Oops. Well then.
So, as I figured they would, the Texans lost Sunday night. However, in no way did I envision THAT.
You know how a lot of times, coaches, players and fans will be quick to point out the positives of a loss as something to build on going forward? The only positive I can think of from that game is that it (eventually) ended.
The Texans got their heads kicked in from goalpost to goalpost, in all phases of the game.
There really isn’t much to analyze. On offense, the offensive line got whipped in pass protection, and got beaten even worse when they tried to run the ball. If I had to come up with a descriptor for the offensive line in this game, I would say they were “the poops.”
The Packer secondary had Matt Schaub confused and bewildered, and of course he never had more than a few seconds to throw the ball. It wasn’t just Clay Matthews, either. Pressure was coming from everywhere. Even Duane Brown had his worst game since I can’t remember when. Surprisingly, Matthews was matched up with Brown for a significant chunk of the game. Matthews had Brown off balance all night, and to his credit – Matthews was simply more elite at his position than Brown was at his. That’s going to happen when you go up against one of the best (the best?) at his position in the NFL. No shame in that for Brown. He and pretty much every one of the other 44 active guys wearing blue had a very bad night.
Andre Johnson finally had a little more impact in this game, but even though he had eight catches on twelve targets, none of his catches stretched the field, and none of them were big plays. Of course, that has a lot to do with the fact that the Packers built a lead, set the safeties back, and made sure they didn’t give up anything big.
Arian Foster and Ben Tate quite literally did nothing. Arian’s longest rush was five yards. FIVE! Just awful – but this was all about the complete lack of ANY successful blocking.
On defense… yeesh. Not to channel John McClain, but everyone gets an F. Well, maybe not JJ Watt, but you get my meaning. Facing a good quarterback and skilled receivers, Kareem Jackson was Kareem Jackson. Disturbingly, Johnathan Joseph had his second bad game in a row and we’re left to question how much his sore groin is hurting his game. Glover Quin got beaten twice on touchdowns. Danieal Manning lost his mind and punched a guy in the helmet three times, giving the Packers an automatic first down after a third down stop that led to a touchdown. Of course, he was getting snapped in half under a pile, but you still can’t let that happen. It’s not like those short-arm punches actually made any difference.
The inside linebacker play. Oh, the inside linebacker play. Nothing too unexpected there but if you think it was bad against the Packers, I suspect it COULD be worse against the Ravens. I just don’t buy that Cushing’s pass coverage is going to be missed that much – it’s his play against the run that I think the Texans will miss. The team needs some Wade Phillips magic in practice this week for sure.
Up front, the nose tackle play continued to be, shall we say, sub par? Earl Mitchell and Shaun Cody continue to split snaps, with Cody drawing most of the garbage time reps. Neither are doing anything inspiring. We will see even more of Mitchell now that Tim Jamison is done for the season with an Achilles injury. Gary Kubiak has praised Mitchell for his play and his ability to slide to the outside. Yeeeahh, we’ll see.
Connor Barwin is still an invisible man in this defense. I’ve heard some of the theories explaining his regression, but I’m just not buying right now. He looks slower, and the most telling problem is that until the Packers’ game he hasn’t even been close to getting the QB. Finally, he got his hands on the QB two or three times but came away with nothing. It’s true that sacks often come in bunches, but this is not a numbers issue. It’s an effectiveness issue. There’s still a lot of season left to be played, but Barwin is getting handled in single coverage without much of a problem.
Then there’s the coaching.
As much as the Texans were outplayed Sunday night, they were just as much outcoached. I mean, former Texans’ head coach Dom Capers simply OWNED current coach Gary Kubiak. The Packers simply obliterated the Texans’ zone blocking scheme, and made it look pretty easy. It’s not the first time their tactics have been used, so it will be interesting to see how many other teams in this so-called “copycat league” try to emulate it.
The Packers came in with a great gameplan on defense, executed it to perfection, and probably sat there astonished in the second half as the Texans failed to make any significant or effective adjustments.
ALL that said – it’s just one game. Not only is it just one game, but it was a game against an NFC opponent. Saying this game was meaningless is certainly not the case. However the AFC has been SO average this year, that depending on the outcome of the Monday Night game between San Diego and Denver, there will only be either two or three teams in the conference with a winning record. On top of that, we are all very aware of what a weak division the Texans play in.
So you get where I’m going. It’s done. It was embarrassing, awful, and frankly kind of shocking how badly the Texans were beaten… but big picture? It doesn’t hurt the Texans much at all on paper. We just need to now see how the team responds to such a beating. We are going to find out pretty quickly with Baltimore coming to town, who can also put up some numbers offensively – but have been dealt a MAJOR blow by losing LB Ray Lewis and CB Ladarius Webb for the season.
The Texans should win Sunday. If they can’t put up some offense against the Ravens suddenly porous defense, that’s a problem.
Player of the game – offense – nobody.
Player of the game – defense – JJ Watt yet again. No explanation needed after another multi-sack performance… but it’s not like it had any real impact on the game.
Play of the game – pick any of Aaron Rodgers SIX touchdown passes. Just pick any of them. The guy was just on fire, and apparently needed his team to be at 2-3 and needling from the media to get him going this year. Good for you, Aaron.