Injuries shouldn't have doomed the Houston Texans against the New York Jets

The Houston Texans lost to the New York Jets and while injuries played a hand, that wasn't what doomed the team.
Houston Texans v New York Jets
Houston Texans v New York Jets / Al Bello/GettyImages

The Houston Texans got embarrassed on Sunday in their 30-6 loss to the New York Jets, thanks in part to injuries plaguing the offense. With Tank Dell already out, the team then saw Nico Collins go down early in the game, hurting the team's offense even more. The offense has over-relied on C.J. Stroud's passing all season, and with Dell and now Collins out, Stroud was given a lot of the load to carry against an impressive Jets front seven.

The Jets plagued Stroud all game, with ESPN reporting that Stroud was pressured 44% of his dropbacks. And all that pressure would eventually catch up with him, with all-world defensive tackle Quinnen Williams tagging Stroud hard; a shot that resulted in Stroud receiving a concussion.

Just two series prior, the Texans scored their first touchdown to draw the game to a 14-6 in favor of the Jets. The defense fell apart and, having allowed another 16 points in the final quarter alone, both before and after Stroud's injury. And this all happened before Stroud's injury. So even if Stroud hadn't gotten concussed, the Texans still only mustered six points with him on the field, while the Jets put up 24.

The defense really gave up the ball in a lot of ways, not literally, but figuratively. Yes, losing Stroud didn't help. Having a ho-hum offensive didn't help either. Giving Devin Singletary just 13 carries and running the ball just 19 times when your quarterback can't find a rhythm didn't help at all.

But watching the defense make Jets quarterback Zach Wilson look like how we expected Stroud to play was the worst part of the game. Now, Wilson may be a better quarterback than we're being led to believe, the Jets' offense isn't just bad at passing the ball, they're just bad.

That's on coaching, so maybe Wilson is better than we think. But regardless of who he is, the onus of the game was for the somewhat efficient defense to continue to play to the level they've been over the last few weeks and not play down to their competition, which is what they did. The Jets' defense decided this game early and often, and all the Texans defense had to do was play half as good as them and this game likely ended up better than it did.

Now, there's plenty of blame to be thrown at Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans, as his inability to run the ball and use Singletary properly has been an issue for months, and had the Texans used the running game better, then maybe Houston cobbles together more than six points. Regardless, losing Stroud and Collins isn't why the Texans lost; the Texans lost because they have no offensive identity outside of Stroud and the defense didn't do anything worth mentioning to stop Wilson.

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