Success throughout the season has helped DeMeco Ryans establish himself as a Head coach. He's helped Nick Caserio instill a new culture within the first fifteen games of his tenure. The Houston Texans still have plenty of work to do to reap the rewards of a great start to the campaign. A 30-6 loss to the New York Jets exposed weaknesses Ryans must resolve before the post-season.
Momentum from a 22-17 victory against the Denver Broncos did not seem to matter Sunday afternoon. Robert Saleh and the New York Jets were resilient and were determined to secure a win. Injuries to Bobby Slowik's receiving core hindered his rookie quarterback tremendously. C.J. Stroud had the worst game of his NFL career as Tank Dell (fibula) watched from afar. Nico Collins (calf) contributed 13 receiving yards before leaving the game on the first drive.
A limited receiving core put Slowik's offense at a disadvantage for the first time this campaign. Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed were already noteworthy opponents. Finding open receivers became impossible without Stroud's favorite targets on the field. Devin Singletary (65) and Dare Ogunbowale (7) did their best to jumpstart the offense on the ground. It resulted in a scoreless Texans' first half.
Hiccups on offense cost Houston in the third quarter. C.J. Stroud felt pressure in the pocket throughout the game. It resulted in four sacks. Stalemates on offense put Matt Burke's unit in bad situations. They allowed 30 points in the second half and struggled to slow down Zach Wilson (301). Stroud did his best to make up ground despite the large deficit. He left after receiving a hit from Quinnen Williams mid-way through the fourth quarter. The rookie finished the game with his season low in passing yards (91) and quarterback rating (54.8).
A loss to the New York Jets was the last thing the Texans needed. They are fighting for positioning in the AFC playoff bracket with little room for error. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts will play a role in Houston's playoff odds. Consecutive losses will put Ryans' squad further behind in the hunt.
DeMeco Ryans' staff have issues to figure out before Week 15. C.J. Stroud and Nico Collins suffered significant injuries that could jeopardize the campaign. We expect the next man on the depth chart to fill in if Houston's stars miss time. There's little time to extend the season, but the Texans must persevere.
All statistics courtesy of pff.com.