The Houston Texans won another football game. This is a good thing. This is the seventh game they’ve won in a row. This is a great thing. They’ve done it because their one possession record flipped. Jadeveon Clowney started rushing the passer. The right tackle combination with Juli’en Davenport at left and Kendall Lamm at right was discovered and both were helped out with chips by the running backs and tight ends. Deshaun Watson stopped turning the ball over and was used as a runner until he was stopped being used as a runner. Play action, boot legs, rollouts were finally run. Better, younger players like Jordan Thomas and Justin Reid picked up more snaps. All of it coagulated together with a schedule that aligned perfectly to lead to a seven game winning streak.
[NAME REDACTED] was right. The only thing that matters is winning your division. There is no greater victory, no crunchier confetti, no prettier t-shirt in the bottom drawer than the one that says “2011 AFC South Champions.” At 7-3, with a Titans loss, the Texans are well on their way to winning their fifth division crown. After waiting nine years for the first one, each subsequent division title doesn’t mean any less. Each one is as beautiful as the one before.
However, if you care more about moving beyond division titles, each one of these wins can be difficult to stomach. Bill O’Brien has reverted back to a cautious style of football. No mistakes. Make plays based off the disruptive defense. Play concentrated and concerned football. Houston’s offense will come together and string enough plays to end up with three scores a game on its own. This style works now because the Texans are playing, and barely beating, teams that have to run the ball to win. In the postseason, this will no longer happen. Kansas City, Pittsburgh, New England, and Los Angeles (C) can run the ball and throw the ball—such a monumental concept—and each will be able to spread Houston out. The best hope for the Texans to be something more than first round chum is for Baltimore or Cincinnati to come to town. That would mean a possible mud rolling game against teams with mediocre passing offenses.
If you care about more than division titles, this is all frustrating because the Texans have Deshaun Watson. One of the most talented young quarterbacks in football. No longer are they supposed to reside in a claustrophobic, sub-replacement level quarterback setting. The offense scored 16 points today against a mediocre defense. With Watson and the weapons around him, these point totals that reside underneath the 20 point mark are inexcusable. Now is the time for the offense to put plays and strategies in place that can lead to the 31 points that’s going to be needed to beat the AFC’s elite. This isn’t a switch that can be flicked. Instead, the Texans are doing the bare minimum and holding on to beat teams they should be blowing out. Because they have Watson, it’s reasonable to be optimistic that higher point totals can be reached. Week 12 is already here, though. Time is running out.
I’m good with it all. I don’t care. My season ends Week 17. I’m an AFC South man through and through.
What about you?
This team could easily be 1-9. Instead, they’re 7-3. Reality is probably somewhere in between. They’re basically a 4-6 team that has a golden rabbit’s foot lodged up their collective arse.
I mean, I’ll take it, but damn. Anyone who thinks this is a team that can make a Super Bowl run needs to be slapped.
The Texans’ ugly one-possession wins are the autumnal mead leaving Houston fans bound in uncomfortable blocks in the stockade and wondering when, or if, this team will ever exert any form of dominance against a weaker opponent. That’s not likely as long as O’Brien is at the helm. He has the mentality of someone who, if gifted a supercar, would just as well mount a trailer hitch to a Ferrari and pull a U-Haul around town well below the speed limit.
/slow golf clap
I’ll take the positive plays from this and be happy. A 101-yard pick six by Reid, 10 sacks on the season for Watt, and the touchdown catch by Hopkins. I’ll also do my best to erase from memory the missed field goals, officiating crappy non-calls (holding/tackling of our pass rush), that incredibly idiotic turnover call levied against Hopkins, and repeated milk-toast play calling by Bill “Let’s run up the middle on first down forever” O’Brien once he gets the lead in any game.
Every Bill O’Brien coached game is a parody of all the games before it. Whether it’s the poor clock management, miserable offensive calls, jonesing for ALL the field goals, or playing for the tie, it’s the same stupid movie over and over and over again. It’s like the Groundhog’s Day version of the 2015 Houston Texans.
Yet, here the Texans sit at 7-3, owing their entire success to the luck of one possession games and playing a kitteny schedule. Well, that and Romeo Crennel’s defense, which keeps them in every game. The game truly turned on Justin Reid’s interception, and the defense again put us over the top. And, boy howdy, is Kareem Jackson one sexy dude when he’s blitzing.
