Things started poorly again for the Texans on offense, even as Arian Foster made his first start of the season.
A growing trend we’ve seen is Ryan Mallett having passes tipped and intercepted. It’s one of the worst scenarios for a quarterback, because as a fan, I find it hard pressed to blame a quarterback entirely for a tipped pass interception. With this becoming regularity, it seems more blame must be placed with the QB. Mallett must learn to throw with touch, because at 6’6” he has little excuse for anyone to block his throwing lanes.
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The turnover led to instant offense for Atlanta, as they ended up taking the short field and converting it into a touchdown.
The defense for Houston came out aggressive, maybe too much so, as they let Devonta Freeman scamper straight past the first and second levels for a 16 yard score.
It was clear early: the Falcons game plan surrounds Julio Jones, and there really isn’t much an opposing team can do to stop him. Even with Kareem Jackson and Johnathan Joseph in perfect coverage, he constantly made great catches.
Another trend that is become way too prevalent for this Texan team is defensive penalties in key situations. It seems like multiple times in each game this season, they’ve killed themselves with drive extending penalties on 3rd downs.
One thing I also noticed again this week was Atlanta followed Tampa Bay’s formula for negating the Houston pass rush by throwing each pass within 2-3 seconds on each play. It’s been an extremely effective strategy, and one that defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel must adjust for.
Twice on Atlanta’s final drive of the first quarter that extended into the second, the Texans were called for questionable hands the face and both occurred on great plays made on defense (a batted pass almost intercepted and then a sack).
One thing that is safe to say: Atlanta’s starting running back Devonta Freeman is an animal. It doesn’t matter what defense he’s facing, he’s going to score and it’s going to be often. Start him in every fantasy outlet you participate in because it’s beginning to look like a mistake if you don’t.
The first drive of the second quarter was another repeat of every single offensive drive of the last two years: incomplete, run for no gain, incomplete pass on a third and long, punt; Rinse, lather, repeat. It’s getting tiresome to write that repetitively.
Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. Derek Newton forced our very own Arian Foster to fumble and Atlanta promptly jumped on it and returned it for a touchdown to balloon the lead to 21-0. I’m witnessing the very small modicum of hope I had for this football season dwindle into dust before my eyes. Texans fell behind early in the turnover battle 2 to 0 and it was a difference of 14 points on the scoreboard.
The Texans almost seem to have regressed in mental toughness in year 2 under Bill O’Brien.
They have consistent terrible mental-error based penalties.
I’m also not sure what it is, but the refs in the NFL this year have missed NUMEROUS pass interference and holding calls seemingly only when it’s on a Texans receiver. They sure are quick to throw it in every other game across the league that I watch. A blatant hold by Falcons defensive back on DeAndre Hopkins on a 3rd and 3 in the second quarter was missed and resulted in a punt. That’s inexcusable and ruins a team’s chance of mounting any sort of drive.
The Falcons offense is driven by a fantastic quarterback in Matt Ryan, and he seems to always make the correct decision with the ball in his hands. They have been extremely efficient through the first four weeks of the season and it continued on Sunday against Houston. The entire Houston team looked lost on offense, defense and special teams.
I feel like watching the Texans from a fan’s perspective is way too difficult. Everything that can go wrong has and will go wrong for this team. Offensive lineman forcing fumbles for their own team, more starters being hurt, and even when there’s a great catch and run, it ends in a turnover. The Texans fell behind 3-0 in the turnover battle, and it destroyed them early. They went into halftime down an embarrassing 28-0. Let’s all hide for the rest of the year and come out for 2016.
As soon as I finished writing the last paragraph, the new Texans kicker missed his first field goal in a Houston uniform. I called it before it happened, just because I was flowing with the grain of Houston’s season. I’ll say it again: everything that can go wrong will go wrong. They can never catch any breaks.
The first offensive series for Houston started well with a long completion to wide receiver Keith Mumphrey into Atlanta territory, but stalled on a failed 4th down conversion due to an inaccurate pass to Arian Foster on a simple angle route of 3 yards. Mallett’s inconsistency showed throughout, and if this Houston team wants to have any chance of salvaging the season he needs to right the ship immediately.
The defense seemed uninspired and like they’d given up starting the second half, as they gave up an easy catch and run for 56 yards on a 3rd down play and then the subsequent easy run into the end zone by Devonta Freeman for his third touchdown on the day. The Falcons then went up 35-0 and the Texans continued the embarrassing and pathetic showing in a game many thought would be close.
Even in the 2013 season when Houston went 2-14, the losses were never this embarrassing and horrid and the team never gave up at halftime.
More of the same throughout the third quarter: poor effort, poor tackling, poor execution, poor defense, poor offense. It was truly sad and disconcerting to watch.
I truly feel bad for J.J. Watt, as he is constantly held and illegally blocked, but with no penalties against the opposing team. It feels as if refs want to “level the playing field” because he’s simply too good. That’s complete bull, and the NFL needs to address the obvious problem. Anyone who watches him can see the same thing.
The nightmare was truly realized in the end of the 3rd quarter, when Bill O’Brien went back to Brian Hoyer at quarterback. This season is truly lost of any redemption with the rotating circus at the most important position on the field.
The fourth quarter was just garbage time, as the Falcons were up 42-0. The lack of effort on both sides began to show. the Texans were able to put up some points against the backups, but I wouldn’t take that with any positivity.
The Texans fell to the Falcons by a final score of 48-21.
The Texans head home for a Thursday night matchup against hated division rival Indianapolis, if they want to have a wish of winning they’ll need to seriously reevaluate their approach in the short week.