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Incompletions: Texans-Panthers (FUMBLE!)

With so much to write and talk about after every game, and not enough time for one person to write about it all, the masthead joins together and writes about the Texans’ one-inch win.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Houston Texans Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Weston:

Where will you be in four years?

Is a question I would answer with a “Psshhhh, I don’t know.” Reality is fragile. Life is lurking around every corner. Death is the eyes in the picture frame looking left to right while we, stupid and unaware, stomp down purple carpet hallways. Love can be yanked away quicker than it can set in. The economy is due for a downturn, and it’s only a matter of time before it’s cheese dogs for breakfast, cheese dogs for lunch, cheese dogs for dinner, cheese dogs for brunch. The planet may be dying. The oceans are rising, along with the salary cap. Our grandbabies may boil in our daughters’ wombs. Who knows? The future is strange. I got some money saved up. I can always just get up and leave. All I know is the transient present, and I stick to what I know.

This is all just delusion and illusion to stay in bounds and maneuver around the turning of time as the days stack on top of one another again and again, again and again. Four years from now, I’ll probably be doing the same thing. Clocking out of the factory. Taking my time off to walk, read, cry, and think. 23 years to retirement. The dog will be older. My wife still away.

We’ll still be watching the Houston Texans play football games.

Yesterday, the Texans scored ten points. It was a lot like a game you’d have seen them play four years ago. Back when we were arguing if Garrett Graham was worth a contract extension; he wasn’t. If Ryan Mallett was a starting quarterback; he wasn’t. If Brian Hoyer could win a playoff game; he couldn’t. Four years ago, the sun shone through the cameras in Charlotte. The Texans lost by one score. They scored 17 points against the 15-1 future NFC champions. Ryan Mallett threw the ball 58 times and completed less than 50% of his passes. A game-tying drive attempt was extinguished in the red zone. What a miserable and putrid day. Think. Think. Think. What do you see? I’m sure you can see flashes of it.

You’d think, four years from all of that, after all those quarterbacks have come and gone, with the same head coach, and now with one of the league’s best young quarterbacks, that games like yesterday would have been scrubbed off the menu. That those Sundays four years ago were part of some journey, some quest to a beautiful golden present, way, way out there, that we’d all be residing in.

Instead, it’s still here. Nothing has really changed This falls on me. I got to do better. Despite having Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller healthy, Kenny Stills (until the hamstring popped), Keke Coutee, two competent tight ends, two good running backs, three first round picks and two second round picks invested in the offensive line, going up against a defense missing two vital starters in Kawann Short and Donte Jackson, the Texans scored ten points. Four years later. Houston is still playing the same brand of football.

The Texans aren’t a bad team, but they aren’t a good team either. Good teams don’t play down to their opponent like they did against Jacksonville in Week Two. Down games by good teams don’t yield ten points. They don’t take so long to rev up. Football is a week to week thing where every game is so important and means so much until next week occurs. The season is still bloody and squabbling like the rising sun. And yet, I think I got it. Houston is perfectly pretty good team. They are 2-2. They are 2-2 in one score games. They’ve allowed 78 points and they’ve scored 78. This is the most .500 team you’ll ever see.

The schedule will get harder, and then it will get easier. The AFC South is the same lovely mess that always has great plans it can never quite get off the ground. Where will it lead? 8-8? 9-7? An AFC South title? A first round playoff exit? All in on a team that will have the same end results it had four years ago. No first-round draft picks for the next two seasons, a missing second round pick, a quarterback who is about to be paid $35 million a year, and a defense without a bridge once J.J. Watt finally detonates. Arguments and excuses about how difficult it is to build a team when you pay a quarterback that much. DAMN. I can’t wait.

I’ll probably be doing the same thing four years from now. You know what? The Texans will probably be doing the same.

An Education:


Bill O’Brien Bill O’Brien’d the kitten out of today’s game. Came out flat? Yep. No concept on challenges? Si. Poor game plan? Yeppers. No sense of urgency by the offense when needed? Ja. There is absolutely no excuse at this point: he’s this bad, and he’s always been this bad. He hasn’t learned anything in almost six years.

As bad as he is at head coaching (he is at best below average), O’Brien is even worse as the offensive coordinator. The defense gave him three turnovers, and he was only able to turn one into a touchdown. Deshaun Watson is regressing under BOB’s trashy game plan. No team, ever, that has talent such as Watson, Will Fuller, DeAndre Hopkins, and Duke Johnson, should be so morose.

Bill O’Brien is a louder version of Marvin Lewis. Somehow, some way, BOB will get another promotion out of this. #failingup

This season is shaping up to be a re-run of 2015: win in a division full of scrubs only to be motorboated in the playoffs.

The Texans Are 2-2 In One Score Games, Have A Point Differential Of 0, And Are Tied For First In The AFC South:

Mike Bullock:

The more things change, the more they stay the same. One week gives us hope, and the next week laughs at us for daring to have hope.

