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Red Zone Play: Back In The Zone

What happened to move the Texans back into the Red Zone?

NFL: Houston Texans at New England Patriots Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s my theory of what’s happened this season so far:

Bill O’Brien took a look at the schedule and thought, “Open against the Jaguars at home – that’s an easy win. Then, we play Cincinnati. Heh – we own their [kitten]... Theeennn... New England. This time. This time I’m gonna beat ‘em… err… we’re gonna beat em. Just can’t show my cards in the first two games… I’ll need to leave Tom Savage and Jeff Allen in there to help play opossum, call a lot of vanilla plays, make Bill (Belichick) think our offense is a total mess. Then when we get to New England <whack> right in the mouth!”

Once O’Brien started getting pantsed by the Jaguars, the shock of how bad he was making the team look forced his hand and he pulled Savage.

And the Red Zone needle clicked one notch closer to the goal line.

Then Jeff Allen went down and was replaced by Greg Mancz.

And the Red Zone needle clicked another notch closer to the goal line.

Then the Texans actually took the field in New England, and O’Brien pulled the cover off his new hot rod and put the pedal to the metal.

Unfortunately, the lack of Duane Brown, starting caliber safeties, Will Fuller, CJF350 and a pack of “blind chimpanzees in zebra costumes” (a/k/a “The New England Cheatriot effect”) was more than O’Brien, Jadeveon Clowney (Pick Six!) and Deshaun Watson could overcome.

While Houston didn’t get the W in this one, our Texans did put the league on notice that with a few minor tweaks, the guard just might be a’changing.

Gone is any of the “Watson’s pass velocity is below the NFL minimum threshold”.

Gone also is the “J.J. Watt will never be the same again.” (For those who haven’t read the PFF piece, Watt is the best interior defensive lineman in the league through three weeks – just as he should be.)

Unfortunately, what’s also gone is Duane Brown’s Pro Bowl caliber left tackle play. At this point, Rick Smith should be calling Minnesota to see if they want to trade him for Harrison Smith.

What is here, however, is arguably the most electric quarterback to the enter the NFL in years. As we watched the game Sunday (had to catch the very end, then go back and watch from the beginning on DVR due to circumstances beyond my control), the same thought kept coming up: “It’s like watching Brett Favre’s brain control Randall Cunningham’s body.”

Play after play, Watson made something out of nothing. Had Tom Savage been the starter, or worse Brock Osweiler, this game would have been much closer to my prediction of a total Patriots blowout.

Thankfully, even though we didn’t win, my prediction was wildly wrong and we got a look at the shape of things to come. The Texans finally appear to have the best quarterback in franchise history. Once they solidify the offensive line, the sky is the limit for this kid and the red zone awaits. Deshaun Watson barely missed out on multiple NCAA national championships. But with a little help from his friends, when it’s all said and done, Watson should be holding multiple Lombardi Trophies.

Here’s a few bullet points to discuss in the comments section:

  • Go vote for Deshaun Watson in the Rookie of the Week poll.
  • Trade Duane Brown NOW.
  • Find a way to shore up the offensive line. Despite improved play, Sunday’s performance still ranked dead last in pass blocking efficiency.
  • Has Brian Cushing played his last down as a Texan?
  • Imagine what Deshaun Watson will be able to do when Will Fuller and C.J. Fiedorowicz come back.
  • How excited are you to see Watson now? How far can he and the newly awakened Houston defense take this team?