March 17, 2018

The Rundown: Groundhog Day (Patriots Edition)

This is not about losses anymore for the Houston Texans, this has turned into the same story each week with all of the outcomes the same. The Texans now sit in the driver’s seat for the 1st overall pick  for the 2014 NFL draft and have four games left to see how this disastrous season comes to a close.

The offense started hot and the defense slowed Tom Brady and company in the first half, but once again the second half was the Achilles heel of the Texans.



The Rundown

Ben Tate

Tate looked the best he has all season, but the offensive line did their best job all season in the run game. They cleared massive run lanes for Tate and produced four total rushing touchdowns for the game, where the Texans only had two coming into the game. Tate looked like he had fresh legs and he made the most of his opportunities with the football. Many of the times, Tate got to the second level untouched and made a defender miss to add to his big day.


Second Half Defensive Woes

The Texans came out early versus the Patriots offense and used their dime package and inserted linebacker Jeff Tarpinian into the game to go along with their normal six defensive backs. They confused Brady and used Tarpinian to cover Rob Gronkowski and get more speed on the field to match the Patriots. Joe Mays and Darryl Sharpton were off the field in passing situations, where both struggle in coverage and the Texans realized this.

The big second half adjustment came from the Patriots when they went to the base offensive personnel (2 WR, 2 TE, 1 FB, 1 RB) and forced Mays and Sharpton back on the field and in coverage. Gronkowski had a field day in the second half against slower linebackers, where as in the first half he was matched up against safeties. The offensive personnel for the Patriots exposed the Texans’ defense once again with their tight ends and running backs matched up against the coverage deficient linebackers. By our count, the Texans were in dime one time, compared to the majority of the 1st half where they stayed in it to put together a solid first half.


Eddie Pleasant

Eddie Pleasant

Eddie Pleasant

The second year Texans safety put together his best game since coming to Houston and made two key pass break ups on 3rd downs to keep hope alive for the Texans. He showed a knack for tackling the right way, wrapping up and bringing something with it to take down ball carriers. His production in one game has been more than the player he replaced, who is now in New York. Pleasant has some room to work as a player, but him finally getting his chance and putting a game together like he did against the Patriots was a good sight to see.


D.J. Swearinger

It is easy to be critical of Swearinger and his shoulder tackling, but he is a budding star for the Texans’ defense and he is only getting better. His speed from the safety position is impressive and he is understanding what he needs to do for the defense. He has to improve his tackling skills, but don’t let his skill set be overlooked. He has improved every game that he has started since he was named the starter coming out of the bye week, and he is slowly coming to form as an impressive second round pick. He produced eight total tackles with a tackle for loss. Teams are testing him and he is rising to the occasion more times than not.


Case Keenum

Once again, it was the tale of two halves for Keenum and this time the internal clock got him into trouble. Keenum held on to the ball too long and created a sack on himself and an interception that took a field goal attempt away from the Texans in the second quarter. Also, throw in the fact he was living dangerously throwing into tight windows, locking on to receivers and feeding Andre Johnson in triple coverage.

Early in the game, Keenum looked like he was going through his progressions and making the right reads, but as the game wore on he forgot at times to move through those progressions. He had some bright spots but his 50% completion rate for the game has to get better.  For the season, Keenum has 78 attempts from 1-10 yards and has completed only 51.3% of these passes.

There is plenty for Keenum to work on but the clock is ticking for his quarterback play to take a big step forward to be the answer for the franchise moving forward.


Andre Johnson

The second fastest NFL player to 900 career receptions, Johnson keeps putting in work for the Texans. Eight receptions for 121 yards put him over the 1,000 yard mark for the 7th time in his career, and one of the lone good things to look back on during the 2013 season.



Defensive End Antonio Smith accused the Patriots of knowing what the Texans were doing defensively too well on Sunday and brought up that something was “suspicious”. Whatever the case may be, the Texans were once again outcoached in the second half, and now Smith bringing this topic up only adds salt to the wounds of a 2013 season that needs no more excuses.


Not Enough Camera Time

New England Patriots offensive lineman Logan Mankins had some choice words for the Texans defense.  He had this to say of them:

“Those are guys that every play they make, they have to go celebrate. So if they’re not celebrating, if they’re not getting that camera time, they get mad.”

Mankins was clearly taking a shot at the Texans defense and even had some interesting comments about Watt post game.


1st Overall Pick

The Texans are sitting with the first overall pick for the 2014 NFL draft, but the reality is that there are four more games to be played so nothing is set in stone. The Texans are still in the business of not being the top overall pick and they will be playing to win all of the games remaining on the schedule. Time will tell where the Texans will end up, but talking who they will take with the first overall pick is premature when the season is not even done.


Picture is Worth a 1000 Words

@jazzeesteph via Twitter

@jazzeesteph via Twitter



















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

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