Texans vs Panthers: Second Half Observations
By Aarik Long
The Houston Texans fell short on Sunday with a 16-10 loss to the Carolina Panthers, falling to 2-2 overall the season.
I’ll start on a good note. This defensive play from the Texans shows the ability to be an amazing defense. You see it with all the best defenses at both the college level and in the NFL. The Texans put pressure on Kyle Allen forcing a checkdown. After the pass is completed, multiple defenders swarm to the ball all at once and hold the receiver to no gain.
Fast-forward to the start of the fourth quarter, and things aren’t looking quite as good. Again, the Texans get pressure on the quarterback. This time, it’s enough to force an incomplete pass, but with the ball in field goal range, the Panthers would be able to turn it into points.
I hate pointing fingers at defensive backs for not catching balls, but had that pass been intercepted, it would have been a whole different ball game. Instead, the ball bounces off of the defender’s hands and out of bounds.
Later on, the Texans are looking to get back into the lead. On a third-and-19, the Panthers drop seven guys in coverage and only bring a four-man pressure. With that, the offensive line holds up better than they did for most of the game and gives Deshaun Watson plenty of time.
I’ll admit, no one was wide-open and near the first down marker, but Watson decides the throw the ball into double coverage. Not just double coverage, but double coverage with a third defender closing in. It’s not a pass you can be risking in a three-point game about 13 minutes left in the game.
Finally, the play that basically sealed the game for the Panthers. J.J. Watt does J.J. Watt things and gets into the backfield with relative ease, but then he whiffs. Can you put blame on Watt? Probably.
What’s worse about the play, though, is the breakdown of the coverage leading to a relatively easy pass and catch. If the Texans get a sack or force an incompletion, they would be getting the ball back with close to three minutes left in the game and still only down six. That is a much better situation than the 28 seconds that the Texans had to work with on their final drive.
Overall, it wasn’t an extremely bad game for the Texans. Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson both played decently well. The Texans put pressure on Allen on the defensive side of the ball.
The Texans won the turnover battle, but a few plays went bad for Houston and ultimately gave Carolina a big win on the road in Houston.