The offense, however, remains truly abysmal. What happened to the Deshaun Watson of 2017? Where was Demaryius Thomas? Why is Lamar Miller still being used like Franco Harris? Why do Alfred Blue and Ryan Griffin get snaps?
Brain O’Brain, that’s why. I mean, anybody who thinks that, “I’ll line Ryan Griffin up on the right side of the formation, call for a play action pass, and Griffin (who couldn’t block a traffic cone) will definitely get across the formation to block Ryan Kerrigan” doesn’t deserve to be coaching football.
This really is just like 2015 all over again. The defense does the heavy lifting, J.J. Watt is a defensive MVP candidate, Blue is getting too many snaps, and we are going to get unceremoniously spanked in the playoffs.
Can I at least see more snaps from Jordan Akins? Pretty please?
Three turnovers will lose most games in the NFL, especially on the road. I guess that’s my positive spin on it. The Texans also gained a game on both Tennessee and Jacksonville. So there’s that.
The Play That Spurned The Cover Photo:
An ugly win is still a win. And, when you get things like this delivered to your mailbox it adds some lipstick to the ugly win pig we call the 2018 season.
“The Houston Texans, led by rookie safety Justin Reid’s 101-yard interception-return touchdown in the second quarter, defeated Washington, 23-21, at FedExField.
The Texans are the first team since 1970 to win seven consecutive games immediately following an 0-3 start to a season.
Reid’s 101-yard interception-return touchdown is tied for the second-longest interception-return touchdown by a rookie in NFL history, trailing only Pete Barnum’s 103-yard return for the Columbus Tigers in the team’s victory over the Canton Bulldogs on September 26, 1926.
Reid is the third player in franchise history with a 100+ yard touchdown, joining Andre Davis (104-yard kickoff-return touchdown vs. Jacksonville on December 30, 2007) and Marcus Coleman (102-yard interception-return touchdown at Kansas City on September 26, 2004).”
In the 1990s/early 2000s, when Jon Gruden was turning the Oakland Raiders back into a winning franchise, they had a lot of ‘win by less than one score’ ugly wins. And each year they had these sorts of wins strung together, they’d make it to the playoffs, only to get hosed by the powers-that-be (see Tuck Rule, Tony Siragusa injures Rich Gannon on a blatant foul, and All-Pro Center Barrett Robbins doesn’t participate in Super Bowl due to mental health issues). Chances are these same sorts of things await the Texans when they face off against one of the other AFC playoff teams, similar to the play yesterday when DeAndre Hopkins never possessed the ball but the referee called it a catch and fumble. All it takes is one or two head-scratching plays for things to go the other way when you’re playing ‘win by less than one score’ ball. Thankfully, for now, those things are going Houston’s way.
The last team in league history to win seven consecutive games after starting 0-3 in a season was the New York Giants in 1925 #HOUvsWAS— Texans PR (@TexansPR) November 18, 2018
Winning seven games in a row in the NFL is rare. Winning seven games in a row in the NFL after losing your first three hasn’t been done in 93 years. What your Houston Texans are doing right now is astounding. You almost surely will never see another team accomplish this feat in your lifetime. Relish the fact that we are witnessing football history.
Beyond that, sure, all the wins haven’t been aesthetically pleasing. There’s still plenty to be concerned about as it pertains to how this squad, particularly on offense, stacks up against the more dynamic teams likely to qualify for the playoffs. And without a doubt, luck has played a role in the Texans’ success; they’re not dominating the opposition week in and week out. Yet if given the choice between watching these 7-3 Texans and watching a more visually tantalizing version of the Texans go 4-6, give me the former without any hesitation.
As the others above said, things could very well end quickly and brutally for the Texans in the postseason. That we’re even talking about the postseason after an 0-3 start shouldn’t be lost in the analysis.
The Texans can effectively bury the Titans’ 2018 season with a win at NRG Stadium next Monday night. That wouldn’t entirely cement Houston as the AFC South champ before December arrives, not with the Colts rounding into a legitimately dangerous squad and one more game between the two of them looming in Week Fourteen, but it would put them in even better shape than they’re in right now. Where they are right now is two games up in the division with six games left to play. Again, after losing their first three games of the season.
Did you ever think 7-3 was possible after the Texans started 0-3? Me neither. Enjoy the roller coaster.