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Texans v. Patriots—Five Positive Takeaways From Thursday Night Football

For all the bad in last week’s embarrassing loss to the Patriots, there were some things for Texans fans to get excited about.

NFL: Houston Texans at New England Patriots
J.J. looking disappointed is one of my top five least favorite things.
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday night was ugly with a side of soul-crushing. The offense was stifled at every turn, special teams fumbles accounted for 14 points in the Patriots’ favor, and the defense couldn’t keep pressure on rookie QB Jacoby Brissett. There was a lot of bad and not much good as the Texans fell 27-0 in Foxborough.

There are already plenty of honest-yet-hurtful articles circulating that break down the numerous mistakes made by the Texans last week. In an attempt to alleviate some of our collective depression, I’m going to look instead at five positives that we can take away from the outcomes of Week Three.

  1. Benardrick McKinney was an absolute MONSTER on Thursday. He had 16 tackles and a sack on the night, the best statistical performance of his NFL career. The positives in this game were few and far between, but the promise of McKinney continuing to develop into such a disruptive defensive weapon is hugely important for the Texans’ future.
  2. DeAndre Hopkins is still otherworldly. How he manages to always keep his toes in-bounds is beyond me, but he makes some of the most phenomenal catches I have ever seen. There were only a few moments of Thursday night’s game that weren’t painful, and Hopkins was responsible for half of them. My dad is a Patriots fan, and the only text he dared to send me all night was, “God he’s good.”
  3. The Patriots are consistently playoff contenders and Super Bowl favorites, so we have to keep some perspective. Yes, this blowout was hard to watch, and it highlighted several major weaknesses that the Texans will need to address moving forward. But they lost to a very, very good team, led by perhaps the best coach in the history of the NFL. Houston is 2-1 now and needs to focus on the remainder of the season.
  4. The rest of the AFC South has played so badly that the Texans are still the division leaders. The 27-0 beating the Texans took on Thursday makes it feel like their record is worse than it is. Houston still has as many wins as all of the other teams in their division combined (Titans 1-2, Colts 1-2, Jaguars 0-3) and a good shot at renewing their division title.
  5. Houston hosts the Tennessee Titans this Sunday at NRG Stadium. What a wonderful opportunity for a bounce-back! QB Marcus Mariota has struggled this season, with four TDs to four INTs and three fumbles, making him a vulnerable target for a Houston defense that excels at forcing turnovers. The Texans have a long week to recover, and a great chance to turn it around this weekend at home.

This is your space to vent about the week’s events or to find the good in a bad performance, Texans fans. Use the comments section to worry aloud, console one another, and discuss what we can do better next week. The floor is yours.