Texans survived the Jets 29-22

The good, bad, and ugly from the Texans win over the Jets

The good, bad, and ugly from the Texans win over the Jets
J.J. Watt came up big. Steven Ryan/Getty Images

Another game against an opponent the Texans were favored to beat handily, another grind it out win. The Texans survived the Jets 29-22. Here's how I saw things:

The Good

-Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins got back into a rhythm this game, and it started early. Hopkins had five catches for 108 yards and a touchdown in the first half. He ended the game with 10 for 170 and two TDs. The second touchdown was a catch only a handful of receivers could make and put them ahead for good. Hopkins appeared to have hurt his ankle on the play.

-J.J. Watt came up big with two sacks this game. The first ended the Jets opening drive. The second helped end all hope of a Jet comeback. He now has 14.5 sacks on the season. While he won't win another Defensive MVP award, he's a shoe-in for Comeback Player of the Year.

-Kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn went 5 for 5 in the game and saved the team's ass again. He is 29 of 34 on the season and consistently bails out the sputtering offense with long field goals. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: he should get serious consideration for team MVP.

The Bad

-Sam Darnold ate big. He ran for two key first downs and used his legs to create a throwing lane for his first touchdown. He ended the game 24 of 38 for 253 yards and two touchdowns passing with six carries for 35 yards rushing. All of this on a gimpy ankle.

-I saw D.J. Reader drop into coverage in a short hook zone at spy depth. It led to the Jets first touchdown because Reader wasn't athletic enough to make a play on Darnold, or the pass. This is when Romeo Crennel gets too cute. Reader is a 347-pound defensive lineman. He should never drop into coverage! Ever! Let the fat boys do what fat boys do!

-Missed tackles plagued this defense once again. The Jets had several decent runs off missed tackles. Darnold's runs mentioned above came off missed tackles. He also escaped a couple sacks. This will be a problem in the playoffs.

The Ugly

-Watson was sacked six times this game. The first was controversial because he was escaping the sack as the ref blew the whistle and it forced them to kick a field goal. The rest were mainly on him. He likes to extend plays, but fails to get rid of the damn ball! Can't blame the offensive line when the quarterback does dumb stuff.

-Lamar Miller left the game with an ankle injury and didn't return. The run game suffered because of it and it was obvious. The team had 48 yards rushing, with Watson totaling 27 of them. This could be crippling (pun intended) moving forward into the playoffs.

-The defensive backs again showed why that position is a top priority in the offseason. Sharece Wright gives up double move catches like his awareness rating on Madden is a 22 and Jonathan Joseph gives more cushion in coverage than Texas Mattress Makers. Not even going into how bad the others are because it's obvious how bad this unit is.

10-4 with two games left against struggling opponents isn't a bad spot to be in. However, barely scraping by against teams of lesser talent will make for an early playoff exit. This isn't how you bounce back after a disappointing loss. Here's to hoping Miller and Hopkins can come back. Otherwise, this team will lose in the first round. Hell, if they don't play better, they may lose if those two are healthy.

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Allen had high praise for Diggs. Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images.

Impersonal as it might seem to have their dynamic on-field relationship end with an exchange of phone texts, Bills quarterback Josh Allen made it clear on Thursday how much receiver Stefon Diggs meant to him during their four seasons together in Buffalo.

Allen made no mention of Diggs’ mercurial temperament or the occasional sideline flare-ups by expressing only praise in his first opportunity to discuss his now-former teammate being traded to the Houston Texans earlier this month.

“Just thanking him for everything that he did for me, and (I’ll) always have a spot in my heart for him. I’ll always love that guy like a brother. And I wish him nothing but the best,” Allen said, in disclosing what he texted to Diggs. “My lasting memory of Stef will be the receiver that helped me become the quarterback that I am today.”

Brought together in March 2020, when Buffalo gave up a first-round draft pick to acquire Diggs in a trade with Minnesota, the duo went on to re-write many of Buffalo's single-season passing and scoring records, and lead the team to four straight AFC East titles.

Diggs, now 30, also brought an inescapable sense of drama with him in raising questions about his commitment to the Bills and whether his tight relationship with Allen had soured.

A day before being traded, Diggs posted a message, “You sure?” on the social media platform X in response to someone suggesting he wasn’t essential to Allen’s success.

Whatever hard feelings, if any, lingered as Buffalo opened its voluntary workout sessions this week were not apparent from Allen or coach Sean McDermott, who also addressed reporters for the first time since Diggs was traded.

“Stef’s a great player, really enjoyed our time together. Won a lot of games and he was a huge factor in winning those games. We’ll miss him,” McDermott said. “You never replace a player like Stef Diggs, and we wish him well.”

Allen turned his focus to the future and a Bills team that spent much of the offseason retooling an aging and expensive roster.

Aside from trading Diggs, salary cap restrictions led to Buffalo cutting respected center Mitch Morse, the breakup of a veteran secondary that had been together since 2017, and the team unable to afford re-signing No. 2 receiver Gabe Davis.

“I don’t think it’s a wrong thing or a bad thing to get younger,” said Allen, entering his seventh NFL season. “I think it’s an opportunity for myself to grow as a leader. And to bring along some of these young guys and new guys that we’ve brought in to our team. And that’s an opportunity, frankly, that I’m very excited about."

Despite the departures, the Bills offense is not exactly lacking even though general manager Brandon Beane is expected to target selecting a receiver with his first pick — currently 28th overall — in the draft next week.

Receiver Khalil Shakir enters his third year and tight end Dalton Kincaid enter his second following promising seasons. Buffalo also added veteran experience in signing free agent receiver Curtis Samuel and Mack Hollins.

While Beane acknowledged the Bills lack a true No. 1 receiver, he noted there’s less urgency to fill that spot now than in 2020 because of how much the offense has developed under Allen.

“Now that Josh has ascended to the player he is, is that a requirement? I don’t think so,” Beane said.

Diggs’ role also began diminishing in the second half of last season, which coincided with Joe Brady replacing Ken Dorsey as offensive coordinator. Brady placed an emphasis on adding balance to a pass-heavy attack and getting more receivers involved, which led to an uptick in production for Shakir and Kincaid.

While Diggs’ numbers dropped, Buffalo’s win total increased.

With the Bills at 6-6, Diggs ranked third in the NFL with 83 catches, seventh with 969 yards and tied for third with eight TDs receiving. Buffalo then closed the season with five straight wins in which Diggs combined for 24 catches for 214 yards and no scores.

”(Diggs) meant a lot. You look at the statistics, they don’t lie,” Allen said, in referring to Diggs topping 100 catches and 1,000 yards in each of his four seasons in Buffalo. “I don’t get paid to make changes on the team. I get paid to be the best quarterback that I can be and try to lead the guys on this team.”

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