The only consolation to this loss is the fact that we opened 0-2 against arguably two of the best teams in the entire NFL.
So, let’s take a quick look at a couple of points as to why the Texans just were unable to get it done, and what can be done to make a difference in the future.
OFFENSIVE LINE STRUGGLES
This was a point in my last article about this being a concern. To be fair, the Texans were facing the Ravens defense, which is arguably a top-five unit in the league right now. But, Deshaun Watson was under duress a good majority of the time, and was sacked four times for his troubles. However, he completed nearly 70-percent of his passes, and had a touchdown and an interception to his name.
Between this, the extremely ineffective running attack, and offensive line troubles, Houston was put in tough spots, more often than not. The loss of Duke Johnson did not help, as this meant they truly only had David Johnson to rely on in the backfield. Duke Johnson’s former days in Cleveland make him familiar with the Ravens, and he’s been known to cause them trouble. The lost extra option in the backfield did not help them on Sunday.
If this is not a point of attention this year, the team will continue to fight uphill battles.
DEFENSIVE UPS AND DOWNS
Surprisingly, the Texans defense actually caused more trouble to the Ravens defense than anticipated. J.J Watt led the team with a pair of sacks on Lamar Jackson and kept the pressure up. The “bend-and-don’t-break” defense started that way and kept the Ravens from lighting up the scoreboard early. However, they fell short when they permitted a 4th-and-1 opportunity to become six points on the back of Baltimore’s Mark Ingram.
The Texans defense will need to sharpen up in the upcoming weeks if they expect to keep Houston in games going forward. They travel to Heinz Field to face the Pittsburgh Steelers next week, and then, host Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings. Both of these games are winnable, and if the defense can do its part, they may be able to close out September with a win or two.
Deshaun Watson has shown us, throughout these games, that he does have the poise and precision to win games. He can’t — and shouldn’t — be blamed for his one interception, as that was more due to the outstanding athleticism of Marcus Peters than a bad decision by Watson.
There is a lot of talent on the offensive side of the ball. David Johnson looks better this year than his last year or two in Arizona. Also, Watson’s receiving corps is good enough to win close games. With Watson’s completion percentage against a dangerous Baltimore team and only small mistakes made by the offense, this team could’ve made a run at a win here. This could’ve easily been a one-score game opening up the fourth quarter, if a few small things had gone a different direction.
This Houston Texans team definitely has the talent to be competitive and win tough games. It’s not surprising to see them fall 0-2 against arguably the toughest two-game stretch so far, this season. If the defense can make some small changes and create turnovers; continue to sharpen up; create more long third downs; and force more field goals than touchdowns allowed, this could definitely be a team to watch out for.