2014 feels like 2013 for the Texans
It’s Monday morning. The frustration and anger from yesterday’s heart wrenching loss to the Texans is now more of a dull headache. Losses in the NFL happen, a once in four year loss to that other team in Texas is painful. Watching an offense lose the game, not just lost the game but lose hope is hard doubly so coming off the 2013 season. It’s easy to let emotion cloud judgment, it’s tough being a fan when you watch the Texans right now. On one hand you might say “Hey, we’re 3-2, last year we were 2-3!” Reality sets in. The Texans are one Kendrick Lewis red zone strip, one J.J. Watt pick 6 from a 2-3 start.
Over the course of 5 games the Texans are 27 – 68 in converting 3rd downs.
Folks, we’ve heard this song and done this dance before. 2014 feels like 2013 for the Texans. The fans won’t stand for it, the players have to be furious right now. In three days the Texans play another game. Not just any game, their first divisional game as the Colts roll into town with sights set on quashing any early thoughts people had that the Texans would take the AFC crown back. Right now it’s looking like the Colts won’t have to try to hard. The Colts have scored 152 points this year. Houston? 104. The Colts have yes, allowed 108 points to Houston’s 87 they are a high powered offense.
Can the Texans beat Indianapolis at NRG, on a short turn Thursday night game in front of the nation? After yesterday’s game it’s hard to say yes to that without huge quantifiers and blind faith. The Texans CAN win, it is the NFL “any given Sunday” means something however let’s break it down.
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Houston’s offense is anemic. Over the course of 5 games the Texans are 27 – 68 in converting 3rd downs. That’s not even 40% of third downs converted! You can’t win games converting so poorly. There is no rhythm, no flow to the game and the defense gets worn down. Which leads us to the other problem. The defense which has saved us is now banged up. The secondary is beat up badly, even J.J. Watt is nursing bruised thigh. It’s fine to have a great a defense, it doesn’t help if they are on the field constantly.
Facing the Colts, the Texans will have a depleted secondary, an offense out of synch and restless fans still angered at losing to Dallas. That wasn’t just a loss, it was a pride game and in Texas football is taken right serious. If the offense sputters, if the team starts going 3 and out, if Andrew Luck drops some long bombs on a tired and inexperienced secondary the boo’s will come. NRG will be an angry place on Thursday.
How to fix this? Start with the offense. Bill O’Brien hand picked Ryan Fitzpatrick because he was enamored with the mans beard, oh and football IQ. He brought in an offense that was “complex and requires a high football IQ to run”. Maybe his offense is everything he says it is. Fitzpatrick is a smart man who doesn’t lack for heart or effort. What he lacks, is consistency and under fire decision making skills. If the bearded wonder fails to get things going, again the Texans will have to make changes at quarterback. We gave New England a 7th round draft pick for Ryan Mallett, he is supposed to know what the offense is like. Give the man the ball and let’s see what he can do.
The season isn’t lost, yet. However the Texans need to shake things up, need to figure out an offense that isn’t “Arian, go save us” cause that is what the Texans have at the moment. Bill O’Brien needs to dig deep and face the mirror on some of his choices, throwing on 3-2 when the run game starts to click for example, and learn from that. Most of all, Houston is at a critical “Must win”, to save the season, the fans and the hope of the players that bought into the O’Brien way. It’s not over, but a loss this Thursday night under the lights of national television would be disastrous.
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