It was a season of endless promise, and it had good reason to be. The prospective talents of the Houston Texans’ defense were formidable. J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus were all primed to set the leagues offenses aflame. While Watt may have not been around to do so for the entire season, the Texans’ defense nonetheless lived up to their lofty billing.
Today’s playoff game should have been a complete wipeout. Historically speaking, these two teams may not have even been on the same plane of existence due to how one-sided the past encounters have been. Tonight’s clash, however, was for the most part an aberration from that norm, and that was because of the Texans’ defense. All through the night, the Texans stifled the Patriots’ running game and through wonderful usage of delayed stunts and A-gap blitzing forced Tom Brady off his spot and usually into the open arms of a Texans’ defender for a loss. Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel’s schematic approach to attacking Brady was masterful, and its execution by Mercilus and Clowney was done with laser like precision.
Like the Cliffs of Moher, erosion never ceases, and neither does the Patriots’ offense. While the Texans’ defense may have been the sole reason as to why the game was as close as it was for as long as it was, it is not invunerable. Late in the third and fourth quarter, the Patriots’ offense struck a rhythm that they would play continously until the end of the game. They honed in on the Texans’ lack of athleticism at the MLB position and used this to put Dion Lewis up against Benardrick McKinney in man to man coverage. This simple match-up was where the Texans were weakest, and it showed as two of the Patriots TDs were RB vs. LB matchups with McKinney covering.
You may have noticed I haven’t mentioned a single thing about the Texans’ offense. It’s with good reason. We’re going to write endless paragraphs with endless words about this offense over the coming months, but tonight it was what we all knew it was—a fundamental weakness which would be our downfall. The QB play was abhorrent. Brock Osweiler struggled and while he occasionally flashed a nice throw with some nice velocity and placement, it was ultimately fleeting moments of genius stranded within an endless desert of woeful decision-making, poor mechanics, and terrible accuracy. His three interceptions during the second half gave the Patriots two extra possessions that they promptly used to add the the growing gap between them and the Texans.
This season was given life by the defense. That life was taken away by the offense.
This is your post-game thread. Have at it.