Jan. 05, 2020
Chargers vs. Texans Report Card
The Houston Texans take their first loss at home at the hands of the San Diego Chargers. Despite a valiant performance in the loss last week against the Oakland Raiders in Mexico City, the Texans failed to further improve the next week. There's not much to be optimistic about in this loss, and I'm worried about the Texans' ability to hold on to the division lead with the Colts and Titans not too far behind.
How I will be doing this recap is grading each part of the Texans after their performance from A+ to F. A+ is obviously the best and vise versa for F. I'll do my best to explain the reasoning behind each grade and without bias.
I'm not surprised or even upset anymore about the performance we get from Brock Osweiler week in and week out. I've just kind of gotten used to his terrible play. Every game, he misses horribly on a throw, which finds its way perfectly into the hands of the defense. Every game, he misses a wide open read and throws into double or even triple coverage. He even makes Deandre Hopkins look bad which is extremely hard to do. Against the Chargers, Osweiler threw 59% for 246 yards, 3 interceptions, and 1 rushing touchdown, coming from a 1 yard quarterback sneak. Most of those yards and one of those interceptions came in the end of the game, where the Chargers played very soft and let most of the passes underneath go. Other than that, Osweiler only earned about a little over 150 yards. However, one thing that I noticed throughout all the ugliness is his ability to escape pressure. He consistently escaped a would be sack and would either take off for a good gain, or throw an interception (he actually did that).
The running game was on and off against the 28th ranked Chargers defense as Lamar Miller only had 19 carries for 57 yards. You could say that this was due to the inefficiency of the passing game, but I'm still a firm believer that the play calling and the offensive line are holding back the potential behind the running back committee. Such as when backup Akeem Hunt came in and ripped one for 16 yards, but wasn't given any more action the rest of the game. The coaching staff also have Lamar Miller running in between the tackles instead of stretch plays to the outside or pitch plays. At least Alfred Blue is one step closer to being healthy to help carry the load.
Grade: : C-
One of the few consistent things on this Texans team is the offensive line and how mediocre it is. Even though they only gave up 1 sack, they still failed to open up the slightest lane for Lamar Miller to slice through. I can't say that this unit had much of a chance in the run game because the Chargers are surprisingly ranked 7th in run defense on ESPN, and they are yet to give up 1000 rushing yards on the season. Despite the Chargers getting consistent pressure on Osweiler, you could say that this was one of their better games in pass protection on the season. Osweiler was able to escape the pressure after the tackles sealed the edge consistently and what happened after doesn't relate (it's not good).
There's really not much to say here other than that the tight ends today were quiet once again. Both C.J. Fiedorowicz and Ryan Griffin combined for only 8 receptions and under 80 yards. While things were looking up for Fiedorowicz throughout the past few games as he was a reliable blanket for Osweiler to throw to, he didn't show up against the Chargers and even had a drop or two. One thing that Fiedorowicz does well though is run blocking and even that wasn't enough to open up the offense for more things.
This offense as a whole was disappointing despite their abundance of opportunities against a vulnerable Chargers defense. Deandre Hopkins was the leading receiver with 70 yards with Will Fuller close behind with 60, but nobody had any red zone opportunities. I'd like to see the coaching staff to quit being so stubborn and mix things up in the red zone with all of the weapons this offense has at its disposal. Still, it was a very disappointing game for the receivers as the only other receiver with over 10 yards was Braxton Miller with 12. Will Fuller did have a nice 33 yard catch, which is a good sign that he's back to his speedy and dangerous self.
I have to applaud this unit for containing red hot Melvin Gordon to 70 yards, but there was, once again, missed opportunities, against a frail Chargers offensive line. The Texans finished the day with only 1 sack, coming from Benardrick McKinney. Whitney Mercilus and Jadeveon Clowney did create consistent disruption throughout the game, but failed to make any plays on Phillip Rivers. I feel like it's time to stop pretending and realize that we really really really need JJ Watt back on this pass rush.
The Texans' secondary is still very good, but was exposed on a few key plays that turned this game around. I think it's becoming apparent that an improvement at safety is a must for this unit, because Andre Hal and Quintin Demps aren't getting it done in helping out the run and covering the pass in their assignments. Other than that, AJ Bouye, Johnathan Joseph, and Kareem Jackson did a solid job in keeping everything in front of them, making sure tackles, and contesting throws, as they held Phillip Rivers to under 250 yards and snagging 1 interception. Kind of off topic, it sort of feels weird to say that AJ Bouye is our best cornerback now doesn't it?
Overall Grade: C-
The Texans struggled to get anything going against a poor San Diego defense, and eventually fell apart on defense, giving up 3 touchdowns through the air. The running game struggled all game to get going, and there were careless interceptions by Osweiler. There's not much to be optimistic about going forward to the end of the season other than the significant progress from AJ Bouye, and the return of Will Fuller. The Texans are hanging by a thread on the division lead over the Titans and Colts, and we can only hope that they're able to squeak by into the playoffs.