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Incompletions: Texans v. Bengals (The Brandon Allen Game)

With so much to write and talk about after every game, one person isn’t enough to write about it all, so the Masthead joins together and rehashes Christmas misery.

Cincinnati Bengals v Houston Texans Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

MATT WESTON:

Last season the Texans went 9-3 in one score games, including Deshaun Watson’s heroic win over the Buffalo Bills in the postseason. This season the Houston Texans are 2-7 in such contests. Life eventually finds a way to balance itself. Heads will eventually become tails. Winning close games usually lasts for one season, not for season after season.

The Texans being a terrible football team isn’t surprising. This season was more likely than the Houston Texans morphing from AFC Divisional Round failure to a legitimate Super Bowl contender. After an offseason where the Texans already horrendous defense became worse after losing D.J. Reader and Tashaun Gipson, and Eric Murray being their only substantial defensive investment, and they turned DeAndre Hopkins, a future Hall of Famer, a consistent Pro Bowler, a usual All-Pro, into two non-difference maker skill players, the talent and coaching couldn’t handle the scale tipping back in the other direction.

Last season the Texans won games because Justin Reid tackled Leonard Fournette at the goal line on a two point conversion, a holding penalty negated a Mike Williams reception on Philip Rivers’s game tying drive attempt, Houston debuted a brand new offense to catch the Chiefs off-guard, Deshaun Watson threw a touchdown pass with his eyeball dangling out of his orbital bone, the Colts continued to ESTABLISH THE RUN with Jonathan Williams on Thursday Night Football and Jacoby Brissett was stopped a yard short by Brennan Scarlett on a failed fourth down conversion attempt, the Patriots receivers were so atrocious even Houston could play man coverage against them, Reid made an all-time great play along the goal line to feed Whitney Mercilus a surprise interception, and, of course, Watson turned a car crash into a Taiwan Jones dump off and Josh Allen went full Josh Allen in the postseason.

This season the Texans lost games because they continued to ESTABLISH THE RUN against Pittsburgh instead of sticking with the spread no huddle offense that worked and their atrocious run defense couldn’t stop a single power run play, Will Fuller couldn’t make a one handed catch against Minnesota after David Johnson flailed in the redzone, A.J. Brown made the one handed catch Fuller couldn’t make, it was too windy to throw the football in Cleveland, Nick Martin skidded a snap across the turf, Keke Coutee was tackled from behind and fumbled into the endzone, and now, because Charlie Heck was beat around the edge in his debut by Sam Hubbard, the Texans are 4-11 as a result.

The Texans became an actively worse team this offseason thanks to Bill O’Brien and Jack Easterby. The difference in their record between last season and this season are these plays. Watson’s teammates didn’t allow him to make the plays he made last season. And so now, here we are.

2020 shouldn’t be surprising. It’s just nature healing itself. This newest strip sack, the newest bad quarterback to have an incredible game, the newest aging wide receiver finding the fountain of youth against this cornerback group, the newest crappy offensive line maintaining their blocks, are all things that should have been expected. Watson’s glowing light blinded us. And this season, the team has been so wretched, that not even he could save it.

MIKE BULLOCK:

Sooner or later we all get tired of tying the same things week in and week out. Remove Deshaun Watson, J.J. Watt and few others and this entire organization from Cal McNair to the backup water boy needs to be scrapped. Sure it’s great Watson set some records yesterday, but would it be worth it if that hand injury was severe? Watt’s postgame rant said it all and that lack of work ethic starts at the top.

McNair needs to sell the team to someone like J.J. who cares too much to allow Jack Easterby and Bill O’Brien to trade away the superstar receiver, dump a former #1 draft pick and do absolutely squat to build a winning roster.

Maybe J.J. can rally a group of investors and buy the team from Cal... maybe he can rope in Peyton Manning and some other winners who know how to build a winning dynasty. Or, maybe Cal can keep listening to Easterby and we can keep typing these same things over and over again for the next decade... #sadness

IT’S ALL SO LOVELY BEYOND THESE GATES:

L4BLITZER:

Once again, the Texans find creative and inventive ways to lose football games. This time, they went with the “ol’-rally-back-in-a-shootout-only-to-lose-the-lead-late-and-then-give-the-ball-to-Watson-to-only-see-him-betrayed-by-a-leaky-line” strategery. Worked to perfection. The Texans even threw in an interesting series of laterals to finish out the game that had a modicum of hope. So 2020 of this team. This was arguably the best offensive performance of the squad this season, with Watson setting the single season TD passing mark for the Texans, the TEs doing their best Mark Bavaro impresionations, and we even had an actual, effective running game, with David Johnson (remember him?) rushing for over 100 yards. All of this with an Oline that had to give significant playing time to Scharping and Heck.

Yet, the Texans still did what the 2020 Texans are supposed to do and creatively lose. Why is that? Well, let us look to the other side of the ball. The one played by the Texans _efense. If you had only ever watched this game of Cincinnati’s, you could be forgiven for thinking that this was the greatest show in the history of the Queen City.

Especially in the second half, they did whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted against the Texans _efense. The greatest QB in franchise history: Ken Anderson, Boomer Esiason? Nope, Brandon Allen. Brandon Allen had himself a day. Perhaps the type of day he could never have imagined this practicing as a little boy learning how to throw a football. Even if he played himself in a Madden game (back when the quality was good) and went up against the team on the lowest setting, he could never have had such an easy and effortless day. He took more hits from his teammates mobbing him after TDs than he did from the Texans _efense.

I thought that a tie would be the most frustrating result from this game. I was wrong. Today’s game was the most disappointing for the teams involved. The Texans botched a game that they, even in their weakened state, should have had. The Bengals are on a two game winning streak, but are seeing their chances for locking up the best OL prospect taking a hit. I guess Miami is super happy, as the Texans are looking ever more likely to lock up a top 5 1st and top 5 2nd for them in the 2021 draft, along with them controlling their own destiny for the playoffs. There is much wrong with the Texans, but if this game is any indication, the majority of the effort needs to go to the Texans _efense. At least there is only 1 more game left in this season...and since it is against the Titans and the running of Derrick Henry, it might actually be over fairly, and mercifully, quickly.

VERNON HARGREAVES III BELONGS IN A NURSING HOME:

BIGFATDRUNK:

Take a moment and think about the Cincinnati Bengals current roster. Wallow in its crapulence, with starters like Brandon Allen and not Joe Burrow.

Your Houston Texans got spanked by that roster, giving up 37 points.

The Texans are not a good football team. It’s roster is bereft of talent at most positions. It isn’t a young team, either. There aren’t many guys with even decent ceilings. The defense is a 31-year old JJ Watt and a bunch of has-beens and never-wases aside from Reid and Cunningham.

Today, the Bengals showed what you can do with even decent roster management. Ultimately, it was the difference in the game today.

J.J. CAN TAKE US HOME: