Texans Dominated And Put Away The Raiders Early
The Houston Texans improved to 2-0 on the season by completely destroying the Oakland Raiders in their home opener. It is the fifth straight year that the Texans have started their season winning their first 2 games.
Ryan Fitzpatrick And Texans Have A Turnover Free Game
One of the biggest keys for the Texans to come out with a victory over the Raiders was for them to not shoot themselves in the foot and take care of the ball. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been fumble and interception prone in his career but so far in facing lesser competition and relying heavily on a running game, he has yet to turn the ball over in the regular season.
Fitzpatrick had a more efficient game going 14/19 for 139 yards and two touchdowns. The offense as a whole was much better and looked more fluid in the convincing victory. Fitzpatrick was decisive when he had to throw and managed the offense well. He put the ball in places where his receivers could get them like the perfectly placed back shoulder touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins.
We have yet to see the scenario where Fitzpatrick is needed to make a game clinching drive where he puts the team on his back and wins with his arm, but he is proving so far that he can guide the offense if the rest of the team is doing their job.
During the game I noticed that Andre Johnson looked noticeably explosive in his routes, he has plenty of years left in him. I would like to start seeing his touchdowns pile up soon so that he can beat his career high this year. I was a little bit surprised that O’Brien actually decided to put in a goaline package with J.J. Watt. In the past the idea has been brought up but never really taken seriously. It is something that was very cool to see, especially because he caught a touchdown but I don’t want to get used to seeing him in there.
The tight ends again were hardly used in the passing game which continues to be somewhat of a mystery. The coaches think highly of him as a receiver and I thought they would have gotten him involved. Second year tight end Ryan Griffin had a tough day in the blocking phase of the game.
For the second consecutive week DeVier Posey was inactive. Also Damaris Johnson was working quietly in the slot in the first half and again saw little to know action in the second half.
Texans Establish The Run
Once again Bill O’Brien gave Arian Foster a good work load on the ground and this week against a weaker Raiders run defense, Arian had a much more productive game. Arian ran for 138 yards on 28 carries, had 2 receptions for 12 yards and was able to finally break a long run which he did for 40 yards, one yard short of a touchdown.
As the game went into the third and fourth quarter it began to look like it did in week one when every yard was earned and Arian was taking a lot tough hits. He had enough after he was shaken up on a six yard gain and jogged to the sideline with 11 minutes left in the game and a 27-7 lead. Arian had one more carry than he did in week 1 and matched his reception total at two catches.
Texans Keep The Turnovers Coming
The Texans’ defense only created 11 turnovers all season in 2013, but in the first two games of this season they are already have more than half of that total with 6 turnovers.
You would think that only being able to come up with 11 turnovers in a 16 game NFL season is nearly impossible, but luck steered clear of the Texans in 2013. Luck shouldn’t take credit for turnovers this season, only the RG3/A.Morris fumble was the only true unforced turnover. The ball has bounced the Texans’ way early in the season.
Kareem Jackson did a great job in coverage reading Derek Carr and jumping the route on his interception, and he was one block away from reaching the endzone for a pick six. D.J. Swearinger for the second consecutive week was able to recover and make a wrap around tackle causing a fumble, which Johnathan Joseph took for a long way as well.
The play where James Jones fumbled the ball twice was incredible and it showed a lot of hustle and determination from the Texans by being able to come up with the ball. The last turnover was created by J.J. Watt who had a quiet game but he helped allow Brooks Reed to intercept a floating duck pass, which was caused by Watt as hit Carr simultaneously while he was throwing.
The Defense Continues To Play Smart
Thus far the Texans have been able to limit big plays by being smart and playing tight defense. The turnovers created have been a big reason that the Texans have been able to remain in control of games. The pass rush wasn’t as apparent as it was against the Redskins but a large part of that was the quick passes by Derek Carr.
Brooks Reed and J.J. Watt had a huge impact in week one 1 but surprisingly both failed to register a tackle against the Raiders. The Raiders did as good a job that a team could to neutralize J.J. Watt and if you didn’t watch him closely you might think he did nothing all game. Watt was able to beat him man numerous times, it was just that almost every time he did win his battle, Derek Carr happen to get the ball out fast.
Kareem Jackson might have had the best day on the defensive side of the ball with his interception and multiple pass break ups. The secondary has a whole is playing really good and making solid tackles in open space.
A.J. Bouye was flagged for interference on a deep pass because as he went up to deflect the pass he had his right arm slightly on D. Moore’s back for a quick moment. He also gave Moore a light bump, but it was a really great play that went penalized because of the angle that the referee had on the play.
The Texans are getting very solid coverage from all the cornerbacks on the team.
Brian Cushing Shakes Off Some Of The Rust
Brian Cushing didn’t make many plays in week 1 but against the Raiders he appeared to be getting back into form. He was looking more like the old Brian Cushing with some violent take downs as he logged 5 unassisted tackles on the day. He should only continue to improve as the weeks go on and as he is able to stay on the field for all downs again. Justin Tuggle had a great play to start the game when he shot through the gap and got a tackle for loss.
Jerrell Powe still isn’t demanding double teams which isn’t allowing Cushing and the middle linebackers to make more plays. Jeoffrey Pagan saw a good amount of snaps in place of Jared Crick and was in on some plays. Pagan has the ideal size to play defensive end in the 3-4 and could end up taking over the position is he makes the most of his time.
The Offensive Line Had A Great Game
The Line for a second consecutive week was able to go without allowing a sack on Ryan Fitzpatrick. They opened up holes for Arian Foster and imposed their will on the Raiders in the fourth quarter when the Texans ran the ball on fourteen straight plays. They fell didn’t happen to fall asleep though on the field goal attempt that was blocked and cost Randy Bullock his streak of made kicks that carried over from last year.
Derek Newton continues to go unnoticed through two weeks, which for an offensive lineman means that you are doing a good job. Ryan Kerrigan who Newton had the assignment of blocking in week 1 was able to get 4 sacks in a week 2 victory over the Jaguars.