On Sunday vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars, NRG stadium was filled with a new energy. While the defense was wreaking havoc on the Jaguars offense Head Coach Bill O’Brien made the gutsy call to bench quarterback Brock Osweiler and play the 3rd year pro Tom Savage. The long time backup came off the bench and provided a much needed spark for the offense that gave them enough momentum to stage a 4th quarter comeback and help them win the game. In this article we’re going to take a look at what the team did well and what they need to work on.
Running Backs: Lamar Miller took the bulk of the carries and was good thing that he did for the Houston Texans. The former Miami Dolphin rushed for 63 yards which included a goal-line touchdown in the 4th quarter. Akeem Hunt chipped in 15 rushing yards; and Miller, Blue, and Grimes all had a reception this game.
Final Take: this game took an unusual turn in the 2nd half as the Houston Texans decided to pass the football more rather than run it. While the running attack wasn’t as impressive as it was last week, Miller still did a solid job carrying the ball throughout the entire game.
Final Grade: B-
Receivers: Deandre Hopkins had one of his best games this season; he caught 8 passes for 87 yards, 3 of which went for 1st downs on one scoring drive for the Texans. Will Fuller was able to haul in 4 catches with a long reception of 22 yards, and Wendall Willaims who was called up from the practice squad caught a 32 yard pass that ended up being the longest play of the game. Tight end Ryan Griffin started in place of the injured C.J Fiedororwicz and caught 8 passes for 85 yards.
Final Take: With Osweiler being benched in the 2nd half, Tom Savage was able to provide a spark for the unit by not only preventing turnovers, but taking shots downfield as well.
Final Grade: B+
Offensive Line: Facing a defense that boasted a group talented athletes, the offensive line was able to provide a clean pocket for both quarterbacks during the entire game. This unit has continued to be impressive with their pass protection all season and vs. the Jaguars they proved to do the same.
Final Take: While the offensive line again provided a strong presence in the passing game, they lacked enthusiasm opening holes for the running backs. Oday Aboushi came in as a starter this week and even though he proved capable of fitting in with this unit he still gave up a penalty late in the game. This unit must remain consistent for the last 2 games in order to solidify their playoff spot
Final Grade: C+
Defensive Line: Jadevon Clowney had not only one of his best games of the season, but he may have had one of his best games as a pro. Clowney provided constant pressure on the quarterback; and he ended up having a sack, 3 tackles for loss, and a pass deflection. Vince Wilfork again provided a potent push in the middle and only allowed 70 yards on the ground.
Final Take: As a former 1st round pick, a game like this for Clowney was a long time coming. Providing this kind of pressure on a quarterback is what the Houston Texans will need for the rest of the season and going into the playoffs.
Final Grade: A
Linebackers: Bennardrick Mckinney provided 7 tackles and sack while Cushing prodivded 4 tackles. Akeem Dent and Max Bullough both chipped in 2 tackles at their outside spots.
Final Take: While Mckinney had a solid day Cushing and Mercilieus did not provide the punch to this unit that we are used to seeing. It will be important for them to come back strong next week.
Final Grade: C+
Defensive Backs: This unit played perhaps one of its best game of the year, giving up only 92 yards in the air. Safety Andre Hal led the backend with 4 tackles, while nickel corner Robert Nelson improved his play form last week. The defensive play of the game was made by safety Quintin Demps came up with an interception to seal the 1 point victory.
Final Take: Locking down the receivers and preventing deep passes downfield allowed the offense enough time to come back in the game. One thing they need to clean up however our silly penalties. Corner A.J Boyue had a PI calls that led to a scoring drive for the defense.
Final Grade: A
Special Teams: Shane Lechler had 2 punts inside the 20, which led Alfred Blue amazing play to force a safety on an ensuing Jaguars punt. Nick Novak again provided excellent production in the field goal department by making all 4 kicks to give the Texans 12 of their 21 points. Will Fuller Also chipped in nice 27 yard punt return.
Final Take: This unit again has shown that no matter what is going on with the offense or defense, they will continue to do their jobs well. Expect for these two kickers to be a major factor come playoff time.
Final Grade: A
Coaching: Bill O’Brien and offensive coordinator Greg Godsey made 2 gutsy calls vs. the Jags. The 1st was the decision to bench their $72 million dollar QB Brock Osweiler in favor of incumbent backup Tom Savage; the 2nd was going for it on 4th down in the late in the 1st half. While Savage was able to provide a spark for the offense and help stage a late comeback the failed 4th down conversion early in the game put the Texans in a hole early. Romeo Crennel should be proud of himself and his defense as they only gave up 13 points the entire game (7 points came on a kick return at the start of the 3rd quarter).
Final Grade: B
The defense has once again shown that no matter what is going with the offense, they will dig their toes in and do whatever they can to put the team into the best position to win. With Clowney healthy and the secondary showing the NFL that they aren’t scared of any receivers, this entire unit could allow the Texans to make push their way to the super bowl. Offensively, it’s going to be up to the new man Tom Savage to take shots downfield and also not turn the ball over. If he can do that, he has the weapons to give any opposing defense problems.