There were two astronomical questions entering this week from the Texans’ perspective. Is the offense for real? How is this defense going to perform without J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus? Both of these questions seemed to be answered after this game.
Since putting the offense in a reversing machine and switching Tom Savage for Deshaun Watson at quarterback, the Texans offense has been dynamic and incredible. Things weren’t for sure though. They obliterated and left the worst pass defenses in the NFL, Tennessee, New England, and Cleveland, splayed and severed. But they struggled against the better defenses Cincinnati and Kansas City have. Things weren’t entirely known.
Then yesterday happened. The Texans took it to the ‘Legion of Boom’, a classic pass defense that is currently ranked 5th in DVOA. Deshaun Watson only threw for 402 yards and averaged 13.4 yards an attempt. Will Fuller V caught two touchdowns on five receptions because all he does is catch touchdowns. Do you think he ever gets tired of it? DeAndre Hopkins had 8 catches and picked up 224 yards including what was thought to be a game winning touchdown pass that came on a screen. The Texans turned the Seahawks’ defense into a pink mist. All questions regarding the offense are evaporated. This is a great one, and it should only get better as Watson gets even more playing time.
The defense on the other hand, was completely disheveled. Like what was previously thought, giving up only ten points to the Browns and their horrendous passing offense didn’t mean much at all. They can’t stop teams with above average quarterbacks. They have one plus pass rusher in Jadeveon Clowney. Everyone else provides little. Their secondary that was the strength of the team last year, is now a weakness. Kareem Jackson, as Dead Coach put it, is a good defender, but sub par corner. Kevin Johnson isn’t showing that same explosion when he breaks on the ball. Andre Hal can’t tackle. Marcus Gilchrist isn’t good. And the spare pieces that collect snaps here and there are liabilities. They can’t get to the quarterback quick enough to make up for a secondary that can’t cover.
The run defense should continue to be good however. Clowney is one of the best run defenders in the NFL, if he’s not already the best in the league from the defensive end position. DJ Reader and Benardrick McKinney are monsters in the middle. And everyone else is good enough. They probably won’t hold running backs to 3 yards on 16 carries often, but they are going to be barbwire on first and second down.
As the season progresses we are going to see more games like this against good offenses. The polarity has flipped. Town closing shootouts that require Deshaun Watson to drag the defense by the tongue will be the norm. The offense will continue to be incredible, and the defense will now be the group holding this team back. It’s amazing how quickly things can change.
Considering all that went on leading up to the game, this was setting up to be the best regular season win of the Bill O'Brien Era.
But then two things happened. First, another late knuckleheaded play call by the head coach who had the chance to end the game on offense rather than put it in the hands of an abhorrent late-game defense. Second, well, an abhorrent late-game defense.
The bottom line is this. Yes, you want to trust your defense. But you also have to trust your eyes and your game "feel". Deshaun Watson did whatever he wanted out there, and Russell Wilson was SHREDDING the Texans defense.
Just so much dumb. It was all right there, right in their hands.
Cosigned everything Chris just said.
New offensive coordinator Dabo Swinney has done wonders with Deshaun Watson and the rest of the offense. The problem is that head coach Bill O'Brien continues to manage his team and game plan incredibly conservatively. This should have been a win, and it's frustrating as kitten it was not.
The view, from deep in my Himalayan redoubt, reminded me of the old Gary Kubiak/Frank Bush days, when we'd win shootouts because of Matt Schaub's gunslinging tendencies (like the Washington game that gave us the famous photo of Dre looking like Ali). Only this time our offense is better and our defense—at least our secondary—might actually be worse.
Also, if my ten year old knows that asking Lamar Miller to gain four yards on an inside run is a bad idea, BOB should as well.
I want “Not Lamar Miller up the A-Gap! Anything but Lamar Miller up the A-Gap!” on my tombstone.
This is the exact same feeling that I had after the Patriots game. I just...I just can't right now.
I don't like procrastinating for the most part because it's an endlessly slippery slope which offers little to no reward and makes fools of even the most respected and knowledgeable analysts.
I think I did well with whole ''If Deshaun Watson is good then nothing else matters'' prediction though. Watson is the gift that never stops giving. He just went into Seattle against one of the best defenses in the league and was the focal point of an offense that put up 38 points. That just boggles the mind. He is, without a doubt, the best quarterback the Texans have ever had. I don't feel like that's hyperbole in any way, shape, or form, he's just been that damn good.
Yet, the rest of the team isn't that good. The defense (sans Jadeveon Clowney) was mostly pretty bad yesterday, and the secondary was the leaky hull which eventually sunk the Texans ship. Clunky metaphors aside, it's the same story as the Patriots and Chiefs game. It isn't a success because we won. It's a success because each week we got to enjoy and rejoice in the fact that we are no longer in the quagmirical hell that is not having a good QB.
We had ‘em, we friggin’ had them. And if it weren’t for a complete bedcrapping by the defense in the last minute of the game, the Texans would’ve pulled off the improbable. But it didn’t help that the Texans ran up the middle on offense again, needing four yards when you have a mobile quarterback who has gashed this Seahawks defense with his feet.
That being said, the Texans did so much better than I had any right to expect of them. Given the potential for low morale, the incomplete defense (get well soon Watt and Mercilus), and who they were going up against, this could have been such a buttkicking.
But it wasn’t. The Texans managed to match the Seahawks point for point for most of the game. That’s pretty damn impressive. I can’t wait to see what this team can do with a competent defense.