ONE LAST SETBACK

Texans wrap up season with 22-13 loss in Indianapolis, finish last in AFC South with 4-12 record

Alfred Blue and the Texans could not muster any offense in the second half. Houstontexans.com

In the battle for last place in the AFC South, the Colts won 22-13 in Indianapolis; putting the Texans in the bottom of the divisional barrel. They finish a disappointing, injury plagued season 4-12.

Congratulations are in order for Frank Gore who finished the day with one hundred yards on the ground. He became the fifth player in NFL history to rush for more than 14,000 yards in a career. 

Fans knew it was going to be rough for the Texans, who were without their biggest offensive weapon DeAndre Hopkins for the first time in his career. On the first drive, they lost their second-best receiver Will Fuller with a knee injury. That left them with Braxton Miller, Chris Thompson and Cobi Hamilton as the remaining wide receivers. The primary ball carrier for the Texans was Alfred Blue who had eighteen carries against Lamar Miller's eight. 

Early on it looked good but not great for the Texans offense. Yates led them to scoring drives on their first three possessions of the game and a 13-7 halftime lead. He did it with a good balance of run and pass. He went 12 of 16 for 117 yards through the air while Blue carried the ball fourteen times for 31 yards and a touchdown. The two field goals by Ka'imi Fairbairn from 52 and 46 yards were the difference at the break.

The second half went more the way of the Colts. It started with an onside kick that Indianapolis failed to recover, but they forced a three and out to limit any damage. They responded with a touchdown by Marlon Mack for a one point lead. Their defense followed later with a safety on Tom Savage after the Texans offensive line looked confused and allowed a free rusher.

From there it was about who could get just the few more points needed to secure the victory. The Colts got a field goal from Adam Vinatieri while the Texans got shut down. Their offense got stopped time after time and they failed to score in the second half.

No one knows what will happen in the offseason, but the coach and the GM for the Texans will be on the hot seat. They finished a season that started with some promise with a terrible record. They would have had a top-five pick in the draft but those were given to the Browns who end the season with the number one overall pick as well. There is a lot to be done but a lot to look forward to in 2018 when star players return healthy. 

 

 

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF O'BRIEN'S COACHING

Not my job: Texans no match for the Ravens

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

The Texans fell to the Ravens 33-16 in a game they had a shot at winning. Most of you reading this will probably think I'm crazy for saying that. I assure you, I meant what I said. One of the reasons they didn't was because Bill O'Brien made a few questionable decisions that cost this team.

The first was the 4th & 1 decision. Deciding to go for it was bad enough. They were down 3-0 near the end of the first quarter with the ball on their own 34-yard line. This is not a situation that calls for a gamble or statement play. The play call itself was okay I guess: a play action bootleg with two short options. It was read and played perfectly by the Ravens defense. Deshaun Watson had nowhere to go with the ball and had to throw it at Darren Fells' back before getting sacked. That led to a quick Ravens touchdown and an early 10-0 deficit. I seriously think he has PTSD after that playoff loss to the Chiefs when it comes to fourth down calls. Bumbling Bill strikes again!

When they got the ball back, they scored a touchdown thanks to more play action passes and pre-snap motion. It was as if Bumbling Bill realized his offensive line was outmatched by the front seven they're opposing. Sure Watson is mobile and looks like a magician escaping sacks, but misdirection helps throw the defense off and keeps Watson from breaking into 177,000,000 pieces. Oh, and the quick reads were a good idea as well. Too bad Bumbling Bill went away from that and opted for longer developing routes. Or will he blame it on Timid Tim Kelly? Or was Waiting Watson holding onto the ball too long? I blame all three.

Also, can we stop starting drives with the predictable run, run, pass combo please? First down should be play action rollout with Watson having the ability to choose to run if it's there. More run/pass/option plays need to be called as well. Incorporate more things that we saw when Watson was on his way to winning rookie of the year before his knee was sacrificed for the Astros.

Credit where it's due: the end of the first half to get a field goal with a minute and change left was good to see. Typically, these situations tend to make Bumbling Bill come out. I liked the quick slant to Cobb with no timeouts. They were able to spike the ball and get the field goal up.

The game was still within reach at 23-13 in the beginning of the fourth quarter. On a 4th & 1, they gave up a 30 yard touchdown run on a direct snap to Mark Ingram. I saw gaps on both sides of the defensive line pre-snap. Sure enough, Ingram got a lead block from the Ravens human plough of a fullback and that effectively put the nail in the coffin at 30-13. I know the tendency is to quarterback sneak or run up the middle, but don't leave gaps along the defensive line trying to stack the middle. First time defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver will take the L on this one.

Overall, I'll give O'Brien and his coaching staff a C- this game. Mistakes were made that could've cost them a legit shot at winning, but the Keke Coutee fumble return for a touchdown wasn't their fault. The play calling menu was brought to us this week by Craft Pita via the "What's Eric Eating" podcast. Tune in next week for another "Not my job!"

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