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Red Zone Play: Will Injuries Derail Newfound Hope?

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Houston Texans Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Mark your calendar. Your Houston Texans did a thing. Let’s take a quick look. Last weekend, the Texans:

  • went into one of the most hostile stadiums in the NFL.
  • faced a Super Bowl contender as underdogs.
  • went down early and were behind 17-3 at one point.
  • lost the turnover battle.
  • did all this in a nationally televised game where Bill O’Brien hasn’t exactly shined.

The Chiefs hadn’t lost back-to-back games since 2015. Best of all:

Houston won!

But at what price?

The Texans entered the game without stalwart cornerback Johnathan Joseph and then lost CB2 Bradley Roby before the game was over. Word on the street is Roby will miss at least a month. That’s going to hurt.

With a veritable Who’s Who of “who?!” behind Roby, the Texans’ flat management team should be burning up the phone lines looking for help at the cornerback position. Right now, rookie Lonnie Johnson Jr. is the most capable corner available to face the Colts.

Here’s another thing that never happens: The Texans have gone two straight games without giving up a sack. In the Bill O’Brien era, that sort of thing only happens in consecutive weeks when the Texans don’t actually play either week - like in March.

The new offensive line is finally gelling, Laremy Tunsil is giving fans hope he was worth leveraging the future to sign and rookies Tytus Howard and Max Sharping, along with vets Zach Fulton and Roderick Johnson, are finally working as one. But wait...

Next week is a revenge match for sure. While a lot of the Texans’ offensive unit wasn’t around last season, it’s hard to be anywhere near NRG Stadium and not grimace at the mention of the last time the Texans faced the Colts - when they got blown out in the Wild Card Round of the NFL Playoffs.

With these key injuries, Bill O’Brien is going to have to get really crafty to find ways to take down Frank Reich and AFC South rival Colts. If they do pull out another win, the Texans will be firmly seated at the top of the division, with Indy, Tennessee and Jacksonville fighting over who gets to hang out in the basement.

While the musical chairs on the Texans’ offensive line shouldn’t stop them from doing good things against the Colts, even with the loss of Howard, giving the ball to the Colts with Jacoby Brissett working behind a far better line might be worrisome. Take heart, if Brisset leaves the game, his backup is none other than Brian “I’ll Throw Me Some Interceptions” Hoyer.

The 2019 Houston Texans seem to have finally rounded the bend and proven they’re a team that finds a way to win. That’s the X-factor that a guy like Deshaun Watson brings and why building a brick wall offensive line around him is so important.

Apparently, Bill O’Brien has given Watson more and more freedom to do what he does best: win. Which probably led to this:


Houston quarterback DESHAUN WATSON passed for 280 yards and had three total touchdowns (two rushing, one passing) in the Texans’ 31-24 win at Kansas City.

Watson has 7,508 passing yards in 29 career games and tied MARC BULGER (29 games), Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (29) and MATTHEW STAFFORD (29) as quarterbacks to reach 7,500 career passing yards in the second-fewest games in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer KURT WARNER (27 games) reached 7,500 passing yards in fewer games.

One thing is for sure, this Texans team is all about bucking the odds, juking the national media narrative and doing things people don’t expect. Hopefully one thing we can expect is for them to beat the Colts and move closer to the proverbial Red Zone.

Who do you think Houston should target to fill the cornerback hole? Think they can stand pat on the offensive line? Give us your virtual armchair general manager flat earth management team decisions in the comments.