Texans Week 9 - The Team Overcomes Bad News

If there was a week for the Texans to have an excuse for poor play, Game 9 against the Jacksonville Jags was a perfect storm.

  • They were out of their comfort zone having to time shift and body shift to London for the Sunday kickoff that would occur early on Sunday morning according to their body clocks
  • They had just lost their defensive leader for the season (again) in JJ Watt
  • They did not have a Jadeveon Clowney to fall back on for QB pressure with Watt out
  • They were without the services of their Left Tackle Laremy Tunsil for the game
  • Their secondary was filled with newbies (either new to the NFL or new to the Texans) with Tashaun Gipson, Lonnie Johnson and Bradley Roby out for another game
  • They did not have top line receiver Will Fuller (again)
  • They had not played particularly well against the Jags and backup QB Gardner Minshew in the first game, escaping a loss by literally an inch or two on a last gasp two point conversion try by Jacksonville.
This was actually quite a critical game for the Texans. If they lost this game and the Colts and Titans won theirs, Houston would be in a three way tie at 5-4 in the division and 1-1/2 games behind the 6-2 Colts heading into the bye week. Considering the Texans would be facing the Ravens (who just took apart the Patriots), Colts and Pats in a row, they could have fallen hopelessly behind the Colts and possibly out of the Wild Card race itself.

Instead the Texans played a complete game and throttled the Jags 26-3 to move up to 6-3 and a 1/2 game up on the Colts and 2 games up on the 4-5 Jags and Titans in the AFC South. The Texans helped put to bed any rumors of Nick Foles backing up Minshew when he returns from his injury (probably this coming week) as Minshew looked more like a 6th round draft choice and rookie than some mustached folk hero in this game. Minshew led the team to the single FG on its first 6 drives (we will ignore the single play "drive" at the end of the half) and then sealed the deal with two interceptions followed by two fumbles on the Jags last 4 possessions.

Minshew threw for 100+ yards more than Deshaun Watson, but Watson looked like the cool calm veteran riding a great running game from Carlos Hyde and his own extremely efficient passing game to a solid win over a divisional foe.

  • The Texans forced 4 turnovers and only gave up a single fumble (more on that in a second) on the day
  • Carlos Hyde (and the o-line) was outstanding in the running game for the day as he went 19 for 160 yards. He had a 58 yard run that ended in a fumble at the two yard line instead of a 60 yard TD only because he did not move the ball to his outside arm.
  • Watson was in complete control, only sacked once and hit 22 of 28 for 2 TDs and 0 interceptions along with running for 37 yards on 7 carries. He again had some Houdini moves and throws, none more imaginative than his "here take this" lateral to Carlos Hyde while being taken down by the Jags' pass rush.
  • Coach BOB did a good job all around in this game. The imaginative play calling - a rollout pass to Jordan Akins on 4th and 2 and a little flick of a pass that almost worked like a handoff to Darren Fells for a 1 yard TD pass - come to mind.
  • The o-line opened holes for 212 yds rushing on the day and more importantly only gave up 1 sack on Watson for the game (reference the 6 sacks and 4 sacks the Jags tagged on Watson the last two times they have played)
  • The defense held the Jags to 3 points. They bowed up and stopped the Jags from having sustained drives and took advantage of the opportunities to grab turnovers down the stretch to ice this game
  • Jahleel Addae's interception on an overthrow helped thwart one of the Jags last gasps when the Jags were still within two scores.
  • Justin Reid's pick and 37 yard return set up a Watson to DeAndre Hopkins 1 yard TD that pushed the Texans to an insurmountable 26-3 lead.
  • Brennan Scarlett did his best JJ replacement effort with 2 sacks and a forced fumble and newly signed Briean Boddy-Calhoun had a sack and a forced fumble too
  • Gareon Conley continues to look like a great fit for this team with 2 pass defenses, 8 tackles and fine coverage all day long
  • Zach Cunningham continues to play solid with 7 tackles and a 24 yd return of a recovered fumble
  • The defense on a whole gave up almost 400 yards total, but they forced so many negative plays with 4 sacks, 3 tackles for loss and 4 turnovers that it did not matter.
We could list a few negative plays for the Texans, but we won't. The team played very well and deserves to only concentrate on the good heading into the bye.