After watching the Houston Texans force a tie against the Indianapolis Colts in the first game of the season (by giving up 17 unanswered points), you might be forgiven for thinking this team might be able to cause problems for, if not the upper crust of the NFL, the middle rung teams in the league. Against teams like the Chiefs and the Bills and Rams, it’s hard to imagine a happy ending for the Texans.
But the Broncos...for a bright shining moment it seemed like a possibility to play Jack to the Broncos’ giant.
The game itself was an exercise in pushing string on the floor: tedious, frustrating, with low scoring and yellow flags as far as the eye can see.
The Broncos got the scoring started a little over five minutes into the first quarter with a 20-yard Brandon McManus field goal.
Later in that same quarter, Ka’imi Fairbairn tied the game up with his own 40-yard field goal; whether the field goal was double the distance of McManus’ on purpose to show him up is debatable.
Fairbairn then doubled the Texans score by kicking another field goal with about seven minutes left in the second half, putting the Texans up 6-3. The lead didn’t last long though, as the Broncos kicked a game-tying field goal just before the end of the half.
The Texans would strike again in the third with their third and final field goal of the day, putting the Texans up 9-6 in a game full of sloppy offense and undisciplined play. It was truly a banner day for the Texans’ vaunted All Field Goal Offense.
How undisciplined, you might ask? Between the two teams, there were 21 penalties for 194 total yards (8-94 for the Texans, 13-100 by the Broncos). It was one of the few game categories where the Texans fared better than the Broncos.
With how the game had progressed, it seemed not quite impossible that the Texans could pull off the upset. The Broncos couldn’t throw (Wilson completed only six of his first 20 throws of the game), didn’t really run much better than the Texans did (their lead rusher only got six more yards on the same number of carries as Dameon Pierce did), and their coaching was...more on that in a minute.
And then...come on, we all know what happened. Let’s say it together.
AND THEN CAME THE FOURTH QUARTER. AGAIN.
The Texans, up to the end of the third quarter, had not played well but had played well enough to force a low-scoring affair going into the fourth quarter. This is also when Russell Wilson became the Russell Wilson we all know and hate and went 4-for-4 for 62 yards and the game’s only touchdown.
After that, the three remaining Texans drives went punt, turnover on downs, and turnover on downs. In two games now, the Texans have scored zero points in the fourth quarter compared to 29 in the first three quarters. It is entirely too early to talk about trends just yet but this would be a really, really bad trend for this team to follow for obvious reasons.
Injuries During The Game
Kevin Pierre-Louis left the game in the third quarter with a then-undisclosed (groin) injury.
But the really troubling injury is corner Derek Stingley Jr. who also left the game with an unspecified injury.
We Need To Talk About...
Dameon Pierce - In his first game as the primary runner for the Texans, Pierce ran 15 times for 69 yards (nice), good for a nice, tidy 4.6 YPC. And the best part is he looked good doing it too. 4.6 YPC may not look like much in the grand scheme of things. It’ll keep you employed but it won’t get you to Canton. But if you figure that just last week and through last year, our primary rusher ran for a very not special 3.4 YPC, it’s definitely an encouraging sign.
Nathaniel Hackett - I’ve developed a pet theory about Nathaniel Hackett over the course of the game earlier today. He’s the new Bill O’Brien. He has no idea how to use the clock, his teams look shoddy and entirely unprepared, and he’s usually good for one really special error that will leave fans on both sides of the game saying “what the [kitten] was that?” Although I will give Bill O’Brien this minimal bit of credit: Bill O’Brien was bad with timeouts and would burn them for the worst and dumbest possible reasons. But at no point did Bill O’Brien ever have to use a timeout because he forgot to get his punt returner out onto the field. That’s next level stupid and, as a dumb guy, I salute him for it.
I look forward to him becoming the coach/general manager of the Broncos in the near future.
Jeff Driskel (again) and Pep Hamilton - What are we doing guys? We talked about this already. Look, I will grant you that you did get 10 yards on that one run by Driskell. But if you’re trying to build the new Taysom Hill, shouldn’t he be a player built like or as talented as Taysom Hill? Jeff Driskel is none of those things and these gadget plays are going to get really old really fast.
So What Have We Learned Today?
We learned that Davis Mills still needs work on his accuracy based on his failed fourth quarter comeback attempt. We learned that the Denver Broncos might be making quantum advancements for dumb guys everywhere. But most of all we learned that the TEXANS BEAT THE SPREAD AGAINST THE BRONCOS!
See you in Chicago.