Somehow, some way, the Texans' passing offense has been sneakily productive this season despite rotating quarterbacks multiple times and missing their best offensive player – Arian Foster – for the majority of the year. Not only have personnel changes kept the offense from reaching their full potential thus far, but Houston also leads the league in dropped passes at 22 (2.75 per game). I suppose Ryan Mallett and his million mile-per-hour throws to receivers that are only five yards beyond the line of scrimmage might have something to do with that.
Despite all of the turmoil and inefficiency, however, the Texans still rank within the top 10 in nearly every major receiving category, including receptions (5th), receiving yards (6th), receiving touchdowns (6th), 25+ yard receptions (8th), receiving first downs (2nd), and first down percentage (5th).
Not only are Houston’s receivers having a surprisingly good year, but Brian Hoyer seems to be finally getting a handle of Bill O’Brien’s offense as well. Here are some (relatively) shocking statistical projections courtesy of the Texans SubReddit.
129/215, 60% completion rate for 1,581 yards, 13 TD/3 INT. [Hoyer is] averaging 35 passes a game.
Out of his six games, he's posted four with a QB rating higher than 100, and has a rating of 97.1 through six games, good for 10th overall in the NFL.
Hoyer is on pace for (through 14 games): 301/502, 60% completion rate for 3,689 yards, 30 TD/7 INT.
Had he started all 16 games, he'd have been on pace for: 344/573, 60% completion rate for 4,216 yards, 35 TD/8 INT.
573 attempts would have been good for 76th all time, right behind Matt Schaub's 2010 campaign. Based on his current stats through 6 games, he appears to be a vastly superior passer than Ryan Fitzpatrick was for us last year.
Even accounting for garbage time production, Hoyer’s numbers are still vastly more impressive than Houston’s record would imply.
[Hoyer’s] 2nd half stats vs Dolphins and Falcons:
Falcons - 17/30 232 2/0
Dolphins - 18/28 212 1/0
Adjusted stat totals for 2015:
94/157 (59.9%), 1,137 yards (227.4 yds/gm), 10 TD/3 INT, 95.4 QB rating.
Projections through 16 games (adjusted):
250/418 (59.9%), 3,638 yards, 32 TD/10 INT, 103.7 QB rating.
Let’s just assume for one second that Brian Hoyer’s adjusted stat totals hold true for the rest of the season and he puts up a 3,000 yard season with a 3:1 touchdown to interception ratio. Let’s also assume that somehow the defense starts to actually play to their potential and ceases to give up 40 points in a single half for the rest of the season. With those kinds of numbers and improvement – drops notwithstanding – can Houston's passing game carry them to the postseason now that Arian Foster is out for the year? With how terrible the AFC South is this season, I would not completely rule it out.
It is easy to despair after how poorly this Texans team has started in the win column, but 2015 is far from over. Best case scenario, Houston finally picks up the pieces and becomes the team we all hoped to see from the beginning of the year. Worst case scenario, we get to watch DeAndre Hopkins continue to have the most ridiculous season for a wide receiver in franchise history. If nothing else, that is a hell of a consolation prize.
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