HOUSTON – The Houston Texans are 1-5 after a close-called overtime loss to the Tennessee Titans.
Houston must play a nearly perfect football for the final 10 games to reach the NFL playoffs.
Sunday’s overtime loss showed major improvements despite defensive issues.
Here are three main takeaways from the Texans’ loss:
Watson leads team
Deshaun Watson showed why he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. On Sunday, he picked apart the Titans defense for 335 yards and four touchdowns, without turning the ball over.
When he had time, Watson was able to hit deep passes, including a 53-yard bomb to Will Fuller, which is what the Texans offense looks like when it’s firing on all cylinders.
The quarterback escaped the pocket and made great throws even when he didn’t have time, as we’re used to.
If the Texans are to make a run in 2020, Watson will lead the charge.
Diaster on defense
Giving up more than 600 yards is a lot even in a Big 12 shootout, much less a divisional NFL game.
The Texans entered Week 6 with the 31st ranked run defense on yards allowed, giving up 212 yards on the ground to the Titan’s Derrick Henry, who is the NFL’s reigning rushing leader.
Henry broke off a few big runs early but was mostly bottled up by J.J. Watt and other Texans interior defenders.
Henry put up 100 yards relatively early. But his performance didn’t feel dominant until he broke off a 94-yard touchdown run, reaching 21.6 MPH at 247 pounds.
Simply, Henry is one of the best running backs in the NFL, and the Texans are one of the worst run defenses.
Houston struggled to tackle the huge running back, and when they stacked the box.
Titans’ quarterback Ryan Tannehill picked apart the secondary with underneath passes to Adam Humphries and longer balls to A.J. Brown.
Run game falters again
The DeAndre Hopkins trade will haunt the Texans for years, but it’s already hurting them in 2020.
The main player returned in the transaction, David Johnson has struggled to recover his All-Pro form of 2016. Johnson regularly struggled to show burst and ran immediately into either blockers or tacklers.
Neither runningbacks Duke Johnson or David Johnson could string together productive carries like their counterpart, and Watson had to throw to keep Houston in it.
The run game needs to either improve fast, or the Texans should just abandon it and let Watson sling the rock nearly every play.
Too many times, offensive coordinator Tim Kelly called a run on first and second down, only to put his quarterback behind the chains.