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Incompletions: Texans v. Lions (Leftovers)

With so much to write and talk about after every game, one person isn’t enough to write about it all, the Masthead joins together and writes about our little turkey bellies.

Houston Texans v Detroit Lions Photo by Amy Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images


My own personal relationship with our favorite football team has been a mercurial one. It went from the same general numbness that has defined Bill O’Brien football since the 2018 season, to jubilation times square make out sessions once he was fired and we had our football team back, to this team sucks what are we even doing here let’s fast forward to January, to actually loving this team once again. This version of the Texans is vibrant, and beautiful, and stupid, and bad, and I love everything about it.

First and foremost, Deshaun Watson is the franchise, he’s the entirety of everything, he’s the only thing that matters. Every time the Texans run an empty backfield with five wide receivers you are staring into a crystal ball and looking out into the future. Pick and pop passing. Finding match ups. Spreading the defense out. Taking off when nothing is open. Easy and efficient offense. Allowing your best player to play in an offense that maximizes his skill set. What a novel concept every sport is founded upon.

Tim Kelly has used Watson in more empty sets than Bill O’Brien ever did. He’s still barely scratching the surface. As wonderful as the outbursts were against Jacksonville, Tennessee, and now Detroit, the offense was still mired by the run game at times, a run game that is last in the league in DVOA, and a general conservative mindset that plays wait and see, before fully opening the door for Watson to carry the team. Whoever the future people in charge are will fully understand realize this. They’ll know how to build an offense and team around Watson. They’ll carry out what O’Brien failed to do, and failed to understand. At least that’s what we get to tell ourselves for now.

After this, it’s a lot of zany and incredulous things, things that you only get to see when you’re watching a bad football team every week, something that Texans fans know better than anyone else. You get Jacob Martin finally making a play in zone coverage and beating Oday Aboushi on an interior rush only to miss the sack, J.J. Watt finally bringing a big fish into his boat after swatting four at the line last week, Senio Kelemete replacing Zach Fulton because our God is an indifferent God, Tytus Howard pass sets, a fanbase suffering from brain worms talking itself into Tyrell Adams, where is and what the hell is Lonnie Johnson Jr. doing, Ross Blacklock sightings, a Kahale Warring activation and drop, Keke Coutee dodging security systems, Justin Reid making tackles again, whatever the hell a Nate Hall is, and Duke Johnson confirming how much better he is than David on play after play. It’s petty, but in a season that has been lost since Gary K lopped off Bill O’Brien’s head, it’s all we got.

The Houston Texans are bad, but they have visible path for a successful football future in Watson. Singular and insular; it’s all we got right now. Yet, at the same time, our football team is beautiful, because while the absurd is going on, these absurd moments are for us alone, and they are also the jellybeans leading us to another bright and glowing future, the one we should have been experiencing every week during the previous three seasons. Instead we have to wait, but one day, which should be soon, those days will be here, and we will all be holding hands and smiling and laughing.



At this stage of the season, Deshaun Watson is on pace to set the following career highs:

QB Rating (108.6)

Passing Yards (4612)

TDs (32)

Completion Percentage (68.9%)

Yards/Attempt (8.5)

This is all after:

His best weapon was traded for peanuts (stale peanuts under the grandstands, at that)

Offensive line play has eroded from last year

The run game is trash in every conceivable fashion

No player, in the entirety of the NFL, does more to make his team win than does Watson. None. Between the line and that he has only one legit weapon (Will Fuller) is what separates Watson from the rest of the league.

The Thanksgiving game is another data point in my argument. Watson was responsible for all but 53 total yards after last week’s yardage monopolistic performance last week.

It’s marked how improved he is since BOB is no longer making the play calls for the Texans.

But after all that Watson did on Thursday, the best play in the game was J.J. Watt’s pick six. What a truly remarkable player, better person, and true first-ballot HOFer.



What a dumb and amusing game. The first half saw 4 combined turnovers and 3 lead changes. The Texans committed ten penalties. It was awesome to see J.J. Watt get another pick-six. His pass rush is not quite there like it was in the past, but it may not be that big a stretch to say that Watt is the best pass defender on the team. Watson, well, he had a tremendous game (318 yards, 4 TDs) and you could argue that he had a lot of room to improve (the two missed passes to Akins). Tyrell Adams and Nate Hall, while not perfect, had themselves some games (17 total tackles, 2 FFs for the former, back-to-back sacks for the latter).

While the Texans had a good game, and quite the week, this game is as much an indictment of the Lions as it was the capabilities of the Texans. They got away from running the ball and their pass defense was worse than ours. There is no way that Patricia should survive past Black Monday, and you could take bets as to whether the Lions cut bait before then or not. Stafford is still a good quarterback, but his could be a cautionary tale for Watson and the Texans, as the Lions could not get over the hump and now have wasted more of his few remaining seasons with the Patricia disaster experiment (Patricia has since been fired).

In theory, the Texans could use this two game winning streak as a springboard to maybe get back into the discussion, but their inconsistent defense and lack of any coherent running game may kill what slim hopes they have left. Indy pays them a visit next week. They possess, unlike the Lions, a brutal defense and a formidable running game. If they can get past the Colts, then perhaps you could entertain the notion of running the table. However, that is 10 days from now. For today, let’s enjoy the win and bask in the glory that superstar performances like Watson and Watt can still bring to the team.



If only Houston could play Jacksonville or Detroit every week...

Say what you will about Patrick Mahomes, but I’ll take Deshaun Watson any day and twice on Sunday to be my quarterback. He is just so. much. fun. to watch. And seeing him come alive after Bill O’Brien left is even better.

Will Fuller is quietly having his best season ever, with yesterday’s 171 yards putting him at a career high 879 on the season - 209 more yards than he’s ever gained in one campaign. While losing DeAndre Hopkins didn’t do the Texans offense as a whole any favors, it certainly seems to have helped Fuller.

On the list of things to be thankful for, we present: J.J. Watt. Watching him snatch that ball out of the air and run it back for a touchdown brought back memories of the days when this team was on the rise, had hope of making the Super Bowl and Texans fans wore their team gear proudly. Hopefully, he’ll hang onto that moment when it comes time to talk business this off-season.

Next up, the Tiny Horses of Indianapolis... Thankfully, Romeo Crennel has ten days to get the team ready.