It wasn't a "sexy" game to watch, but it was brutally effective. Bill O'Brien was determined to hammer away at the running game until the other team was pummeled into submission, and it worked. By the fourth quarter, Tampa's defense was on their heels and getting blasted backwards at nearly every snap of the ball. Houston's offensive line has been a carousel in every position except for Ben Jones at center, yet they did an excellent job opening up gaping holes for the running backs all day.
I thought Ryan Mallett looked much better in this game, and the wide receivers looked "slightly" better. There are still missed opportunities with drops and positioning, but that should continue to improve as the players get more comfortable together. I'm convinced that this is the result of not having all of training camp with the same quarterback working with the first-team offense.
The pass rush provided consistent pressure, but didn't hit the stat line with any sacks. Rookie quarterback Jameis Winston got rid of the ball quickly, which is more of an indication that the Texans' secondary wasn't playing tight enough coverage at the snap. Who could blame them with Tampa's oversized targets in Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson?
Houston racked up 30 first downs, 186 rushing yards, and dominated time of possession for over 36 minutes in this "grind-fest." The defense only allowed one third down conversion out of twelve opportunities for the Buccaneers. The war of attrition ended in favor of the good guys, and Houston is on the board with their first win of the season.
Summary of Key Stats
|Net Rushing Yards||57||186|
|Net Passing Yards||261||227|
|Total Net Yards||318||413|
|Third Down Efficiency||1/12 (8%)||8/18 (44%)|
|Field Goals (made/attempted)||1 / 4||2 / 3|
|Extra Points (made/attempted)||0 / 1||1 / 2|
|Kicking (made/attempted)||0 / 1||1 / 2|
|Two Point Conversions (made/attempted)||0 / 0||0 / 0|
|Fumbles / Lost||2 / 0||2 / 0|
|Penalties (QTY / Yards)||10 - 84||6 - 58|
|Fumbles Recovered (defense)||0||0|
|Time of Possession||23:44||36:16|
|Red Zone Efficiency||0/1 (0%)||1/2 (50%)|
|Goal To Go Efficiency||0/0 (0%)||1/2 (50%)|
|Points From Turnovers||6||3|
Around the AFC South...
Hey, look! We're all tied for first place! Oh, wait. We are also all tied for last place.
The Colts (1-2)
Andrew Luck pulled another 4th-quarter hat-trick to come from behind to beat Tennessee 35-33. Indy will host Jacksonville next, and it's anyone's guess as to which team will win that AFC South tilt at Lucas Oil Field.
The Jaguars (1-2)
Jacksonville was completely eviscerated by the Patriots (3-0) up in New England by a score of 51- 17. They now head to Indy for their first game against a division opponent this season.
The Titans (1-2)
Rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota threw two touchdowns and a franchise record 367 yards. He also tied Mark Rypien (Washington, 1988) as the only two quarterbacks to throw for eight touchdowns in their first three NFL games. None of that would matter though, as Tennessee would blow their 27-14 lead when Andrew Luck racked up two touchdowns within 56 seconds in a 4th-quarter comeback.
The Titans are so upset by the loss to the Colts that they'll take next week off to think things through. Well, the NFL also happened to schedule their bye in Week 4, too.
"I'm a doctor, not a place kicker!"
INJURY STATUS THIS GAME
OT - Duane Brown (DNP) Thumb
RB - Arian Foster (DNP) Groin
ILB - Mike Mohamed (DNP) Calf
G - Xavier Su'a-Filo (DNP) Calf
G - Brandon Brooks: Suffered an ankle sprain during the game and is "day to day."
Movie Quote (name it):
"Based on the findings of the report, my conclusion was that this idea was not a practical deterrent for reasons which at this moment must be all too obvious."
Bravo Zulu - Alfred Blue
(Bravo Zulu is a naval signal, conveyed by flag hoist or vocal, for "Well Done")
The second-year running back delivered big with 139 yards rushing on 31 attempts and scored a touchdown on a 20-yard burst into the end zone. Honorable mention goes to an offensive line that has been a story of "musical chairs" for the first three weeks of the season. They rammed their way throughout the game to help deliver 186 rushing yards on 46 attempts.
Stories From The Brig
Special teams continue to struggle in returns and in coverage. It wouldn't surprise me if this is the major focus this week after some comments made by O'Brien after the game. Houston is still trying to find a good punt and kick returner, and the coverage teams are allowing too many return yards. It seems like this would be enough to go get Charles James, as he played with incredible heart and delivered results on special teams during training camp.
Randy Bullock has been inconsistent through three games, but so have many kickers around the league. They are all adjusting to the new distance of the point after touchdown. The Texans are working out five kickers today, but that is likely just to know who is available should Bullock continue to struggle. I doubt that they will replace him this soon.
The team needs to get more turnovers, and then get more points off turnovers. This will come, I'm sure of it!
Movie Quote II (a/k/a the hint)
"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room."
I realize there is a lot of "coverage exhaustion" around J.J. Watt, but I just had to include this sweet Tweet:
Happy 98th Birthday Great-Grandma. I love you. pic.twitter.com/PofItfO29s— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) September 29, 2015
Alright, since we brought in Watt and Twitter, we may as well show some more of his off-field "Liberty Call" moments:
Let's go below deck and see what the chef has for us this week...
"Kicked-up Scotch Eggs"
These things are amazing for entertaining, and especially great for tailgating.
This recipe is from Emeril Lagasse of Food Network.
1 1/2 pounds country-style sausage, casings removed and crumbled
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 hard-boiled eggs, shells removed
1 cup bread crumbs
Creole seasoning, recipe follows
1/2 cup flour
1 beaten egg
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying the eggs
Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
In a large bowl combine the sausage, cayenne and salt. Divide into 4 portions and on a sheet of waxed paper, shape each portion into a thin round. Place 1 hard-boiled egg on the sausage round and wrap to enclose the egg, patting gently to smooth the surface. (This step is much easier with wet hands.)
Season the bread crumbs with Creole seasoning. Dredge the sausage-wrapped egg in the flour, then dip in the egg and roll in the bread crumbs until well coated. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to cook.
In a deep fryer or large heavy skillet, heat 2 to 3 inches of oil to 350 degrees F. Fry the eggs, 2 at a time until golden brown and crisp, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels before serving.
My favorite twist on this recipe is to devil the yolks after slicing these in half.
On The Horizon...
The Texans head to Atlanta to play the Falcons (3-0) next Sunday.
Buccaneers vs Texans coverage
Texans vs Falcons coverage