The Houston Texans played disappointing football on Sunday in Nashville with a 20-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans. What is next for the Texans, and what was the fallout from the loss?
What is wrong with the Houston Texans, and just what is next for the team that had high expectations a few weeks ago, but now are 0-2 and look no better than they did following Deshaun Watson’s injury last season?
Sunday was the most disappointing loss for the Texans in quite some time because the Titans were handing them opportunities before the game even started with two offensive tackle ruled out and starting quarterback Marcus Mariota not playing a single snap. Even with the Texans having those advantages on their side, not much happened in their favor, and they lost by three points.
The Texans defense only allowed one touchdown, as the first Titans score came off a fake punt and the other six points came off field goals. Something needs reevaluated this week before the third game of the season, as the Texans have another chance to win a game as they’ll be facing the 0-2 New York Giants for the home opener of 2018. Before then, here are the headlines from the loss to the Titans.
• Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com wrote about the poor play of the Texans’ offensive lines, as their pass blocking was basically non-existent. In the article Barshop wrote about the situation:
"“But for the second week in a row, the offensive line struggled to protect Deshaun Watson. In the Texans’ 20-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, Watson was hit nine times and sacked four times.”"
Going into the season, the offensive line was a question mark for this franchise, and looking at the production thus far, it seems like the answer is they aren’t good at protecting their franchise quarterback.
Play like that is inexcusable for the Texans, and the front office and coaching staff should have done more this past offseason to improve their first line of protection for their quarterback, who was entering the 2018 season coming off ACL recovery. The run blocking is fine with Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue combining for over 100-yards rushing, but pass protecting was not at an NFL level on Sunday.
• Teresa M. Walker of The Associated Press (via sfchronicle.com) had an article following Sunday’s loss about how health isn’t translating into wins for the Texans after the first two games.
"“Slow starts hurt Houston in each of its first two games. New England led 21-6 at halftime in the opener, and Tennessee led 14-0 at the end of the first quarter …”"
Slow starts are one of the reasons for the overall performance of the Texans, and it is the reason they are sitting winless after the first two weeks. With the first two weeks out of the way, even in facing the Giants in Week 3 this coming Sunday, if they get off to another slow start, something will have to change. The question is: what change would be needed?
• Enough of the negative, how about something positive … the positive being the return to the field and production of Will Fuller on Sunday. Fuller led the Texans with eight receptions for 113 yards and caught one touchdown. Drew Dougherty of HoustonTexans.com reported on the return of Fuller, quoting the wide receiver about his touchdown reception:
"“I just ran fast,” Fuller said. “Malcolm Butler was pressing me and I beat him off the line and Deshaun threw a perfect pass.”"
Fuller can become a really big-time player in the NFL, and playing opposite of DeAndre Hopkins, they have the abilities to become the best 1-2 wide receiver duo in the league as both wide receivers — on a day where their quarterback was being hit from all directions — each still had over 100 yards receiving each.
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All of the Texans need to have this mindset because it is going to be a very long week of answering questions and forgetting, but hopefully learning, following the two losses to start the season. Week 3 will be very intriguing to see how the Texans respond, and to see if they can gain their first win of the season against the Giants next Sunday.