Houston Texans Game 1: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good

Fans were encouraged to arrive at NRG stadium early to participate in special pre-game activities. The stadium was packed and emotions were high as the Texans held a ceremony to honor Houston residents and city officials alike that went above and beyond in the midst of Hurricane Harvey. The players ran onto the field waving Texas and American flags to cheers from the crowd. Quite naturally the loudest cheer was saved for J.J. Watt who has managed to raise nearly $30 million for hurricane relief efforts. For a few moments it was bigger than football; it was simply about a community coming together and supporting one another…with a bald eagle named Challenger flying overhead. Even simple isn’t simple in Texas.

The Bad

Then the game started. Watt summed up the Texans performance best when he was quoted as saying, “There’s only one way to go from here and that’s up. We can’t play much worse.” The Jacksonville Jaguars bested the Texans 29 – 7 and it wasn’t pretty. In the first half of the game, QB Tom Savage was sacked six times and completed 7 of 13 passes for an uninspiring 62 yards. Head Coach Bill O’Brien then made the decision to pull Savage and throw rookie QB Deshaun Watson into the lion’s den to “provide a spark.” Watson completed 12 of 23 passes for 102 yards. In his NFL debut Watson threw a touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins on his first drive. He also threw his first interception. What has become crystal clear is that the Texans’ weakness this season is not solely or even primarily a Quarterback situation. It’s an unreliable offensive line. Savage has the experience in the system and more accuracy. Watson has mobility. Truth be told, if the O-line doesn’t step up…there won’t be a QB to blame everything on. Because injuries.

The Ugly

Following the season opener, the Monday injury report for the Texans @ Cincinnati Bengals game (that included non-participants, limited participants, and full participants) included 21 people. This list includes Savage, Watson, Watt, Hopkins, Clowney, and so on.

So what’s next for the Texans? Hopefully panic does not ensue and a rash decision to throw Watson in as a starter doesn’t happen. Here’s hoping the O-Line tightens up, Savage (who got the brunt of preparation during training camp) finds his own spark and Watson has an opportunity to really learn the system so when he is really needed, he’s healthy and prepared.