The Texans are looking good after their eighth straight win.
Following an impressive 34-17 victory over the Tennessee Titans, the Houston Texans are enjoying one of the best seasons in the Bill O'Brien era. Some saw the victory as a welcomed shift from what the normal game script of a Texans win usually is. Seven of the ten games this season have been decided by seven points or less which is pretty much what we have come to expect. Conservative is a tag that has been attached to this Texans team, but tonight was an example of how explosive this team could be. So, what is the Identity of this Houston Texans team?
In most local circles, the Texans game plan has been a broken record for years. Conservative on offense and lean on the defense to bail them out. Run on first and second down to set up a potential long third down. It was not because it was successful in my opinion, but because it was safe. The defense was clearly head and shoulders above the offense, and Bill O'Brien knew it. Sure, he would sell the fans in every press conference about playing complementary football, but that was never the product on the field. The arrival of Deshaun Watson amongst others has changed that narrative. The offense now has the tools necessary to be explosive and bail out the defense on a bad day. The only question now is can Bill O’Brian adjust to what he has on the field.
Per PickingPros.com in 2016 the Texans ranked 29th out of 32 teams in passing yards and 19th in rushing yards per game. With those numbers, you can understand why the Texans would also rank 29th in points per game. When you look at the talent in critical positions back, then I feel it is easy to see why the offense was so inept. Fast forward to 2018 and those numbers change drastically to 19th in passing per game and 15th in rushing yards per game. Those numbers equate to 14th in points per game which is more than enough to work with for one of the top five defenses in the league.
So, If the offense is that much improved why do all their games still feel the same? Obliviously, the big wins over the Titans and Dolphins are the exceptions to the rule. Breaking down the rest of the games, however, much of the game plan looked and felt the same. Run the ball to manage the game to limit the mistakes. That was the conclusion I kept finding myself coming to repeatedly. With that being said, is that the true identity of this Texans team, or is that what Bill O'Brien is comfortable with because it has served him well with lesser talent?
I ask this Question because if you watched either of the two primetime games I mentioned or the even the New England Patriots game from last year, you know that it doesn’t have to be that way. The emerging star that is Deshaun Watson has proven that he is capable of leading a high-powered attack. He has elite weapons at his disposal capable of exploiting a weakness of defense regardless of where it is on the field.
The game on Monday should not serve as an exception to the rule, but as the model that the team should strive for. That Texan team on Monday night had incredible balance and got whatever they wanted. If Bill O'Brien can call, games going forward the way he called this last one the sky is the limit for this team. I don’t know what the identity of this team is or what it will be, but I hope it looks just like that Texan team did on Monday night.