The 2021 NFL season has started to appear across the league. From the Hall of Fame Game to tonight, the NFL’s preseason has gotten underway. The Houston Texans took down the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field to open their preseason campaign.
One of the enormous problems the 2020 Houston Texans had was their inability to create turnovers. They were last in the NFL with nine forced turnovers and only two interceptions. You are a smart football fan because you read Battle Red Blog, so you already know that turnovers fluctuate year to year. For a defense, it requires an offensive mistake to be capitalized on to create a turnover. It’s something produced entirely by one’s own effort. The quarterback has to make a mistake. The wide receiver has to run a wrong route. The ball carrier has to let go of the pigskin. These things can be influenced, but the defender is not the central force.
Tonight, Jaleel Johnson recovered two fumbles all on his own. One came after a Jonathan Greenard strip sack, and the other was the result of an aborted snap. One was turned right back over thanks to a Davis Mills interception, but the other led to three points. The tide is already starting to turn after last year’s absurd futility.
Speaking of Davis Mills, Houston’s rookie quarterback picked up the majority of the offensive snaps. Tyrod Taylor, the presumptive QB1, went 4-4 for 40 yards, and then it was Mills Time. The rookie third round pick out of Stanford ended up completing half of his passes for 112 yards, went for 5.1 yards an attempt, threw one interception, and took one sack. It’s preseason football. There’s not much to say about what transpired here. Most importantly, Mills was better than Jake Driskel.
The other Houston offensive player to turn some heads was Scottie Phillips. The Texans’ practice squad running back is competing against a plethora of veterans, proving by his volition how stupid it was to invest in four older running backs like the Texans did the last few months when you can find young talent at the position anywhere, even under your own nose. Phillips may still end up being the odd man out, but he looked like he played himself into more reps and should avoid the first round of cuts.
The most important aspect of the preseason is injuries. Don’t get hurt, don’t get hurt, don’t get hurt. Although this is the mantra, ummmmmmmm, the Texans had Shaq Lawson for some reason still out there in the third quarter. The only player to get knocked off the field tonight was Anthony Miller. The former second round pick Houston acquired after trading Randall Cobb to Green Bay was carted off the field with an arm or shoulder injury. We will report more once we are able to confirm with our sources the extent of the injury.
All in all, the Texans won their first game of the Nick Caserio-David Culley era thanks to Kai’mi Fairbairn going 4-4 from the field. All hail the All Field Goal Offense. You can’t kill what can never die. Darius Jackson had a 25 yard touchdown run that was a Smirnoff in the bean pot to ice it from there.
The regular season is less than a month away.