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Incompletions: Texans-Giants (R.I.P. 2018)

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With so much to write and talk about after every game, and not enough time for one person to write about it all, the masthead joins together and writes about the end of the 2018 season.

New York Giants v Houston Texans Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Matt Weston:

When I didn’t have a dog, I would think about what I would do when I got a dog. What it would look like, how I would come across it, when I could get it, what I would do with it, and how I would make it work out. Most importantly, after spending years going for walks by myself like crazy people and the old people do, I would sometimes step on the occasional turd. After all those shoe scrapings on concrete curbs, I told myself I wouldn’t add to the problem that poisons our ground water and ruins afternoons. I would be a respectable member of society and carry two grocery bags with me. One to pick up the excrement, and the other to put inside the bag with the crap in it. I just realized that’s double the trash, and I will start only carrying one bag and allow my fingers to be a little bit stinkier than before.

After the game today, I peeled back my skull and refreshed my brain. I stretched. Took two bags, leashed the big girl dog for a walk, and listened to the new Joyce Manor album. By the community pool, she took off her pants and squatted. Yellow slop came pouring out. I don’t think she ate anything different. What in the world? Ah, maybe it was that bone. I looked away and waited for her to finish. I put my hand in the grocery bag and spread my hand to palm this basketball. It was consistency of porridge. I pulled the handles on the bag and placed it inside the other bag.

What the Texans put on the field yesterday was the same color, smell, and consistency of that twisting, gut traveling glob. By my calculations, the Texans 97.3% had to win this game if they wanted to make the postseason. Rather than pull out all the stops and do things like run zone read, make the play-fakes mean something, get Deshaun Watson out of the pocket, scheme to create open manufactured throws, set up open deep throws and execute when they do, get their best pass rushers on the field in four man fronts, and create interior pressure with interesting blitzes, the Texans instead did the exact same things that led to consecutive losses to start this bloody and squabbling season.

They ran the ball inside, even though the strength of the Giants’ run defense is their nose tackle Damon Harrison. They didn’t utilize Watson as a runner. They continued to expect their tertiary receivers to beat man coverage all on their own. They forced Martinas Rankin and Julie’n Davenport to handle the edge on their own. They skimped on the play action passes. They continued to rush the passer on the interior with Brandon Dunn/Christian Covington/Angelo Blackson/D.J. Reader.

The whole thing is so frustrating. I’m not a football super genius. But even I, and you, and anyone else who watched the New York Giants play, understands not to consistently run the ball up the middle against them, how good Watson is at running play action, how his running ability sets up deep passes when he’s actually used as a runner, and that Ryan Griffin struggles to beat man coverage on his own. Yet the Texans continue to do the same things that don’t work and won’t work, manacled by their head coach. This team is too talented to play how it’s played. It’s too talented to be 0-3. When Watson shredded his knee like cheap cheese, we sat around and waited for 2018. We waited for this, a pancake batter plop of dog {expletive].

2.7%.

Capt Ron:

Bill O’Brien is the NFL’s Peter Griffin:

Due to traveling today, I could only see highlights, so I’ll replay the game when I can. Will Fuller is beasting out there, and Deshaun Watson is coming around to what we saw last season. J.J. Watt is REALLY back!! That’s all I got from the highlight reel.

The 0-3 start is squarely on O’Brien, because this team has the talent if properly prepared.

At least the next home game will be economically viable for the average person if they want to attend.

Luke Beggs:

Many months ago, I wrote about Lamar Miller and the Texans’ run game with the subtle intention of showing just how bad Bill O’Brien was at scheming an offense and more importantly being able to adjust when things were or were not working.

Instead of running through what went wrong, I’ll simply ask this. After four seasons of watching Bill O’Brien coach in the NFL, what makes you think that things will change now?

Patrick Omameh Doesn’t Know How To Tie His Shoes.

Mike Bullock:

Never thought I’d type these words: “The Houston Texans are worse than the Cleveland Browns.”

If something inside you felt a sharp pain reading that, you can relate to how I felt typing it.

As long as this quest for mediocrity continues, J.J. Watt’s Hall of Fame career will be no more amazing than that of Barry Sanders, Calvin Johnson or Dan Marino. All amazing players that never really had a fair shot at being a champion in the NFL.

bigfatdrunk:

Whomever wrote this is one smart, sexy motherkitten.

At this point, it doesn’t even seem that Brain O’Brain is even capable of punching down. He learned nothing from when Deshaun Watson was playing QB last year and, since the day he became head coach, the only thing worse than his offensive scheme is the team’s preparedness.

I’m leaning toward Matt LaFleur for 2019, but we know that’s not going to happen: O’Brain will somehow win eight (8) games, and the last of the apologist voices will be loud enough to convince the team to retain him.

At Least The New Joyce Manor Album Is Good.

