Did the Texans’ offensive line make progress, or is this just a Michelin star restaurant in San Francisco?
The Texans’ third iteration of their starting offensive line stifled the pass rush of the Chargers, which features Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. Through two quarters, the Texans didn’t give up a single sack and played with a distinct level of confidence absent in previous weeks.
From left to right, the Texans’ Week 3 starting offensive line included Laremy Tunsil, Max Scharping, Nick Martin, Zach Fulton, and Tytus Howard. That’s two rookies and a tackle who has been in Houston for less than a month. Though it’s possibly the worst offensive line combination for run blocking, it sure as hell beats the other options in terms of pass blocking.
Before we jump into the Sack Tracker, I’ve got to call out Max Scharping’s performance in his first NFL start. I’ve given him grief in the past for his footwork, but man did he show out in against the Chargers. How about stifling both Bosa and Ingram on the same play? Rumble, young man, rumble.
Scharping at left guard passes two elite pass rushers back and forth like a beast. If he can keep that up, this ENTIRE team will make major strides. To see Texans’ sacks from Weeks One and Two, click here.
Sack #9: Ingram Swipes Right and Fells Fails to Aid.
Okay, this one is the most difficult to assign blame of all the sacks yet. If I could split this into thirds, I would, but against my will, I’ll assign half the blame to Scharping and half to Darren Fells.
Watch the tape again. Watson gets up and starts clapping emphatically at Fells, who is running an option route on 2nd and 9. Watson is staring him down like a sniper dead set on its target; when the pressure comes, Fells is not looking at Watson, so Watson can’t throw the ball his way. If Fells turns around into the soft under belly of the Chargers’ defense, he gets an easy seven yards to set up a third and short.
For Scharping...praise is giveth and praise is taken away. Ingram forces his way through Scharping’s outer half and forces Tunsil to collapse. Scharping is thinking too much here. His form is too rigid and pronounced. He can't react to the bull rush or the delayed blitz. Yes, Nick Martin was slow to react, but that’s because Scharping created a dumpster fire in two seconds. Yes, Fulton’s man ultimately gets the sack, but you can’t blame Fulton for what he can’t see. This play is where PFF grades stray from reality.
Sack #10: Howard Passes, but Fails,
If there’s no crying in baseball, there is no standing around in football. That’s exactly what newly appointed right tackle Tytus Howard does on this play.
Howard is expecting more from Duke Johnson in his chip block of Bosa. Johnson takes a terrible angle off the snap to protect Howard’s outside shoulder, but ultimately this falls on Howard; he has to be more of a disturbance to Bosa than he was.
Fulton does get bulldozed by Ingram coming around the corner on a LB blitz that causes the pocket to collapse, but that would not have been an issue if Bosa didn’t trap Watson in a cave of Chargers’ defenders.
That’s it. That’s all there was against the Chargers. Next week may be a completely different story when the Panthers’ defensive line comes to town.
Welcome to the Sack Tracker, Darren, Tytus, and Max!
Seantrel Henderson: 2
Laremy Tunsil: 2
Deshaun Watson: 1
Roderick Johnson: 1
Zach Fulton: 1
Senio Kelemete: 1
Tytus Howard: 1
Max Scharping: 0.5
Darren Fells: 0.5