Houston Texans management throughout games has been an issue in the Bill O’Brien era.
The Houston Texans have had a history of poor management in-game situations since Bill O’Brien was hired as the head coach in 2014. Texans have been rather functional from a player and coaches relationship since the players tend to play with the desired effort with O’Brien as the coach.
However, O’Brien’s undeniable flaw is his decision making throughout a game as the Texans’ head coach. These mistakes could be excusable from a person that is currently in his first job in the NFL as a head coach, but he has to be held accountable for mistakes that lead to the potential outcome of a game.
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O’Brien went unscathed after he burned two timeouts and a challenge in the first half against the New Orleans Saints in Week 1. However, his most recent mistake came in the closing seconds of the first half against the Jacksonville Jaguars when Deshaun Watson completed a first-down throw to wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins in Jaguars’ territory with 43 seconds remaining.
It took the offense 20 seconds to line up and snap the football for Watson to scramble for a short four-yard gain for the Texans to use their first timeout of the game. With 16 seconds left in the first half, Watson threw a deep dime to the right side of the field to Kenny Stills so he could step out of bounds and stop the clock with nine seconds remaining. However, the damage was already done.
The playbook decreases exponentially with less than ten seconds on the clock at the four-yard line. Coverage is tighter closer to the endzone and the quarterback has less time to go through his progressions or scramble with the area so congested.
If there is no quick throw, the smart move is to throw the football away to allow the offense to run another play, but the Texans were facing a tough decision with two seconds remaining. They elected to leave the half with three points instead of risking going scoreless in their last drive of the half.
Watson and O’Brien both deserve the blame for not knowing the situation they were in with less than two minutes left in the half. Losing all that time saved the Jaguars from potentially allowing the Texans from scoring their first touchdown at that point of the game since Ka’imi Fairbairn was brought in to kick a field goal on 2nd-and-goal.
Texans ended up holding on to the lead at 13-12 but the game could have easily been another loss if Justin Reid doesn’t stop Leonard Fournette from breaking into the endzone for a two-point conversion.
O’Brien and timeouts might seem like a minor problem at the surface level when the Texans won, but the problem is real and it needs to be addressed to prevent potential losses like the one that was looming late in the game.