad ball, but the Texans were just 3 of 9 on third downs. Throw in the ill-advised fourth down play, and they were just 3 of 10 extending drives. Give the Ravens a lot of credit, but again, to compete with the best, you have to be better than that.

5) Now what? The Texans travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers, who have not been impressive in their two wins. Still, it's hard to see Houston as anything but serious underdogs. They are last in the AFC South, and have a lot of work to do. The defense showed some promise at times, but will have to continue to improve. The offense has a long way to go. They match up better with the Steelers than they do the Ravens and Chiefs, but that does not mean they can win. If you were hoping they would give you some indication they can be more than just also-rans, they failed to do that on any level against either the Chiefs or Ravens.

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