Why the Texans are still exciting

Tyrann Mathieu is in a contract year. Christian Petersen/Getty Images

I know you saw that dumpster fire that was a Texans game last week and decided to swear off watching them for the rest of the season. I also know you’re lying. You’ll watch, you can’t help yourself. Despite better uses for your time, you will park yourself in front of a TV for the weekly punishment you receive as a Texans fan. But it doesn’t have to be all bad. There are some aspects of this team that can be exciting if you focus only on them and ignore everything else, namely the score.

Obviously, expectations for the season were high because the offense that averaged 35 points a game with Deshaun Watson under center in 2017 was going to pick up right where it left off. That didn’t happen but if you take a very narrow focus you see they’re not that far off. Deshaun Watson is on pace for more than 25 touchdowns, 4,500 yards passing, and 600 yards rushing.

He is getting it done by connecting with his two great receivers, DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller. As a 1-2 receiver combination they are on their way to some pretty good statistics for the season. Hopkins' numbers after three games project that he could have over 1,400 yards receiving and 100 receptions. Fuller is on track for double digit touchdowns and more than 1,100 yards as well. That is offensive output a fan can be proud of. As long you ignore the sacks, bad throws, bad play calling and lack of scoring.

If you think there’s no way those numbers hold up over a full season, guess again. The defense for Houston appears to be as bad as it was last year. That means there will be a lot of games in which the Texans offense will have to forge a comeback. That means a lot of passing. I know it means Lamar Miller will continue his current path to a sub 1,000 yard season, but he’s not as exciting as an aerial attack. It’s easy to ignore him.

I know I said the defense is bad but there are still exciting players to watch. J.J. Watt is the hometown hero making his triumphant return to the gridiron and he looks like he is finding his form with three sacks after three games. That means he is on pace for 16 sacks this year. That’s not bad for a guy coming off injury and he could be the comeback player of the year. After all, he has to win all the awards, right?

Let’s not forget GM Brian Gaine’s big free agent signing Tyrann Mathieu. He came to Houston on a one year, prove-it deal. Essentially, this is a contract year for him and we all know how fun it is to watch players in a contract year go all out. The rest of this season will be his audition for the new team he signs with next year. He’ll make some big hits, cause some turnovers, and generally be fun to watch. If you ignore how terrible the rest of Houston’s secondary is then you have no worries. You can assume that because Mathieu plays great, all is well.

Ignorance is bliss, right? If you’re going to watch the Texans this year—and you know you will—then putting on blinders is the only way to go. Big time stats by big time stars can help you forget the misery of the rest of the team and the scoreboard.


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Another tough loss for Houston. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans lost again as their road game ineptitude continues. Former Texans stars DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt helped the Cardinals to the 31-5 victory.

1. The lack of talent is getting exposed earlier and earlier each week. The Texans have seen games slip away faster and faster from them each week. The team is overmatched almost everywhere.

2. Penalties remain a problem for the Texans. It seems like clockwork the team gets an illegal motion or illegal formation each week. Jordan Akins torpedoed a drive with a chop block. Max Scharping erased a positive play with a hold.

3. Davis Mills had some solid moments, but again, this team isn't good. It is hard to assess Mills with this team. He's making quicker decisions but he doesn't have the time or the players to make big plays.

4. The offensive line stinks. The interior of the line is still a mess and with Laremy Tunsil down the edges find themselves shaky as well. The running backs don't block well. The blocking tight ends don't block well. It is bad football in what was supposed to be a much-improved unit.

5. Desmond King was the best returner in the preseason. The team elected to give Andre Roberts an opportunity for a few games, but with his departure, the duties went to King. King is the most successful returner the Texans have had in a long while. Yes, it is that clear after just one game.

6. Max Scharping was benched in favor of Justin McCray. McCray produced similar levels of success. Scharping was benched last year for a journey-man veteran as well. The former second-round pick isn't getting it done.

7. Speaking of former second-round picks, Lonnie Johnson had an interception. That was the highlight of his day. Otherwise, Johnson frequently has me asking "what is Lonnie Johnson doing?" The former second-round pick at cornerback has been less than impressive at safety. Johnson seems to frequently be out of position or making the wrong choice in coverage.

8. DeAndre Hopkins had a solid day against the team that traded him away. Hopkins hauled in seven catches for 53 yards and a touchdown. After he scored, Hopkins looked to bring his hands together and mimic a prayer motion. I don't anticipate this was a nod to Arian Foster but perhaps could this have been about Jack Easterby?

9. The Texans had some sacks, but little of that action came when the game was close. Jonathan Greenard added two sacks to his total. The success Greenard is having is frustrating when you consider he couldn't get on the field last season. Charles Omenihu returned to action and had some pressures for the defense.

10. During the game reports surfaced that the Panthers might be interested in trading for Deshaun Watson. It was also reported by the Houston Chronicle Watson had vetoed a trade to Philadelphia, so the Eagles will not be involved in the Watson sweepstakes. The Panthers can only trade two first-round picks. The Miami Dolphins have three first-round picks they can trade for Deshaun Watson.

11. The Texans decided on a "culture" head coach in David Culley. His team has looked lifeless on the road. While the Texans took their beating, the Lions gave it their all against a good Rams team. Detroit is winless, but they play harder and better than the Texans. It grows clearer each week "culture" is meaningless if the team can't win.

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