Texans Tidbits–what we learned from week 15
By Josh McSwain
The Texans finally broke through and won in Indianapolis for the first time in franchise history yesterday. As they say, 14th time is a charm (okay, they don’t say that but it applies here). Here’s what we learned from the big win:
1. The quarterback situation is going to be crazy down the stretch
Now that it has been confirmed that T.J. Yates is out for the season with a torn ACL, that leaves Brandon Weeden in line to start in week 16 at Tennessee, who will be without Marcus Mariota (just as they were in the first meeting). Of course, that is dependent on how Brian Hoyer is doing. He missed last week while in concussion protocol, but perhaps he could be back this week. The team has signed B.J. Daniels as insurance. Daniels has two catches for 18 yards and a punt return for seven yards in his career, mostly spent as a receiver. He was a quarterback at South Florida, but his lack of NFL quarterbacking experience is something that sticks out to me. This is a very uninspiring statement but I would have rather they signed Christian Ponder as a backup to Weeden because Ponder is more experienced. If you really want to be ambitious, bring in Tim Tebow. He can launch some passes up in the direction of DeAndre Hopkins and actually give the Texans a running game! Okay maybe not, but his average yards per carry is five, the Texans have averaged 3.6 this season.
2. Alfred Blue can run
Blue ran for 107 yards on 20 carries yesterday. The Colts are now 25th in rushing yards allowed and in yards per carry allowed. New Orleans is another team Blue had success against and they are dead last in yards per carry allowed. Ironically though his best game of the season came against a top 10 run defense in Tampa Bay, in which he he averaged over a yard more per carry than the Buccaneers give up on average. Even though Blue has been better as a receiving threat out of the backfield, he still seems like the best bet the Texans have to establish a running game. The playoffs are where that will really be needed, assuming of course the Texans win the division.
3. The pass rush can do its job
Even though the Texans only got three sacks on the day, they had an additional eight quarterback hits and five passes were deflected. The sacks came from Whitney Mercilus, John Simon and Benardrick McKinney. J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney both only got one quarterback hit each, but there’s no doubt they freed up the other guys to make plays. It tells teams, okay you can slow down Watt but other guys are going to get you. The diversity in pass rush will be needed in the playoffs.
4. DeAndre Hopkins is the best receiver in the game
Alright, I’m sure there’s some disagreement on this one. Yes, there are some great receivers out there right now. Julio Jones in Atlanta has had a great year, Odell Beckham makes a lot of big plays (and others that aren’t so smart), and then there is Antonio Brown. The Steelers standout is a phenomenal player, no doubt about it. He’s absolutely lit it up this season. He’s also done it with three different quarterbacks. Hopkins has now had four, but that’s not the big thing here. Look at some of the other targets that Ben Roethlisberger has had over the years, specifically Santonio Holmes and Mike Wallace. Once they left Pittsburgh they weren’t even close to the same. While Brown is a great player, I also imagine he would drop off some if he wasn’t catching passes from Big Ben. Meanwhile, Hopkins has been an elite player no matter which quarterback Houston has rolled out this year. He’s gone over 90 yards seven times this season with a merry-go-round quarterback situation. I know not everyone will agree on this, but right now I put Hopkins at the top of my list.