Uprooted Texan:

I saw a half of the Texans’ opener against New England and promptly had to stop watching because swearing constantly around a bunch of drunk Greeks didn’t seem like the best way to make a good impression of Americans abroad. I didn’t see the second game at all.

But I kept hearing the same refrains about the team while I was gone. They came out unprepared. The playcalling is as bad as before. There’s no scheming. The offensive line still sucks. The secondary is a sieve. And I was fully prepared to believe it.

This was the first full Texans game I’ve seen all season, a game that looked eminently winnable against a struggling Giants team.

Despite having the flashy new quarterback, despite the “improvements” made to the line and the secondary, nothing has changed from last year. Nothing has changed throughout the entire Brain O’Brien era. It’s the same flatfootedness, the same poor schemes, the same fundamental lack of offense that Brain was supposed to be such an innovative genius about. It’s all the same kitten, but with an eight at the end of the year instead of a seven.

The lone bright spot in all this is that we can now say without a shadow of doubt: the morass this team is in can be lain squarely at Brain O’Brien’s feet. The Texans kept Brain O’Brien over Rick Smith (who was terrible in his own way and needed to go anyway). The Texans moved on from [NAME REDACTED], who needed to go because he was always a terrible QB and we should’ve known better. The Texans moved on from George Godsey and were liberated from Mike Vrabel. The Texans picked a general manager anointed by Brain O’Brien himself. The Texans had an offensive renaissance last year with some impressive playcalling and moved on from that for reasons I can’t even begin to understand.

All of this leaves Brain O’Brien, the world’s greatest genius, holding the bag. What happens from here on out is on Bill O’Brien and this *gestures at the Giants game* is what we should expect from the Texans as long as he is calling the shots. To be, well, I don’t want to be fair, but to be honest, some of this can probably be pinned on Bob McNair too because I’m not convinced he gives a [kitten] so long as he keeps raking in money. But since we’ll never be rid of him or Cal McNair, it seems pointless to bring it up.

This is what the Texans are, and Brain O’Brien has not learned a single, [kittening] thing throughout his entire tenure here. And that genuinely sucks.

Diehard Chris:

It’s true. The Texans aren’t just “sluggish and off to a slow start”; it turns out they’re actively bad. There’s really no other conclusion that can be reached from the wretched performance we witnessed yesterday. Even Bill O’Brien, previously combative in post-game pressers after the first two losses of the season, seemed utterly defeated Sunday. He’s right, the play-calling was awful. Of course he knew when he said that, the reaction would be “Well, you’re the play caller.” He knows. We know. He has as many answers as we do right now - which is none. The offensive line is a total disaster, and it’s gotten worse over the years under O’Brien. The defense is packed with talent, but suddenly the ever-dependable Romeo Crennel even seems like he’s lost in the forest.

Incredibly and against the odds, J.J. Watt actually does seem to be rounding into at least close to the player he was in his most dominant years, but how sad is it that we really can’t be bothered to give a damn right now because everything else on the team is a wreck?

It’s just all bad right now. The Texans may literally be the worst team in the NFL. The AFC South is trending upward entirely without them. I’ve never said this before about a Bill O’Brien Texans team, but this year is the first time I’ve detected that “lack of energy” you hear brought up so often. The Texans just don’t look ready to go, and (specifically on offense) their play CERTAINLY is an indication of what appears to be a lack of preparation.

It would take a catastrophic season for Bill O’Brien to be shown the door fresh off his contract extension, but if things don’t turn around - that’s exactly where this year’s iteration of the Houston Texans is headed.

Tim:

I don’t even know what to say. That’s probably a bad sign three weeks into the season.

Up until their final, game-clinching touchdown drive, the Giants did everything possible to hand the game to the Texans in the second half. Instead of accepting that generous gift, the Texans chose to shoot themselves in the foot in all too familiar ways. It’s just so freaking disheartening.

Houston’s pass rush consisted of J.J. Watt and an occasional cameo from D.J. Reader and Angelo Blackson. Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus were missing in action. Again. Zach Cunningham, the linebacker who was drafted in large part because of a belief that he could cover, might as well have had a target on his back instead of No. 41 yesterday. If I didn’t know better, I’d think no one on Houston’s defense was familiar with the concept of a crossing route, much less covering one. Eli Manning looked like Aaron Rodgers yesterday.

On offense, what can I possibly say about the offensive line that hasn’t been said already? Sean Pendergast tweeted it best when it comes to Julien Davenport and Martinas Rankin:

Deshaun Watson is running for his life back there. That’s ironic, as it doesn’t seem Bill O’Brien wants DW4 using his legs in any sort of designed or planned fashion.

DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller are studs. Got to end on a positive.

The Texans Have Turned Seth Payne Into A Tumblr Teenager.