Getting flexed into Sunday Night Football was not a good thing for the Texans as they lost to the Patriots by three touchdowns. But there are things to take away from every loss. Here is what we learned this past week:
1. The Texans need to shore up their pass protection or Jabaal Sheard is unblockable
Derek Newton did not have a good night at right tackle. Sheard beat him multiple times, including a third down where Sheard stripped Brian Hoyer and forced a loss of 23 yards before Newton recovered the fumble. Overall Hoyer was sacked five times and hit plenty more, ultimately leaving the game with a concussion. Even T.J. Yates went down in the limited time he got–one sack taken and one completion. Ten quarterback hits for the Patriots is unacceptable.
2. We could be seeing Jadeveon Clowney finally starting to sprout
Clowney was in the Patriots backfield all night. J.J. Watt got the majority of the attention, even with a club on his hand. We finally got to see a little bit of what Clowney can do as he was overpowering left tackle Sebastian Vollmer and sometimes the help Vollmer was getting too. Clowney had two sacks, his first career multi-sack game. He also racked up seven total tackles, two for loss and two quarterback hits. If he is finally healthy, he now might finally be showing us signs of things to come.
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3. Once again, there are other weapons besides DeAndre Hopkins (and it wasn’t always their fault for not making plays)
There were so many times in last night’s game where Brian Hoyer was so close to connecting on a big play. Nate Washington dropped at least one pass that he could have caught, even though Hoyer didn’t throw the best passes. His deep balls floated a little too long and caused the receivers to have to reach back for the ball and it allowed the defensive backs a chance to make a play. If a couple of these passes had been connected on, this game would have been much different.
4. The Texans can win in Indy for the first time next week
This game is almost a playoff game for the Texans. If they lose, their playoff hopes are basically finished. With the Chiefs, Jets and Steelers jockeying for position in the wild card race, all currently at 8-5, the Texans have no more than a faint chance to get in other than winning the division. But watching what the Jaguars did in the second half to the hapless Colts defense, there is no reason the Texans shouldn’t be able to go into the big Oil Drum and win.
If the Texans lose, they will be a game back with two to go and the Colts will have swept them. Meaning the Texans would have to win their last two (at the Titans and against the Jags) and the Colts would have to lose to both the Dolphins in Miami and the Titans. I wouldn’t hold my breath on that.
If Clowney can give the Texans another pass rushing threat and take pressure off a hopefully much better J.J. Watt, then the Texans should win next week.