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Pro Football Focus Grades The Texans In Loss To Steelers

Here’s how PFF’s magical formula recorded the Texans performance against the Steelers.

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Houston Texans v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Another week, and another unbelievable loss by your Houston Texans. With the team at 0-3, it’s hard to find bright spots, but at least this past week the Texans looked competitive in the first half of the game and actually led 21-17 at halftime. Unfortunately, that’s where the Bill O’Brien system kicked in, so the second half was more of what we’ve come to expect after the meltdowns in Weeks One and Two.

However, for the first time so far this season, the Texans put four offensive players over the 75 mark in PFF’s weekly grades, sort of a line of demarcation for good performances on

Deshaun Watson, miracle maker and leader of men, put up a PFF score of 75.7. He had 264 yards, scoring 2 touchdowns, throwing 1 interception, and earning a QB rating of 110.7. Unfortunately, Watson was also sacked 5 times.

Laremy Tunsil earned the team’s highest rank at 83.6. However, one man does not a solid offensive line make; second year tackle Tytus Howard earned a 54.8, guards Zach Fulton (58.2) and Max Sharping (49.1) didn't help much, and normally dependable center Nick Martin fared only slightly better with a 62.3 grade.

Watson’s wideouts had the best showing so far in 2020, with Brandin Cooks (76.4) leading the way, Randall Cobb (75.3) not far behind and oft-injured Will Fuller V broke into the good range with a 70.5.

Where Houston’s offense really faltered was the running game, with new feature back David Johnson only earning a 63.8 rating, carrying the ball 13 times for 23 whole yards, an average per carry of 1.8 (ouch!). Sadly, Johnson was the team’s top tailback.

On the defensive side of the ball, All-World master of the universe J.J. Watt only delivered a 68.9 performance, hile brother T.J. Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers put forth an effort worth a 93.8 rating.

The only player on the Texans defensive to score over 70 was cornerback Phillip Gaines, who registered a 72.7 performance. Once again, linebacker Zach Cunningham coughed up a hairball, with a 30.2 rated performance. Star safety Justin Reid graded out at 65.6 and savior of the pass rush Whitney Mercilus couldn’t break the 50 mark with a 48.1 outing.

If PFF handed out ratings for the head coach, offensive and defensive coordinators, they’d probably all rate below 50 as well, with the Texans’ defense in the bottom ten of yards allowed, #1 in most rushing yards allowed, and #3 in most passing yards allowed.

The offense hasn’t done much better, ranking #5 in least yards gained, #5 in least points scored and most embarrassingly of all, second-worst in total rushing yards gained with 198. That’s right: In three games, the Texans haven’t even rushed for 200 total yards.

For Bill O’Brien to put this product on the field seven years into his tenure as head coach in inexcusable. Sure, the Texans have had a tough schedule so far, but this team has had the talent necessary over the last few years to compete and beat the best out there. Instead, they’re in the competition with teams like the New York Jets to see who can get the #1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft...which does the Texans no good since O’Brien traded that pick, along with Houston’s second-round pick in 2021, to the Dolphins last year.