The Texans were able to yet again pull out a victory in which they relied heavily on the defense to keep them in the game, this time they also needed the luck of a missed field goal.
“Doesn’t matter Brian, AFC South champions two years in a row Brian. Doesn’t matter what it looked like, back in the playoffs, looking forward to the playoffs.”
The quote is from Bill O’Brien’s postgame press conference Saturday, where O’Brien aggressively cut off Brian T. Smith’s with the first question 8 words in. Smith started off the question by simply stating win wasn’t very pretty.
By now we now O’Brien can be very sensitive to things, so this outburst wasn’t anything new. The concerning part is the fact that Texans had the opportunity to clinch a playoff spot at home against a team missing key weapons and still probably should have lost the game.
After watching the game over I feel better about Tom Savage’s performance against the Bengals.
The Bengals’ defensive line pose bad matchup for Texans
Much of the struggles to move the ball against the Bengals can be attributed to the inability of the Texans to contain Atkins, Johnson, Sims and the rest of their line. The Texans offensive line had a rough night, especially Ryan Clark and Jeff Allen who were getting beat consistently.
Savage was under a lot of pressure, and Alfred blue wasn’t able to get much on the ground. There were also two drives that came to a halt because of receiver drops. I don’t want to make too make too many excuses for Savage because he did miss on a some plays, however I don’t think he was putting on a Brock Osweiler type of performance.
Bill O’Brien finally adjusted in the 2nd half coming out with an up-tempo offense. Also, Savage was making more use of Blue as his check down when he didn’t see receivers open.
A big positive for Savage was that he that he didn’t turn the ball over, though did have about 2 close calls.The debate that often comes up with a struggling offense is whether its the play calling or is it the quarterback to blame. When Osweiler was the quarterback I said both were at fault, but against the Bengals I feel that the play calling was holding the team back from moving the ball and scoring points.
Tom Savage has some good quarterback qualities, if you don’t see the difference in watching him play compared to Brock Osweiler then you aren’t watching closely enough. Savage has potential and has shown the ability to improve in his time.
O’Brien needs to recognize and adjust sooner when it is clear that the offensive line is being overmatched. When you see constant pressure in Savage’s face eliminate the plays that have receivers running long routes. It is a wasted play when Savage is waiting for routes to develop but nothing materializes because he has no window to throw to.
The Texans also run too many plays with routes going near the sidelines, and not enough ones across the middle of the field. Passes thrown in the middle of the field are easier and shorter throws than ones to the sideline.
I don’t understand why the Texans didn’t try to get Ryan Griffin involved in the passing game against the Bengals. Griffin had great receiving game the week prior against the Jaguars bringing in 8 catches for 85 yards when he was the main tight end. Fiedorowicz was back from his concussion this past week but why not see if you can get something going again with Griffin. Instead, Griffin finished the game without a reception on two targets. One of those targets hit the ground 5 ft in front of him, the other was thrown late and Griffin couldn’t make the catch as he was tackled from behind simultaneously.
It doesn’t make sense why Fiedorowicz and Griffin aren’t the focal point of the offense by this point in the season. The tight ends as a position group have had consistent production all season. Why aren’t there more two tight end set passing plays, especially in the redzone where the Texans have settled for field goals too many times.
Ryan Griffin and C.J. Fiedorowicz are both 6’6” and should have the advantage over the LBs/DBs that are covering them a decent percentage of the time. In my opinion the Obrien and Godsey are really doing a disservice to the offense for not exploiting these possible mismatches.
What is having Kieth Mumphrey out there doing for the offense? Braxton Miller and Jalaen Strong are both on injured reserve. Fuller is a weapon but he has had an inconsistent rookie campaign. Lamar Miller didn’t suit up in the Bengals game because he had to rest up his nagging injuries due to the Texans trying to make him a workhorse running back this season.
At the very least the Texans by now should have their hand forced into running more plays with Griffin and Fiedorowicz.
So coach O’Brien it kind of does matter how the win looked on Saturday because people thought they were going to see progression on offense. I don’t think Tom Savage played as bad as some may think but people had a new sense of hope for this season but again saw little offensive production.
Every fan in the city is looking ahead to the playoffs and that is why the way the game against the Bengals played is troubling. We know the defense is been playing great, not enough can be said about them because they are the reason the Texans are in the position they are in.
O’Brien should also calm down a little in boasting about being back to back division champs.
The bashing of the AFC South by everybody is starting to get really old because legitimate teams have been getting beat by teams in the AFC South all season. But I would have to agree that the Texans likely aren’t division champions at all these past two years if they were in any other division.
If Clowney wasn’t playing like an absolute monster in Indianapolis the Texans do not win that game.
The Texans have scored 13 points or less in 3 of the last 5 games. Against the Chargers at home 13 points wasn’t enough, nor was it enough against the Packers on the road. From an objective view, 12 points shouldn’t have been enough against the Bengals.
That is why it matters how ugly the victory against the Bengals was, coach.