March 21, 2018

The Rundown: Down and Out (Colts Edition)

The season has really turned sour after the events on Sunday Night against the Indianapolis Colts in yet another second half collapse. The game took a back seat to what occurred at half-time with Head Coach Gary Kubiak collapsing while heading into the locker room.

The Texans took a commanding half-time lead but the Kubiak situation seemed to take all the wind out of the Texans’ sails heading into the second half. The second half was a mess on both sides of the football and, according to Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson:

 “It was our first time really having it where he (Kubiak) wasn’t there, as far as getting the plays in and stuff like that. So it was definitely different. Sometimes it seemed like it took the plays a little bit longer to come in and stuff like that, but that’s no excuse”.

The offense was off in the second half with offensive coordinator Rick Dennison taking over play calling duties, and the defense once again faltered down the stretch when they were needed most. The perspective of the game was really put to the test with the Kubiak situation, and after the game the locker room had their minds on the health of their head coach.


The Rundown

Case Keenum Factor 

Enough cannot be said about the life that Keenum has brought back into the offense and it starts with him protecting the football. If the Texans have a quarterback that can take care of the football, and throw in the fact he made some big throws against the Colts, he has the makings of an adequate NFL quarterback. There is some bad with Keenum, but he is learning on the run. He is going to have to learn that NFL defenders have bad intentions when the quarterback has the ball in his hands. Late in the game, Keenum held onto the ball and did not feel the pressure which led to a big hit.

Let’s be honest. He has shown way more good than bad on the field and he has shown he can create on the run outside the pocket. His wide receivers in Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins have shown very good field awareness with Keenum at quarterback. The throws Keenum has been able to make and letting his wide receivers work is a refreshing site for a franchise that has never had a quarterback with touch.

Keenum is pushing the Texans to make some decisions during the offseason that will have him the only quarterback left standing from the current quarterbacks on the roster. He has supplanted Matt Schaub as the starter and this is his team for the remainder of the season.


Andre Johnson is Alive

Thanks to Case Keenum, Johnson has been woken up the past two games and he put on a show in the first half against the Colts.


Johnson is getting the opportunity to make things happen and he is showing that he is still a vertical threat. It is amazing to think that Johnson looked like he was on his last leg as an NFL player. But with Keenum, Johnson still looks like he has some more life left in the NFL. It is going to be fun to watch to see how Keenum can keep pushing Johnson as a player.


Special Teams Blunders

Despite a blocked field goal attempt and blocked punt, special teams play once again put the Texans in a hole.  A Shane Lechler 19 yard punt and three missed field goals by Randy Bullock only made this a reoccurring theme this season, bad special teams play.

Also, a late holding penalty on Elbert Mack on the last punt return put the Texans with more field to cover with no timeouts. Throw in the fact Keshawn Martin has become inconsistent when he touches the ball, the return game is nothing worth while to look at. Martin got away with a fumble that was reversed deep in their own territory that should have been a fumble. If there is change coming, it is not coming quick enough.


T.Y. Hilton Owns the Texans at Reliant

It was like a bad dream from Hilton last year when the Colts wide receiver once again lit up the Texans secondary with 7 receptions for 121 yards and three touchdowns. Five catches came against Joseph in big situations. His speed once again exposed the Texans’ secondary and he made Joseph miss a tackle for an easy trot into the end zone. Hilton in two games at Reliant has 10 receptions for 195 yards, four touchdowns and he showed he can stretch the field with no issue.


Pass Rush Showed Up

It was the defense’s best performance of the season. They totaled 5 sacks, 10 quarterback hits and 14 quarterback hurries. Led by J.J. Watt, his fellow defensive end Antonio Smith showed he still can produce by leading the team with 2 sacks on the night. The pressure was coming from everywhere and made Andrew Luck look mortal in the first three quarters. The Colts made some adjustments late in the game and protected Luck long enough to pick apart the Texans defense when it counted most. The pass rush was there early and often, but late in the game it just wasn’t enough.


Mental and Physical Blunders

The Texans seem like they can’t get the best out of their own team when it counts the most. Mistakes have killed the Texans. Take a look:

1. Three missed FGs by Bullock. Two should have been made with no issues. Missed from 43, 49 and 55.

2. T.Y. Hilton three TD catches agains Brice McCain and Johnathan Joseph.

3. Late hit by Darryl Sharpton on a key third down stop on Luck out of bounds.

4. Offensive play calling that was questionable in the second half.

5. Kareem Jackson with another infamous pass interference call for 46 yards.


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

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