The Chiefs beat the Chargers 31-21 earlier this afternoon. After that happened, what happened at NRG Stadium meant nothing for this little esoteric corner of the football world we reside in. If the Texans won, it didn’t matter. If the Texans lost, it didn’t matter (to Houston). By beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last weekend, the Texans clinched the division and removed the possibility of today’s contest being an AFC South Championship Game.
Bill O’Brien did the right thing in Week 17. He made the right decision and rested his starters. Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins, Benardrick McKinney, Kenny Stills, Bradley Roby, and D.J. Reader all stood on the sidelines? Gazed into the abyss, and watched as the Tennessee Titans strangled Houston for their playoff lives.
Houston had an opening touchdown drive with AJ McCarron under center. Run-pass balance. Seven and a half minutes off the clock. Run establishment. The platonic ideal of Bill O’Brien produced football. Scripted and manufactured. Why can’t Deshaun Watson do this?
That was the high point of the offense. From that moment on, we pulled the curtain back and peered into 2014-2016 Houston Texans football. Praise be for Deshaun Watson. We’re so lucky to be so far removed from all of that.
The Titans were the Titans. They used a lot of play action. Derrick Henry was able to get outside the tackles and throw his stiff arm around. A.J. Brown, like the previous matchup, was uncoverable. Houston’s secondary is so bad that even Marcus Mariota completed a pass against it. Am I right or am I right? The Titans went up by two scores, and from that point on, they focused on Derrick Henry’s rushing title. A big cutback against the current led to a 53 yard touchdown run and sealed the NFL rushing title for him.
Aside from the Chiefs winning, the best things that could happen today happened. The Patriots lost to the Dolphins and dropped to the Wild Card Round for the first time in my entire life. The Titans are talented, understand the inefficiencies of typical NFL playcalling, and can beat the Patriots in New England. Tennessee is better than Pittsburgh or Oakland. The postseason will be more fun with the Titans instead of the other options available.
Additionally, if Houston beats Buffalo and Tennessee upsets New England, Houston would get to play Kansas City instead of Baltimore in the Divisional Round of the AFC Playoffs. No one on Houston was seriously injured today. Everyone is strong, healthy, and intact. This is the best timeline.