The end result was expected, but the journey taken to get there wasn’t. Rather than watch the Jets run the ball and careen off of the best run defense in the NFL for two yards a carry, the Jets did what they should do, and what every team all year should have done when they play the Houston Texans—they threw the football. Sam Darnold found Robby Anderson often. He seeped out of the pocket and made plays. The Jets found and attacked Shareece Wright, like Indy did the week before, before Wright was finally benched for Aaron Colvin.
Houston had some struggles on offense. For whatever reason, they kept trying to chip against all out blitzes instead of keeping their secondary receivers in to block for the duration of the play.
It didn’t work. The Jets blitzed often, like the Colts, Browns, and Titans did, and they had success with it. Often Deshaun Watson was stuck throwing with a free rusher slobbering after him. The Texans also lost Lamar Miller in the first quarter. Alfred Blue played the rest of the game. It went as expected, which is to say the Texans could not run the ball with any success regularly.
Fortunately, the Texans still have DeAndre Hopkins. Nuk was spectacular, chewing up both Morris Claiborne and Trumaine Johnson, sitting against holes in the zone. He caught a deep bomb. Throw it to him deep, and good things happen. Hop also caught the game winning touchdown catch, reminiscent of the same catch he had to beat the Bengals on Monday Night Football back in 2015.
That was all the offense the Texans needed. Sam Darnold had two chances at the end of the game—one to win, and one to tie. On each, the Texans were able to create pressure with their front four and seal the game. It was ugly, but at least it was fun, and not the worst way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Houston heads to Philadelphia to play the Eagles at 12:00 p.m. CST next week. If they win that game, the AFC South will be clinched. If the Titans and Colts lose tomorrow, it will be clinched before then.