Week one for the Houston Texans obviously didn’t go as planned, but to call it a failure, is ridiculous. It’s fair to say that Houston struggled throughout the night, but in the loss, bright spots can be found, specifically on the offense.
Houston matched Kansas City’s offensive output nearly identically, posting 360 yards of total offense to the Chiefs’ 369. The emergence of newly acquired David Johnson from Arizona seems to be a solid acquisition. Will Fuller looks to have rebounded from last season’s injury and is primed for a solid season after hauling in eight receptions for 112 yards. Quarterback Deshaun Watson looked to continue his outstanding career, throwing for 253 yards and a touchdown. Houston has offensive weapons. The question now turns to, when will this offense start clicking? When will Houston take the next step?
Despite trading away All-Pro wide-out DeAndre Hopkins in the off-season, Houston is well built on the offensive side of the ball. Fuller, Kenny Stills, Brandin Cooks, Randall Cobb, Keke Coutee make up the bulk of a very formidable receiving corp. Houston’s ground game isn’t anything to scoff at either, being led by the previously mentioned David Johnson and relieved by Duke Johnson. The Texans are built to spread the football through speed. But as stated above, when will things start clicking.
Houston only managed to put up seven points against the reigning Superbowl champs before finding the end-zone late for what could be considered garbage time scores. Tomorrow, the Baltimore Ravens come to town, led by their young, prolific, reigning league MVP quarterback, Lamar Jackson.
Houston can attempt to recreate the strategy used by AFC South Division rival, the Tennessee Titans, from their playoff victory over the Ravens last season. In that game, the Titans forced three turnovers. That’s easier said than done.
Despite the turnover margin, the deciding factor in that game was not necessarily the forced turnovers, but a dominant run game led by running back Derrick Henry. Henry was unstoppable in the upset victory for the Titans, picking up nearly 200 yards on 30 carries.
Week one for the Texans showed flashes of a potential three-down back for Houston in the form of David Johnson. It’s time to test that theory.
David Johnson is not Henry. Making that comparison is completely asinine. The two backs have completely different play styles and skill sets. But if Houston wants to avoid going 0-2, their new running back from the desert might be their best bet.
On just 11 carries against the Chiefs, David Johnson scampered for 77 yards and a touchdown. Houston largely abandoned the run game as the game went on, due to falling behind against a potent Patrick Mahomes’ led Chiefs’ offense.
Using David Johnson in a run first approach in this game could be the key to victory for the Houston Texans. Last week, Baltimore gave up 138 yards on the ground. This was largely picked up by the tandem of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt of the Browns.
Houston will need to rely on David Johnson and Duke Johnson to wear down a very respectable Baltimore defense. If Houston is able to get the pair rolling early, it should open up lanes for Watson in the passing game.
With Baltimore riding into Houston hot after decimating the Cleveland Browns 38-6 in week one, Houston will need to employ a bit of fresh energy compared to their last outing. Houston has the capability of being a top-tier offensive unit this season, the question remains if they can put it together.
If Houston fails to execute, falling 0-2 isn’t a death sentence for a franchise looking to make a run in the playoffs. The 2018 Texans fell 0-3 to start their season, but rebounded to make the playoffs and finish 11-5. However, the next two games for Houston don’t lighten up by any means. A trip to Pittsburgh, then home again to host the Vikings. The 2020 Texans arguably faced the toughest four game start to a season in franchise history, but if they want to establish themselves as AFC elite, this is the time to prove it.
For Houston, now is not the time to panic. It’s the time to execute.