We have seen the Houston Texans offense struggle to get going this season, but we have never seen them manhandled like it was in in Minnesota today.
The Vikings blitzed and bashed Houston all day in a 31-13 beatdown as Brock Osweiler was sacked four times and rarely had time to get the ball to his big-play receivers. The dominating win moves Minnesota to 5-0 on the season and looking like an early Super Bowl contender. The Texans, meanwhile, looked like a team that continues to fail to play well on the road against tough teams.
Osweiler didn’t have time in the pocket at all, and it affected the offense all day. He completed 19 of his 42 pass attempts for 184 yards, and threw an interception and a late touchdown.
DeAndre Hopkins was pretty much a non-factor all day, targeted only nine times for five catches for 56 yards. He did catch a meaningless touchdown in the fourth quarter. Will Fuller was also pretty much indivisible, catching one pass for four yards while dropping two passes that would have been for big yards.
Lamar Miller was also held in check, rushing for eight times for 20 yards and catching only a 12-yard pass. Most of the Texans rushing yards came in garbage time by Alfred Blue, rushing six times for 39 yards.
Meanwhile, the Vikings offense jumped on the Texans in the first quarter, scoring two quick touchdowns and a field goal to take a 17-0 lead. A 71-yard punt return by Marcus Sherels made it 24-0 and the blowout was underway.
The Texans got on the board as Nick Novak kicked two field goals in the second quarter to cut the lead to 24-6 at halftime, but the Texans offense still was unable to put together a decent drive.
Meanwhile the Texans defense played somewhat better after giving up two touchdowns in the first quarter. Defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney probably had one of his better games as a Texan with eight tackles, four of them for losses. Linebacker Bernard McKinney led the team with 10 tackles. The front seven did hold the Vikings to only 96 yards rushing in the game.
But the Texans secondary was no match for quarterback Sam Bradford, who was 22-of-30 for 271 yards and two touchdowns. The Minnesota receivers caught almost anything Bradford threw at them, and the Texans could not stop them.
Adam Thielen had a field day against Charles James III, who played for the injured Johnathan Joseph. Thielen had seven catches for 127 yards and a 36-yard touchdown pass on the first drive of the game.
The Texans will have to again adjust for next week as they face Indianapolis in a key AFC South game next Sunday night at home.
If the Texans want to avoid another embarrassment on national television, the team will have to make adjustments on protecting Osweiler and getting out to a fast start.