The very first game of the 2020 NFL season concluded, and was just about what we expected it to be. The Chiefs dominated on offense, and their defense did just enough to put away the Texans. And the Texans… well, their offense had a hard time getting the motor started and that defense had their hands full.
Let’s break down some important pieces of the Texans game.
Rushing the Ball
Last week, I mentioned If the Texans were going to win this game, they would need to rush the ball effectively. They certainly started that way, and scored on their 2nd possession on the back of David Johnson – who showed flashes of consistency on his first game in a Texans jersey. He ended the day with 77 yards rushing, 32 yards receiving and 1 touchdown.
Unfortunately, as the game continued on and they continued to fall behind, the Texans ended up getting away from the rushing attack and had to rely on more passing downs to keep up with the Chiefs. In the future, continuing to capitalize on this skillset and rushing the ball more will give the Texans additional ways to attack opposing defenses. It will also take pressure off of Deshaun Watson and their offensive line.
Which bring us to our next point.
The Offensive Line
Here was the Texans biggest issue over Week 1.
Deshaun Watson was constantly under pressure, and had very little time to set up and throw. If you are putting yourself in a position where you have to throw the ball to keep up with a dangerous offense like Kansas City, this is a serious problem. Watson was on the move often, and was able to throw for over 250 yards and a touchdown, but also had an interception. Watson was often uncomfortable in the pocket and needed to move around too much to be truly effective, especially being without his former star receiver.
There are definitely changes that need to be made here if Houston wants to see success this year. Watson has numerous No. 2 receivers in his offense, and needs time to set up his plays and give his guys chances to succeed. Constant scrambling won’t get it done, not in the long run.
Talk about having your hands full!
As if the Chiefs were not potent enough last year without a running back you really had to worry about. They went ahead and drafted Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the first round, and he seemed like a solid investment if Week 1 is any indication.
He gave the Texans defense fits all game. He racked up 138 rushing yards on 25 carries, and added a score. The defense got hit in the mouth often and hard by the Chiefs. They struggled, as many teams do, with Patrick Mahomes. He lit them up for three passing scores.
The Texans defense was on their heels often and will need to find ways to slow the games down in order to give their offense the ability to keep games close. This is not a defense that is going to keep them in games if the offense doesn’t perform like it has in the past. Tweaks will have to be made here to help the offense as they figure out their new style of play.
The Texans are a different feel this year.
No Deandre Hopkins, who was a real anchor in tough spots. A unique skill set in David Johnson that could really be a boon to Deshaun Watson, as they look to find a good middle ground in this offense.
They also have a defense that just isn’t what Texans fans are used to seeing. I said it last week and I’ll say it again, this isn’t the intimidating defense of years past.
This team will win or lose based on this offense. Now, this new offense definitely has some good potential, and could be trouble if they can get them clicking.
But that’s the real question, can Coach Bill O’ Brien create a dangerous offense on the back of Deshaun Watson? Or will he continue to find new ways to lead them to mediocrity?