April 19, 2014

The Rundown: When Disaster Strikes (Rams Edition)

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The-RundownThe words are becoming just words. Actions are the only thing that will solve the Houston Texans issues at the moment, but there has been little production for a struggling team. This game resulted in a 38-13 loss to the St.Louis Rams and pushed the Texans current losing streak to four games.

The Texans gave up touchdowns to the Rams in all three phases, which is a bad combination for a team looking for answers. The answers are far and few at the moment, and the clock is ticking on the Texans’ 2013 season.

 

The Rundown

The Evaluation Period

There was self evaluation by Head Coach Gary Kubiak on his team after the three game losing streak heading into this week. There was a decision to stick with Matt Schaub at quarterback because he gives the team the best chance to win. Right now, Schaub gives the team the best chance to compete but the bigger issue is that there was no real change with what the Texans were doing offensively, defensively and on special teams. The playbook still looked the same and, more importantly, it produced the same results. The evaluation may have happened, but the results on the field were nothing but the worst performance by the Texans in 2103.

What do the Texans do from here? There is no real answer because these 53 players and 8 practice squad players are who the Texans thought would get them to where they wanted to go in 2013, but it hasn’t worked. The core is in place for the remainder of the season, but the team is looking for answers with the slow start. What is suiting up for the Texans is what is going to be on the field for the Texans moving forward, so any corrections have to be made with this group.

 

Foster Showed Up

This was finally the Arian Foster that we have grow accustomed to in Houston with 141 yards (7.1 a carry) and 57 yards receiving. Credit is due to the offensive line and Greg Jones clearing the lanes for Foster’s big runs, but his vision to make the cuts were a familiar sight. It took only Foster 20 carries to do damage for the offense, but was held out of the end zone when it counted the most. There has been some criticism on Foster with his recent play, but against the Rams his big day was lost in the overall poor offensive play.

 

Little Pressure

The Texans had only three hits on Sam Bradford and they were kept from getting a sack the entire day. For a Texans defense that has been getting to the quarterback, the pass rush was anything but top notch today. The Rams did not pass much, but a clean pocket made life easy for the Rams to run an efficient passing game that resulted in a 75% completion rate and 2 touchdowns for Bradford.

 

Danieal Manning Gets Hurt, Bad Things Happen

Manning went down in the 3rd quarter with a knee issue and was kept out the remainder of the game, but it was what happened after his exit. Shiloh Keo and Keshawn Martin both filled in for the injured Manning and both promptly gave up big plays to seal the fate for the Texans. Keo was in chase mode trying to cover Jared Cook on a big 3rd down gain for the Rams and Martin took over the kick return duties and gave away a free touchdown. Depth is a big issue, especially if one player goes down and there are two weaker players behind him who cannot pick up the slack. The drop off is apparent and the Texans cannot afford to lose Manning on defense, which right now is more important than special teams returns.

 

 

Unfortunate Mistakes

It was a laundry list on what not to do to win a NFL football game for the Texans.

1. Duane Brown – face mask penalty to stop the Texans first drive.

2. Kareem Jackson – pass interference to set up a touchdown on the Rams second offensive drive.

3. DeAndre Hopkins – fumble on the Texans second drive on a first down catch.

4. Derek Newton – false start on 3rd and Goal from the 4 yard line.

5. Brian Cushing – personal foul late hit on Sam Bradford after he started his slide.

6. Joe Mays – in coverage, two touchdowns given up to Rams tight ends.

7. Wade Smith - sack given up inside the 20 after a big first down gain on a Foster screen.

8. D.J. Swearinger -  on a 3rd and 6 gives up a key reception to Jared Cook to extend a Rams drive.

9. Keshawn Martin - fumbling a kickoff return that resulted in a touchdown.

10. Derek Newton - gets Schaub knocked out of the game with a right leg injury.

11. T.J. Yates - pick six to Alec Ogletree for 98 yards.

12. T.J. Yates - interception in the end zone intended for Garrett Graham.

 

Where to Now?

There has been little improvement with this Texans team as the season has moved on. The answer is not easy for the Texans and the move for the Texans is unknown at the moment. Is it a personnel move, a coaching change or something else? Accountability is the key word here and right now there is no one taking the lead in that department. The ball is being passed around from the players saying it’s on them, but on the other hand Kubiak is saying it starts with him. There is something wrong with this picture and the issues for the Texans run deeper than what is happening on the field. The offense is predictable, the defense is predictable and the special teams are predictable. The Texans are becoming the same situation over and over. Someone has to be accountable for what is going on, but who is yet to be seen.

 

You can follow Patrick on Twitter.  He is the Editor of State of the Texans.

 

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