Houston Texans Film Breakdown: 1st drive sets tone for offense


Aug 9, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Houston Texans quarterback

Ryan Fitzpatrick

(14) throws during the first half against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The very first drive of the game for the Houston Texans on Saturday night set the tone for the remainder of the game, with the Texans not scoring a single point in their preseason opener against the Arizona Cardinals where they lost 32-0.

Here is what I saw in this first drive of the preseason.

• Play No. 1

In the very first offensive drive for the Texans, it was a three-and out where they gained a total of just seven yards.

Those seven yards came on the first snap for the Texans offense with Jonathan Grimes maneuvering past Cardinals linebacker Kevin Minter up the middle, who over-pursued Grimes, on the delayed draw in the backfield.

In this play, Minter was so quick through the line due to what looked like a missed block by tight end Garrett Graham. I thought the Texans’ offensive line had nice protection at the line and up the field, which gave them seven yards. Honesty, this play was lucky to gain any yards, if not seven.

Grimes finished with 39 yards on 10 carries.

• Play No. 2

On the second play, a second-and-3 situation, the Texans were in a single back set. With Fitzpatrick under center, he made just one quick read on the quick throw to Graham.

Cardinals defensive back Tony Jefferson moved off DeAndre Hopkins, and over to Graham, to break up the play. I believe the pass might have been partially tipped in the air, and it looked to be a rushed throw on a fast moving play. It looked to be a the wrong decision by the Texans starting QB.

• Play No. 3

This play was in shotgun with a back to the right of Fitzpatrick. Instead of trying for a first down on the run, the Texans called for a pass play, and again, the offensive line had some nice protection, keeping the backfield clean.

Fitzpatrick, for a second straight was in a hurry, made one read … with Jerraud Powers of the Cardinals breaking up the short pass attempt to Mike Thomas.

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Powers was behind Thomas reading Fitzpatrick and waiting for and jumping all over the pass. That pass could have been intercepted as well.

I believe those three pays set the tone for the Texans offense, and it was a bad tone that was set.

Fitzpatrick finished 6-of-14 for 55 yards and two interceptions, later throwing one interception in each of the two quarters he played in. Case Keenum played the third quarter where he was 3-of-5 for 29 yards, and Tom Savage was 2-of-3 in the final quarter, passing for 14 yards.