The Patriots are currently sitting at 122 points scored and 27 against while Houston is knotted up at 78 scored and 78 against. If Bill O’Brien fancies himself the next Bill Belichick, he needs to figure out how to put points on the board every time his offense gets the ball and not wait until the last 28 seconds to try and come from behind. He might start by having his team ready to, well, start when the game begins.

DeAndre Hopkins,Quarterback:

Texans RevJ:

Bad, really bad, terrible, horrible, putrid, embarrassing, and pathetic.

Those are just a few words that came to my mind when I was watching this game. BOB didn’t have the team ready to play. A game that was winnable and would have put us in control of the AFC South slips through our fingers. Stop me if you’ve heard this before. The same old excuses came in the post-game presser from BOB.

Offensively, we looked stale. The OL problems reared their head again. The lineman were constantly beaten off the snap and pushed into the backfield. Deshaun never found a rhythm. The WRs weren’t able to do anything and after Kenny Stills left the game, they did less than that. Hopkins threw a pick on an unnecessary trick play that might as well have signaled the Texans waving the white flag.

The defense played okay and had some big moments, including three strip sacks of Kyle Allen. However, their inability to get a stop in the fourth quarter will be the thing that’s most remembered from this game. Multiple times they had the Panthers in third down situations and just couldn’t close the door. The two biggest highlights you’ll see from the game will be J.J. Watt missing Kyle Allen on a sure sack and CMC making an amazing juggling catch to convert a third down.

That pretty much sums up the game. The Panthers were the better team and kept making plays while the Texans looked lost and surprised that they even had a game happening on Sunday.

If It’s Mine, I Spend It:

Diehard Chris:

A dreadful performance by the Texans’ offense. Sure, the secondary struggled - as it will all season - but ultimately it gave up only 16 points and forced more than enough turnovers to win. I was at the game and have yet to see any replays or footage - but it sure seemed like it was one of Deshaun Watson’s worst games in the realm of holding on to the ball too long. I don’t know if all those receivers were actually blanketed, but that’s sure how Watson’s play made it seem.

Of course, Bill O’Brien did a poor job again, as he will continue to do. It’s been six years. The challenges, the clock management, the play-calling, the game plan, and on and on and on. I’m as sick of saying the same things as you are of hearing them. The ceiling for this team seems to be just above mediocrity, and just when we think the ceiling is higher that we thought, the floor somehow gets lower.

”I don’t have any answers” is what Bill O’Brien said regarding the offense. I really don’t either - but I’m not supposed to. In year SIX - he sure as hell should.

Live By The Fumble Recovery, Die By The Fumble Recovery:

Capt Ron:

O’Brien has reshaped this team to his liking through sheer force of will and at the expense of two GMs in his pursuit to ascend in power and control of the Texans franchise. He has invested SEVEN first round draft picks into the offense while running off talented defensive players due to lack of “culture/fit.”

Any excuses about not having “his” QB were thankfully eliminated with the drafting of Deshaun Watson. So here we are, at a time and place where O’Brien is clearly running the franchise and the offense after a six-year transformation, and all he can manufacture during two home games is two touchdowns where Watson essentially improvises from the called play and runs into the end-zone.

While the camera angle from the live broadcast (zoomed in on the QB) shows the continued issue of Watson indeed holding onto the ball too long, which resulted in more sacks, it will be interesting to review the “All-22” footage to better understand the overall play design. Why is it taking O’Brien’s offense so long to develop routes and get receivers open? Once the camera angle showed the ball traveling to the target, there were numerous occasions where there were two or more receivers clustered tightly within five yards of each other. On at least two plays, that situation had the forward receiver leaping to get the ball intended for the deeper receiver resulting in an incompletion.

Why? WHY would you do this by design?!! There’s clear footage of Watson waving his hands after the play that the ball was meant for the other guy. What a complete disaster! This is incompetent play design and makes it so easy for a defense to effectively cover. The coordinator needs to help his QB by designing plays to get the ball out faster, more efficiently, more effectively, and to orchestrate the calling of plays in a sequence to keep the defense guessing and off balance. NONE of that happens with O’Brien at the controls. NONE. OF. IT!

The Texans would be better off just having Watson and Hopkins draw up plays in the huddle and go to “yard ball” rather than what O’Brien is sending in from the sidelines. Another concern to consider is how Watson seems to be regressing in O’Brien’s system.

Cal McNair needs to force the issue and bring in someone else to run the offense as soon as possible. Since it doesn’t affect the salary cap, I’d argue that Cal should fly out to Clemson, South Carolina and dump a metric [KITTEN]-ton of money in Dabo’s driveway.

O’Brien’s offense is absolute garbage and incapable of consist production week to week. Full. Mother[KITTEN]. Stop.