Texans Lose: Back To The Drawing Board
The Houston Texans entered the 2020 season on the heels of back-to-back division titles, with one of the most talented young quarterbacks in the NFL, and a solid defensive unit on the other side.
As with any other NFL team, the roster was not was without its holes. But, with that said, there was a legitimate case to be made for Houston to win its third straight division title, and make its fifth playoff trip in six season.
Flash forward to the end of Week 2, and the Texans are 0-2 and on the other side of two blowout-style losses.
So, coming off Sunday's home-opening 33-16 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, what went wrong?
The simple answer is that they ran into a buzzsaw, going up against arguably the two clearest favorites to represent the AFC in this year's Super Bowl.
But we all expected more than this, didn't we?
That answer is not so simple. On paper, the Texans are right where they should be. After all, they were underdogs in both matchups and faced a couple of MVP-winning quarterbacks.
However, it is not the actual losses, but the way these games have played out that have most of us scratching our heads.
Over the last two matchups, Houston hasn't just gotten beaten. They have often looked nearly inept on both sides of the ball.
Through two weeks defensively, they have given up nearly 400 yards rushing, almost 800 yards of total offense, and 61 points.
Offensively, they have failed to find any consistency in the running game or in the passing game. Recievers have struggled to gain separation, and run blocking has been suspect.
In pass protection, Deshaun Watson, who the Texans just paid $40 million per year, has been sacked eight times and taken 21 additional hits on 76 dropbacks. And that doesn't include the hits he has had to take on scrambles and other runs.
On Sunday against Baltimore, all those issues were exacerbated, and at times, it was brutal to watch.
Some observers can say this saw this coming as soon as the Texans traded away Watson's number one target, and one of the best wideouts in NFL history, DeAndre Hopkins.
The Texans wide receiver corps is still a talented one, but without Hopkins, they lack the dominant outside threat that most quarterbacks need to be successful in this league.
That is a moot point now, unfortunately. The trade is done, and Hopkins obviously did not play defense. So Houston is going to have to find a way to rectify this project, and in a hurry.
So where do the Texans go from here? It's hard to say. The schedule is not going to get any easier. Over the next five weeks, they face three playoff teams from last season with a combined record of 7-3 this season, including a Pittsburgh Steelers team that is 2-0 with a healthy Ben Roethlisberger.
The Texans are equipped with the talent and the coaching to handle that challenge. But they are going to have to regroup, go back to the drawing board, and find a new identity, or else they'll lose the entire season before the end of September.
"It's not very good, obviously. ... We have to go back and figure it out,'' said Texans coach Bill O'Brien, who was talking specifically about the run defense ... but might as well have been talking about the whole program.