HOUSTON – After suffering an awful 29-7 home loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars to open the 2017 season, it’s hard to find any positives.
The Texans were thoroughly outplayed in all facets and suffered one of the worst losses in franchise history.
With a short week on the horizon for Week 2, there won’t be much time for Bill O’Brien and company to reflect back on this forgettable opener. Texans fans, however, will have plenty of time to analyze and analyze what went wrong and how the club can improve moving forward.
As difficult as they may be to read, there are five takeaways from Week 1.
THE TEXANS NEED LEFT TACKLE DUANE BROWN BACK BADLY
Houston’s offensive line was already considered one of the lesser units in the league, and that was before the left tackle began a holdout that has now stretched into the regular season.
With Brown nowhere to be found, the Texans’ offensive line put on one of the worst performances ever. The line allowed 10 sacks and was responsible for allowing pressure that resulted in two strip-sack turnovers.
The Texans also had little success running the ball until the fourth quarter when the game was well out of hand. Regardless of who plays quarterback, the Texans will have little offensive success unless the O-line dramatically improves.
DESHAUN WATSON WAS BETTER THAN TOM SAVAGE BUT LOOKED OVERMATCHED
After a pathetic first half where he went 7-for-12 for only 62 yards passing, coach O’Brien benched his starting quarterback yet again — the fourth time he’s done that in Houston.
Watson came in and sparked the offense to open the second half, leading the team to its only points of the game in the third quarter. But he also struggled with accuracy and progressions. There were numerous mix-ups with the receivers on routes.
These mistakes aren’t unexpected for a rookie signal-caller making his NFL debut, but Watson is going to have to play better if he’s going to be the catalyst for a Texans turnaround.
THE TEXANS SUFFERED FOUR CONCUSSIONS
Already out several key contributors on their offense, the Texans came away with potentially-serious injuries to four key contributors.
Linebacker Brian Cushing, wide receiver Bruce Ellington, and tight ends Ryan Griffin and C.J. Fiedorowicz suffered concussions in Week 1 and should be considered very questionable to play against Cincinnati.
WR DEANDRE HOPKINS WAS THE ONLY BRIGHT SPOT FOR THE OFFENSE
Hopkins scored the only Texans touchdown on what was a very busy day for the star wide receiver.
Deshaun Watson, in particular, heavily targeted Hopkins, who absorbed a massive 16 targets. Hopkins only hauled in seven of the looks for 55 yards, but he was the only Texans’ wide receiver to catch a pass. For the entire game.
THINGS WON’T GET EASIER IN A SHORT WEEK
After a humiliating defeat, the injury-ravaged Texans must now turn around and travel to Cincinnati in a short week to face the Bengals on Thursday.
The Bengals also suffered an embarrassing home loss to open the season, so they won’t need any extra motivation to correct the issues that led to getting shut out at home by the Ravens.
Clubs that travel on short rest don’t have a very good win/loss record, so the Texans will need to quickly fix a lot of problems before the 2017 season gets out of hand.
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