The Houston Texans battled hard and gave it their all this Sunday. Just kidding, they took beating by the Jacksonville Jaguars. That’s right, the Jacksonville Jaguars decimated the Houston Texans by a score of 45 to 7.
It was reported before the “game” that star running back Leonard Fournette would not play because of quad and ankle issues. In addition, Texans quarterback Tom Savage was not able to play because of a concussion, and is expected to miss the rest of the season as well.
The loss was one that cannot be placed on an individual personnel group, rather this loss resulted from every member of the Houston Texans being outplayed by every member of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
This demolition derby that they called a football game was basically a culmination of the one problem that has plagued the Houston Texans all season; injuries. The Texans exerted little to no pressure on Blake Bortles with only one sack and four quarterback hits. Despite the Texans being known for their formidable pass rush, injuries to elite rushers like J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus have been devastating. Even Jadeveon Clowney appeared banged up throughout the course of this game.
Blake Bortles, having enough time in the pocket, was able to amass 326 yards, three touchdowns, and a 143.8 quarterback rating, while only taking one sack the entire game. I know it’s hard to believe, but the Houston Texans did so bad that they made Blake Bortles look like a great quarterback.
The void left by promising quarterback Deshaun Watson was alarmingly clear during this game as well, with third-string quarterback T.J. Yates throwing an interception, fumbling twice, amassing only 128 yards, and having an abysmal quarterback rating of 48.9.
On top of the injuries that have already occurred, center Nick Martin suffered a serious left ankle injury and tackle Jeff Allen left with a concussion. Despite both of them being mediocre offensive lineman, these injuries exacerbate the offensive line issue that the Texans have had all season.
When all was said and done, Jacksonville had a 10-4 record and clinched the AFC South division, while the Texans became 4-10 and are now looking at where to place the blame.
If I had to give a game ball to a Texans player, it would go to wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Solidifying himself as one of the best receivers in the game, Hopkins had a highlight reel touchdown against Pro-Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey to cap off a four-catch game with 80 yards. This touchdown by Hopkins ended up being the only one the Texans scored all game.
While Hopkins had a good game this Sunday, the Texans cornerbacks had one to forget. Mainly because they allowed the apparent holy trinity that is Blake Bortles, Keelan Cole, and Jaydon Mickens to combine for three touchdowns and 247 yards. Who are Keelan Cole and Jaydon Mickens? Exactly. Despite the pass rush also being a factor in Bortles’ success, there is no excuse for the Texans cornerbacks to be torched by Jaydon Mickens and Keelan Cole.
Something to note about this game is that Alfred Blue received more carries (12) than Lamar Miller (9), and was more efficient with his carries: rushing for 4.6 yards per carry compared to Miller’s 3.6.
I don’t think this will be a major factor in the future. Lamar Miller is a talented running back who is usually a consistent producer for the Texans. Even though he isn’t producing right now, head coach Bill O’Brien most likely understands what Miller is working with. The Texans offensive line, before even more injuries, did not have a single player inside the top 20 of their position. Furthermore, the Texans were behind most of the game, so that is most likely the reason Miller received less carries than Alfred Blue. In other words, don’t expect Alfred Blue to repeat this performance anytime soon.
The Texans will round up the season with a Monday Night matchup against the Steelers and a final showdown against the Colts. Despite this being a failed season for the Texans, it is important for fans to look towards the future, as the Texans are currently projected for a top 10 draft pick. With the magic that Texans general manager Rick Smith worked in the last draft with Deshaun Watson, it is fair to assume he can do the same thing next year.
Stay strong Houston, just know that while the tides have turned in the AFC South, they are sure to turn again.
Tough times don’t last.
Tough people do.
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) December 17, 2017