In his weekly “Monday Morning Quarterback” column, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King named the Houston Texans’ play calling on their final drive as his “Goat of the Week.”
King wrote on The MMQB website:
“Houston play-calling on the last series in Arizona. I assume offensive coordinator Rick Dennison should wear the goat horns.”
He later went on to describe the play calling:
“With a first down at the Houston 28 at the two-minute warning, down 27-24, Case Keenum threw deep down the right side on the first play (incomplete), then deep down the left side on the third play (also incomplete) in an incongruous four-play series against heavy pressure that showed Houston’s over-reliance on Andre Johnson.”
King ended with the following comments:
“Plenty of time to use underneath throws or the screen game, and the Texans looked like all they wanted to do was go for it all instead of being patient.”
In his “Ten Things I Think I Think,” portion of his column, King praised the play of Johnson, saying:
“What a great player Andre Johnson is. His two touchdown catches in Arizona were miraculous displays of keeping feet inbounds on the last blades of end-zone grass.”
There is a lot that can be said about this play calling.
First off, head coach Gary Kubiak was unable to coach the game due to his recovery from the mini-stroke suffered a week ago, so the regular play caller wasn’t in the stadium.
With Kubiak being the regular play caller for the Texans, maybe Dennison should get a bit of a break … not much, but a bit, because Kubiak has called the plays all season. I’m not a fan of the head coach calling plays in the first place. Why even have an offensive coordinator in place (or a defensive coordinator) if you don’t want them calling the plays?
A head coach should be focused on the overall product, not just one side of the ball during a game, but that’s another discussion for another day.
But looking back at the play calling, King is correct in his assessment about the impatience of the Texans’ defense and how they rely on Johnson just a little too much.
All they needed was three points to tie the score, but again, would you want to put the game in the hands (or leg) of inconsistent kicker Randy Bullock, who has been woeful most of this season?
The play calling was bad in that situation. I’ll give King credit with that, but with no running game, no kicking game, a backup tight end, a rookie No. 2 receiver and no pass protection whatsoever, what else were the Texans supposed to do but to rely on Johnson? They really have no other options right now.