Houston are out of time with nowhere to turn, as this team’s shots at success have been taken and a reset is required.
The Texans slumped deeper into their botched attempt in fielding a competent football team on Sunday. For a fourth consecutive week they failed to even remotely quell the concerns regarding the flaws of their roster. Quite how the notion of not being able run the ball or stop the run has been a surprise, is only a question that could be answered inside the walls of NRG.
The limited fans who chose to subject themselves to another unassuming offensive display, who themselves are now making a habit of only turning up for a half, were subject to one of their worst performances in recent memory. The Texans, despite playing a winless team showed their structural deficiencies are so glaring that opposing teams and the FOX commentary team, attacked at will. Finding themselves 31-16 down in the fourth quarter.
The Vikings lead by Dalvin Cook, rather predictably notched 130 yards, whilst Kirk Cousins was effective against a limited pass rush, completing over 70% of his passes. With the benefit of time, based of their play-action calls, Cousins rarely looked flustered and embarrassed the Texans defence whilst scampering for a 4th down conversion. The lack of talented corner play beyond Bradly Roby was lucid as Hargreaves and Gaines were exposed as Rookie Justin Jefferson showed both the finer points of route running.
This week, the offence chose to wait until the second half to show signs of life but quite simply they don’t see the ball. This is due to an un-conducive mixture of three-and-out’s, added with the inability to stop the run, as for consecutive week they held the ball for 13 minutes less than their opponents. No Defence can sustain that level of pressure and expect to win, not even a talented one.
The inconsistencies of the offence continued, despite O’Brien visibly taking over play calling duties. There were drives in the second half, where the empty-set, up tempo and Duke Johnson re-introduction made them, at times, looking coherent. But they continually foiled by an inhibiting system as it relates to their talents, whilst poor execution continues to hinder any momentum.
Though Deshaun threw for 300 yards and they were a contentious incompletion call from setting up a two point attempt, to tie the game late in the fourth, the game was never close for a long period. Their inability to run the ball hurt them in the red-zone. As they settled for field goals on three occasions and stalled out, punching it into the end-zone seemed inevitable.
It’s a stark reality for the Texans, that the personnel moves of O’Brien regime haven’t paid off. David Johnson – the team cannot run the ball; Max Sharping & Lonnie Johnson – benched in favour of others; Brandon Cooks – was without a catch yesterday; Ross Blacklock – ineffective in all aspects; the loss of DJ Reader – is glaring; paying Whitney Mercilus and Nick Martin whilst both respective units aren’t competitive. And Laremy Tunsil has been a stalwart but within this current context of a failing pass protection and a frail roster, the loss of those draft picks is magnified.
The countless bad off-field decisions are now compounding on it. As Jordon Atkins went out, they look thin at Tight End, whilst Jordon Thomas is scoring his first touch-down for Arizona. Atkins sustained a helmet clash on a play that set them up in the red zone, which saw Minnesota Safety Harrison Smith ejected from the game. The conclusion from the broadcast team and any willing on-looker: there are players out there that shouldn’t be on this roster. Deandre Carter – fumbled his 7th ball in only 27 games; Brennan Scarlett cannot set the edge; Carlos Watkins is a just a body in trenched, just to name a few.
This franchise dismissed and paid a disservice to the talents of J.J. Watt and DeAndre Johnson in their prime. Cal McNair has a duty to us all, by not adding Deshuan to that list. Ownership will likely be silent in the lead up to Jacksonville but a defeat in their first AFC South clash of the year and dropping to 0-5 would put O’Brien and his coaching staff on notice. A move that is overdue and based on this start to the season, a change needed if the franchise wants to win a championship.
O’Brien has admirably tried to do it his way, going thoroughly against the grain with a non-traditional approach but his team has regressed, beyond recognition. Even the grandest of optimists within the building will now realise that an ownership intervention is required, if they want a better fate for Deshaun Watson’s talents. It’s never too late but the passive trust they’ve paid, has only left them and their fans at the foot of football’s top table. The exact place that all of those underachieving Texans greats found themselves.
FINAL: MINNESOTA 31 – HOUSTON 23