Houston Texans find answers in Week 17 loss
By Jair Lopez
The Houston Texans sat their starters and gave the backups some run against the Tennessee Titans in Week 17.
The Houston Texans ended the 2019 regular season at 10-6 after entering Week 17 with their playoff destiny already revealed, and the final result against the Tennessee Titans having no effect of their postseason opponent. The outcome of the game was certain, with only one team playing the majority of their starters and Tennessee competing to secure a win to earn their ticket to the playoffs.
The Texans offense played conservatively against the Titans defense and did not attempt to incorporate too many different concepts with the playoffs less than a week away. A.J. McCarron played well given his status as a backup going 21 of 36 for 225 yards and throwing a meaningless interception near the end of the game.
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The former Alabama quarterback took the Texans down the field to score against the Titans defense in the opening drive of the game and raised some eyebrows with his ability to orchestrate a scoring possession against a first-string defense.
Although considered more of a prototypical pocket passer, McCarron scored a rushing touchdown to start the second half and finished the game with five carries for 39 yards. He showed enough promise in his start to warrant an extension in Houston or compete for a job elsewhere.
McCarron was mainly accurate as a passer to watch how the Texans’ receivers fared against the Titans’ pass defense.
However, none of the backup receivers flashed outside of DeAndre Carter, who caught six of his seven targets for 65 yards. Keke Coutee and Steven Mitchell caught a combined three of their eight targets for 44 yards.
Meanwhile, Jordan Akins played well at tight end catching five of his seven targets for 54 yards, and Jordan Thomas caught one out of the three passes thrown his direction for eight yards.
No backup made enough noise to shake up the pecking order in the depth chart as it was to be expected. Although Carter solidified himself as the preferred backup option at wide receiver after getting the start over Coutee.
Coutee had an outside shot of earning a role in the offense with Will Fuller suffering a groin injury that could sideline him against the Buffalo Bills. However, Coutee could be relegated once again after a subpar performance in the last week of the regular season.
The Texans are expected to count with most of their contributors after resting the majority of their starters for their game against the Bills this Saturday.