Texans, Titans recap

Obviously the big story coming out of the Titans game is whether Tom Savage is going to be cleared in time to play against the Raiders this Saturday. In the press conference after the loss to Tennessee O’Brien was asked whether Savage would start the playoff game if cleared but he didn’t commit to it by saying that it is going to be up for evaluation.

It was surprising that Tom Savage was allowed to go back in before the half because the hit he took on the QB sneak shook him up good. First he was laid out face down on the pile for a few seconds, then when he got up he tried to clear his head with a quick jog. He probably displayed every sign of a concussion short of stumbling back down to the ground.

CBS showed Savage on the sidelines frustrated that he couldn’t go back into the game.

In Osweiler’s second stint as the quarterback he made some good throws but again the offense didn’t look totally like a well-run machine particularly in the red zone. One would assumed that Tom Savage would indeed be the starter once cleared from his concussion. It wouldn’t hurt to make the Raiders work extra this week preparing for Osweiler and Savage to start.

Tom Savage suffering a concussion and being forced out of the Titans game is yet another stroke of bad luck for the city of Houston and the Texans. Some are going to torch and question the decision of having Savage out there in a game in which the result had no significance.

But the fact of the matter is that Tom Savage needed to get those game repetitions in so that he could better prepare himself for the playoff run. Savage was only in his second start and is still in the process of learning defensive schemes in live game action as an NFL quarterback.

There is hope with Savage because he is still an unknown, we don’t know what his full capabilities as quarterback are yet. He has a good arm and has showed flashes of being a quarterback that you can win with. The concussion he suffered disallowed us from seeing if he was going to be able to rebound from a tough performance against the Bengals.

Savage missed out on the opportunity to get those much needed game reps, now he is in danger of missing the practice preparations leading for this weeks playoff matchup.

I can see the Texans coaching staff being paranoid about losing and in turn Brock Osweiler instead sending out a relatively inexperienced, not fully prepared Tom Savage. If Savage were to be cleared to play Friday and named started that will say a lot about how O’Brien’s confidence in him. It will also say that O’Brien is ready to turn the page with the Osweiler experiment.

The Raiders took a big hit when they lost Derek Carr for the season, it was even more evident in their 24-6 loss to the Broncos. The Texans defense should be able to limit the Raiders offense whether Matt McGloin or Connor Cook is their starter. How the Texans offense performs is likely going to determine how close the contest ends up being like it has most of this regular season.

There is no doubt that the Texans would have liked to get the win against the Titans but the main objective was to make it out healthy for playoff game that is in 6 days. The Titans were motivated to finish the season 9-7 and take that momentum into the offseason.

First off, Tom Savage’s play against the Titans looked very similar to how the first half against the Bengals went. On the third play of the Texans first drive result in a fumble that the Titans recovered in the endzone, followed by two consecutive 3 and out punts.

It wasn’t until the fourth possession where Savage connected with Hopkins for 8 yards on the first 1st down of the day.

On Tom Savage’s sack fumble it was a failed recognition of the outside linebacker that was lined up in front of DeAndre Hopkins. He went untouched and hit Savage within 2 seconds of the snap.

On the Texans second possession Savage threw a 3rd down 4 yd pass to Fuller, Hopkins on the play was running an out route towards the sidelines. Savage was looking that way and probably throws to him if Hopkins wasn’t being held by the Titans defender.

The offensive line continues to be an issue and its affecting the run/pass attack. Lamar Miller’s return this week should help in masking some of the struggles run blocking.

Brock Osweiler came in for Tom Savage early in the second quarter and the drive ended in a turnover on downs capped off with a 6 yd sack. The Texans went on to have six more possessions. There were two drives that ended in touchdowns, a punt, one miss and a made field goal. The final drive of the game was with 53 seconds left in the game and no timeouts.

I’m not going to say these 2 weeks off from starting did Osweiler a world of good and he is all of a sudden primed to lead the Texans on a deep playoff run. But I do feel that he reflected on his play, maybe saw some things that Savage did on the field and made a few small changes in his game.

Osweiler was connecting with Hopkins throughout the game which has been a struggle this season. In the 3rd quarter Hopkins ran a quick inside slant and took the pass that Osweiler threw perfectly in stride for 27 yds. Many of the passes Osweiler threw were quicker, and because of that the receivers were able to makes some plays with the ball.

Osweiler was checking the ball to his running back when he felt there was nothing open. Osweiler also let the ball fly a few times. Hopkins caught one of them over Brice McCain but he had one foot out of bounds because Osweilers pass was too close to the sideline. The second deep a ball was a good attempt and could have been a huge 40 yd play but the ball landed a yard ahead of Fuller.

The one play that did connect was the 26 yd pass along the sideline to Wendall Williams. This play happened in the middle of the 4th quarter, the same drive where Osweiler scrambled for the touchdown on 4th goal. Other than the play to Wendall Williams I felt that the drive was cheap because up until that play the offense was being moved on short passes with the Titans playing off coverage.

All in all, Brock Osweiler played much better than the last game he was in against the Jaguars. That’s not something to be overly thrilled about but you rather have that over Osweiler playing as horribly as he did in the Jags game. We will see how the quarterback situation ends up playing out for this Saturday.

It was encouraging how well the Texans defense did against one of the best rushing attacks in the league. On 11 carries Demarco Murray was held to 1.9 yards per rush, Derrick Henry had a better day running for 65 yards on 15 carries. D.Henry had two separate 14 yd runs, one in the 3rd  quarter and the other in the 4th, both of which get stopped for no game if the Texans had their starters in.

Clowney, John Simon, and Cushing were inactive for the game. Mercilus and Mckinney only played in the first half

For the second week in a row Max Bullough’s lack of speed was exposed . D. Henry took the hand off from shotgun formation to the outside were Bullough could have meet him two yards behind the line of scrimmage but instead Henry’s ran by him to the outside and left Bullough grabbing at air. Last week against the Bengals he had a chance to take down Brandon LaFell before he took a five yard catch on a slant 86 yds for a touchdown.

Christian Covington who finished the day with 4 tackles and 1 sack, stood out in the run and was applying some pressure on Cassel. What I like a lot about Covington is that he is always hustling to the ball with urgency. It was also good to see all three of the rookie lineman Joel Heath, D.J. Reader, and Ufomba Kamalu making some things happen on defense. If they can keep this going it’s going to be a huge boost for this defense heading into the playoffs.

 

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