Another week goes by and the Texans came out whiffing on offense against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The defense was energized early and throughout, but the secondary looked suspect all day yet again.
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Through the first two quarters of action, the running game was non-existent, outside of a few good runs by Alfred Blue, and the Texans were forced to rely on Ryan Mallett to make plays. He did connect with DeAndre Hopkins early in the game for a touchdown pass to open up Houstonâ€™s scoring with 5:02 to go in the first quarter of action.
There were also some significant drops yet again on some fairly routine plays that the wide receivers failed to capitalize on, some leading to punts.
The Texans were bailed out by bad Tampa Bay penalties in a few situations in which they were stopped and would have been forced to punt, or on turnovers. One key play in particular was a sack and fumble by Ryan Mallett which would have resulted in a turnover and the Bucs threatening in Texans territory if it hadnâ€™t been for a defensive holding penalty.
While the Houston pass rush was touted so highly in the offseason, they have yet to produce a big impact on games. Jameis Winston finished the day unscathed with 0 sacks after coming into the game the 5th most sacked QB in the NFL with 7 total.
Mallett’s lone interception of the contest wasn’€™t directly his fault, it was a solid defensive play by Tampa Bay inside linebacker Kwon Alexander as he had to lay out his body and dive for the ball off of a tipped pass at the line of scrimmage.
The lone touchdown given up by Houstonâ€™s defense was really just another solid, athletic play by Tampa Bay on a screen to Charles Sims. He took the ball 32 yards and followed great up front blocking to the end zone.
To end the second half, the Texans offense had a chance for a 2 minute drill. They started strong, and then were hampered by yet another injury to an offensive lineman. Luckily Brandon Brooks ended up being okay and returning, but on that drive he was lost and the Texans ended up missing a field goal after stalling.
After halftime, the Texans finally forced a turnover against the rookie-led Bucs. Quentin Demps came up big with an interception on the Buccaneers opening drive of the second half. The offense turned around off of a strong showing by Alfred Blue along with a facemask penalty and converted the turnover into a field goal to take the lead 10-9 in the early stages of the third quarter; they never looked back.
Chandler Worthy is electric, but needs to learn return fundamentals, he took a punt on the 2 yard line and ended up fumbling, causing the Texans to have a dead drive in horrid field position. He was bailed out on a turnover altogether by Whitney Mercilus being in position for a great fumble recovery.
The offense went on a bad stretch on third down conversions spanning over the second and third quarters, and went 0-6.
Both of the teams struggled on special teams and missed a total of 4 field goals and 2 PATs.
It was great to see the running game come through in the second half, as Alfred Blue finished with 31 carries for 139 yards and 1 TD. Ryan Mallett also had a strong day, completing 24 of 39 passes for 228 yards and a TD and one interception.
The defense had a strong showing throughout, as they held the Bucs to a meager 1 for 12 on third down conversions. The secondary really needs help if they want to compete for a playoff spot come December. Luckily, the AFC South ended the day in a 4-way tie with all four teams sitting at 1-2.
There is reason for hope in Houston as essentially week 4 begins a brand new season for the entire division, letâ€™s hope they work out the kinks and capitalize on the opportunity.