Sunday October 9th, 2016

In Brock Osweiler’s defense, the Vikings have made everyone—from Odell Beckham to Aaron Rodgers—look pedestrian on offense so far this season. But Osweiler was pitiful for the second time in an important road game for the Texans this season, finishing 19 of 42 for 184 yards, a touchdown and an interception, and after a 31–13 loss to Minnesota it’s fair to question whether Houston is any closer than it was last year to finding a quarterback. 

Osweiler has already thrown seven interceptions in five games this season, compared to six he threw in 10 games last year. He hasn’t broken a passer rating of 90 yet, or thrown for more than 300 yards in a single game. The Texans offense also hasn’t gotten an incredible amount of help from the running game, where Lamar Miller—despite carrying a big load—is averaging the fewest yards per carry of his career.

Osweiler received big money in the off-season, and he’s owed even more cash next year. Realistically, the Texans are stuck with Osweiler through 2017 before it becomes financially responsible to let him go. It’s the modern, standard contract for a non-elite NFL quarterback, but Osweiler’s deal hasn’t proven to be a smart gamble so far. And while Houston’s offense has struggled, the Broncos—who let Osweiler walk—have hummed along with whoever they’ve played at quarterback. And the man Osweiler replaced in Houston, Brian Hoyer, is on the verge of stealing the Bears’ starting job from Jay Cutler after posting gaudy passing stats for three straight weeks. Hoyer, ironically, hasn’t had a passer rating under 90 all season.

Of course, the Texans are still 3–2 despite Sunday’s loss, which is partly a testament to the talent on the roster even without J.J. Watt. (The schedule has helped out a little bit as well.) In fact, Houston is probably still the favorite to win the AFC South, even with their scuffling offense.

The Texans had to gamble on someone in the off-season, and Osweiler certainly flashed some potential to be a better option than a journeyman like Hoyer. But if Houston is still getting blown out by contenders in big games—the Texans are 0–2 with a minus-45 point differential on the road—then they are still searching for answers under center. 

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