The 2016 NFL Season came in with a roar last Thursday night with the Carolina-Denver Super Bowl rematch that looked more like a royal rumble and then went out with a whimper as the anemic Los Angeles Rams barely seemed to field a team for the second and final Monday Night Football game.
With that, the stats for Week One are locked in, which means we can take a look at how the Houston Texans did in the measurable (but often meaningless) world of NFL stats.
First off, Houston’s shiny new signal-caller didn’t light the world on fire statistically, but he didn’t burn it down either. In most categories, Brock Osweiler was in the middle of the pack, going 22 of 35 for a 62.9% completions rating, gaining 231 yards, with two scores and the one heart-stopping interception. With a little more help from his receivers, Osweiler would have finished in the top ten in most categories when you take into account the multiple missed opportunities from Will Fuller and DeAndre Hopkins.
The other key free agent acquisition, running back Lamar Miller, held the league lead in rushing yards until Pittsburgh’s DeAngelo Williams shot by him on Monday night. Miller’s 28 rushes against the Bears were the most in the league, while his 106 yards were the second-most. Although Miller never broke a big one, he seemed like he was going to at any moment. The grind-the-clock strategy employed by the Texans late in the game certainly skewed Miller’s stats, but he’s still one of only two RBs to have 100+ yards going into Week Two.
First round draft pick and resident rocket Will Fuller landed himself in the top ten in receiving yards with 107 on five catches for a healthy 21.4 yards per catch average. These numbers not only made Fuller the first rookie first round pick with a hundred yard game in Week One since 1984, but it was also the highest Week One total of any rookie receiver in Texans history.
Houston’s leading scorer for the week was kicker Nick Novak, who put up 11 points on three field goals and two extra points.
Rookie Tyler Ervin had the sixth-best kickoff return game of the week, racing his way to 73 yards on three attempts. Ervin is another guy seemingly about to break a big one at any moment. Between him, Lamar Miller, and Will Fuller, the Texans are a threat to go all the way if one of them gets out in the open field.
While Shane Lechler didn’t have a career day, his 48.6 yards per punt were enough to help the Texans’ coverage teams pin the Bears deep on multiple occasions.
On defense, Whitney Mercilus led the charge with two of the team’s five total sacks. If you firmly believe the in-the-grasp rule should be enforced more consistently, that would be six with one that wasn’t credited for J.J. Watt as well.
Safety Andre Hal had the team’s only interception. Although Whitney Mercilus had a strip-sack, Cutler ultimately recovered the ball after A.J. Bouye whiffed on the scoop and score.
Obviously, the following should be taken with a gigantic block of salt, but if you extrapolate the Texans’ numbers from Week One over sixteen games, here’s what we’d have:
Brock Osweiler: 3,696 yards, 32 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions.
Lamar Miller: 1,696 rushing yards.
Will Fuller: 1,712 receiving yards.
Nick Novak: 176 points.
Tyler Ervin: 1,168 kickoff return yards.
Andre Hal: 16 interceptions.
Whitney Mercilus: 32 sacks (and 16 forced fumbles).
Add in what DeAndre Hopkins, Braxton Miller, Jaelen Strong, J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, Kareem Jackson and Johnathan Joseph will bring, and this could be a team for the ages.
Of course, in the end, the only stat that matters is wins and losses. Houston is 1-0.
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