The Houston Texans wrapped up the 2019 regular season with a loss, but they did so by resting key players for the playoffs.
The Week 17 regular season finale for the Houston Texans was more like a bye week of sorts (and a late Christmas gift to the Tennessee Titans) as they rested many starters, losing to the visiting Titans by a 35-14 score.
Tennessee’s win over the Texans put the Titans in the playoffs as the No. 6 seed (they will be facing the New England Patriots), and for the Texans they had already wrapped up the AFC South championship a week earlier. Houston also already sealed their playoff bracket No. 4 seed earlier in the day due to the Kansas City Chiefs defeating the Los Angeles Chargers, 31-21.
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As for the Week 17 game on Sunday in Houston, it wasn’t anything to really remember, as Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins, and others didn’t play in the loss. It was good to see the reserve players on the roster get some in-game action before the Wild Card playoff game against the Buffalo Bills next Saturday (3:45 p.m. CT start), because you never know when they will be needed.
A.J. McCarron came in as the starting quarterback on Sunday, and in his first real in-game action in quite some time (remember he was injured this past preseason) finished 21-of-36 for 225 yards with no touchdowns and one interception.
McCarron also collected 39 yards rushing and one rushing score on five carries, with the reserve quarterback averaging 7.8 yards per carry against the Titans.
Duke Johnson caught some passes out of the backfield for the Texans on Sunday, wrapping up his regular season with five receptions for 45 yards, and he also carried the football four times for 12 yards. This season Johnson has been great to have as a pass-catching running back.
Johnson finished regular season totaling 83 carries for 410 yards rushing and two touchdowns (averaging 4.9 yards per carry), plus he totaled 44 receptions for 410 yards and three touchdowns. Johnson averaged 9.3 yards per reception, with his best reception going for 21 yards against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 9.
In this loss, DeAndre Carter stepped up at wide receiver for the Texans with six receptions for 65 yards on seven targets. Carter could become a “secret weapon” of sorts in the Wild Card playoff game against Buffalo, especially if the trio of Hopkins, Kenny Stills and Will Fuller aren’t all on the field and ready to go on Saturday, Jan. 4.
This was a game of mostly rest for the Texans, and knowing they was no chance at seeding improvement at kickoff it was the right decision as the Texans kept their stars healthy. Next is the playoffs and now the fun really begins against the Bills.