Pro Football Focus has their grades out for various Texans from last night's deflating loss to the Patriots. As always, you may find that you disagree with their assessment, but PFF may also point out a thing or two you had not considered when you watched the game live. Enjoy.
• Brian Hoyer (-1.9 overall) posted his second consecutive negative grade after completing just 50% (11-of-22) of his passes for 155 yards and five sacks before being knocked out of the game.
• The right side of the offensive line struggled as right tackle Derek Newton (-2.3 overall) and right guard Brandon Brooks (-2.2 overall) were the lowest-graded Texans. Newton recorded a -2.7 pass blocking grade after allowing three sacks and a QB hurry.
• Left Tackle Duane Brown was the lone standout for Houston offensively, recording a +1.4 overall grade, including a +2.2 pass blocking grade.
• It was another quiet week for DeAndre Hopkins, who has seen his targets diminish in recent week. Hopkins was targeted a season-low six times, hauling in three of them for 52 yards.
The ol' eye test didn't grade Derek Newton kindly last night either. Good to see that Duane Brown gets credit for holding down the blind side well, though.
• For just the third time this season, J.J. Watt (-1.3 overall) posted a negative grade, highlighted by a -1.7 penalty grade following two flags against him.
• Houston’s two outside linebackers caused havoc all night, led by Whitney Mercilus with a +3.1 overall grade. He recorded one sack, three hurries and two stops. Meanwhile, Jadeveon Clowney (+1.0 overall) recorded two sacks and five stops on the night.
• Kareem Jackson led the way in the secondary with a +1.4 overall rating. He allowed 6-of-9 targets for only 39 yards (4.3 average) with one pass defended.
• On the flip side, Quintin Demps put up his worst performance of the season with a -4.5 overall rating. He allowed his one target to go for a touchdown reception while missing a team-high four tackles.
Whitney Mercilus' development into a consistently good outside linebacker this year has been a very underrated aspect of the Texans' defense. I wasn't a fan of the extension Mercilus got before the season started; now it looks like a truly shrewd move by management.
• It was a rough week for Shane Lechler who posted a -4.8 punting grade against New England.
• On the flip side, Nick Novak posted a +0.6 rating on field goals, while Brian Peters posted a +2.0 overall rating for his coverage on kickoffs and punts.
It really deserves a separate post, but Brian Peters has been simply fantastic since signing with the team in late September. His play has significantly elevated the performance of Houston's kick coverage unit.
• Houston has two of the best run stopping 3-4 outside linebackers as Whitney Mercilus ranks fourth with a run stop percentage of 9.0%, while Jadeveon Clowney ranks sixth with a run stop percentage of 8.5%.
Jadeveon Clowney is basically a rookie, and he's showing marked improvement each week. If he keeps this up, he's going to be everything fans hoped he would be when he was drafted first overall in 2014.
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