Houston Texans: Rushing numbers need to improve moving forward after bye week

Houston Texans running back David Johnson (31) Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Houston Texans running back David Johnson (31) Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /
houston texans, david johnson
Houston Texans running back David Johnson (31) Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

The Houston Texans rank need to use David and Duke Johnson better moving forward.

It is no secret that the Houston Texans aren’t playing very good team football. Sure, there have been bright spots at times, and there have been a few incredible plays, but where it matters the most — overall team play — the Texans aren’t where they need to be.

This is more about the 1-6 overall record the Houston Texans have collected thus far this season as they are in their bye week, and the following numbers are a case to show their inconsistency of how poorly they have played as a team in 2020.

One of the stats that stands out the most for team offense is they are 22nd in points per game at 23.7, which most likely affects the 21st overall ranking ion touchdowns per game at 2.7. In breaking down the touchdowns per game for the Houston Texans, in rushing they are 28th overall as they are scoring fewer than one touchdown per game on the ground at 0.6.

The Texans are also next to last in rushing yards per game this season at 84.9 yards as a team. That said, they are also 31st in rushing rushing attempts per game with 21.6, so all of those above numbers all start with how many rushes a game the Texans have.

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As the lead running back for the Texans, the play of David Johnson could be better, but also some of the blame for his lack of success overall this season has to do with how he’s used in games each week.

Johnson was in the infamous trade that sent DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals, so already the expectations are very high in that regard.

Now after seven games, Johnson has 101 rushes for 392 yards, as he’s averaging just 3.9 yards per carry. His longest rush went for 29 yards, and he’s scored three touchdowns, while also rushing for 22 first downs.

Those aren’t the best numbers, but c’mon, Johnson hasn’t been used correctly. He’s been rushed up the middle too many times, and it would be nice to see his skill set for rushing outside the tackles used a bit more, because the numbers now for Johnson aren’t working.

When a team like the Houston Texans trades maybe their best player in Hopkins for a running back, you would figure they would know how to use him to be the most productive player he can be.

Since head coach Bill O’Brien was fired and offensive coordinator Tim Kelly was handed full control of the offensive scheme and play calling, Johnson has had the following numbers:

Oct. 14 vs. Jacksonville: 17-96-0 (5.6 yards per carry)

Oct. 18 at Tennessee: 19-57-1 (3.0 yards per carry)

Oct. 25 vs. Green Bay: 14-42-0 (3.0 yards per carry)

In the first four games with O’Brien still in charge, Johnson had rushing totals of 77, 34, 23 and 63 yards with two touchdowns. In those four games, he totaled 52 carries averaging 3.9 yards per carry.

So with or without O’Brien around, the numbers for Johnson are really the same and haven’t improved. Granted, there have been some issues with the offensive line once again, and the Houston Texans have had to use the passing game more as they’ve trailed in games, but this rushing game must improve for the Texans just to see what they can achieve in the future and what they need to fix.

Houston Texans: Don’t forget about Duke Johnson

Also, the Texans should be using Duke Johnson more in the overall scheme of the offense. This past Sunday, Duke Johnson played in just 29 percent of the Texans offensive snaps, as he was on the field for 20 plays.

David Johnson played 54 snaps for 79 percent of the offensive snaps. As for their production, David Johnson had 14 carries for 42 yards, with a longest rush of 13 yards. He also caught four passes for 42 yards and a touchdown on four targets.

Duke Johnson has five receptions on five targets for 43 yards. Rushing wasn’t as productive with one carry for -1 yard.

Duke Johnson needs to be used more in games … it is that simple. He needs to have more than one single carry in a game against a team like Green Bay, and if nothing else, find ways to get him the ball in passing plays, because he rarely misses opportunities to make a play with his receiving abilities.

In 2020, Duke Johnson only has 18 rushing attempts for 54 yards, which is a shame because he’s better than that, right? Johnson is averaging 3.0 yards per carry, and his longest rush has been for 10 yards.

Where things need to change for Duke Johnson is his receiving because he needs more opportunities to showcase his skills. In the seven games played, Duke Johnson has been targeted in the passing game just 13 times for 10 receptions and 77 yards receiving.

Johnson is averaging 7.7 yards per reception, but it would be nice to see how good he could become with more opportunity.

Not a whole lot has made sense when it comes to how the Houston Texans have used their running backs this season. Whether it be stubborn play calling, lack of trust in abilities or just not knowing what they are doing, the coaching staff of the Texans needs some blame on how both David Johnson and Duke Johnson have been used in 2020.

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Maybe after the bye week some creativity will be used with the running backs, because both players are much better than what has been seen this season.