Texans Tidbits–What we Learned From Week 17


In case you were stuck on a desert island this Sunday, the Houston Texans are in the playoffs as the champions of the AFC South! At the midpoint of the season, it would have looked impossible but Houston won seven of their last nine and are in the playoffs. Here is the rest of what we learned from the regular season finale:

1. Brian Hoyer was not rusty at all

Even though he faced a depleted Jacksonville defense that has struggled against the pass all year, Hoyer showed few signs of rust in this one. He completed 25/40 passes and a touchdown. He did have an interception, but that was on a tipped ball that went straight into the hands of Davon House. As you might have guessed DeAndre Hopkins led the team with seven catches, but Hoyer did spread the ball around to Jaelen Strong, who had six catches (he has really come on late in the year) and four to Jonathan Grimes out of the backfield. Hoyer will be ready to go next week in the wild card round.

2. The Texans are among the best pass rushing units in the league

While the offensive line has been another weak point for the Jags this season, the Texans still racked up eight sacks in this game. Whitney Mercilus led the charge with 3.5 and J.J. Watt added three of his own. Watt beat former second overall pick Luke Joeckel all game long and never allowed Blake Bortles to get in a rhythm with his receivers. Fortunately the Jaguars passing game is more explosive than the one they will see against Kansas City (more on that coming), but the trouble that the Texans have had covering tight ends could resurface as they face Travis Kelce again.

3. The first round opponent will be the Kansas City Chiefs

With the Denver Broncos winning, the Chiefs now are the fifth seed and will come to Houston for the first game of the playoffs this coming Saturday at 4:30 ET. While this will be an entertaining rematch of the first game of the season for both teams, I don’t think much from that matchup can be applied to this game. Brian Hoyer was struggling early in the season and Ryan Mallett actually got the Texans back in the game. Well now Hoyer is the unquestioned top guy and likely won’t be coming out unless there’s an injury.

While the Chiefs come in on a ten game winning streak, they only beat two teams with a winning record in that stretch. The Michael Vick led Steelers and the Broncos in Denver, where they intercepted Peyton Manning four times. However, it should be mentioned in the Texans 7-2 finish to the season that they too only beat two teams with winning records–the Bengals in Cincinnati and the Jets at home. Two great defenses will take the field. It should be a great one.