Thu, 03 Dec 2020

Outdueled into the Bye | Vandermeer's View

Houston Texans
26 Oct 2020, 18:02 GMT+10

Marc Vandermeer

The Texans were looking to improve their run defense Sunday, and they did. But Aaron Rodgers went to work through the air, passing for 4 TDs on the way to a 35-20 victory for Green Bay.

With talented back Aaron Jones unavailable, Jamaal Williams carried the ball 19 times for 77 yards. It wasn't much but it was enough to 'keep the defense honest' and open things up for Rodgers to find Davante Adams 13 times for 196 yards and two touchdowns.

At the end of the day, Deshaun Watson's numbers looked almost every bit as good as Rodgers' except for the touchdowns. Watson threw for 309 yards and two TDs, with no turnovers for the second consecutive week. But the Houston offense once again had a slow first half. By the time they got rolling, there was zero margin for error to make a comeback.

The Texans got a huge fourth quarter TFL out of J.J. Watt on a third and one in Green Bay territory to force a punt that was blocked by Buddy Howell. After settling for a field goal, there was still a chance, down 15. Following another three-and-out, the offense had the ball with under ten minutes left and there was plenty of time for something spectacular to happen.

Watson hit Brandin Cooks for a first down at the Green Bay 40 but it was called back on a hold. A 14 yard scramble created a fourth and one that the Texans couldn't convert and the Packers iced the game on the ensuing drive.

This was another game where you wonder what might have been if the Texans could move the ball better early. It's been a couple of years since the first team offense has scored a touchdown on the opening drive of a regular season game. The tools are there. Cooks, Randall Cobb, who had a big game and Will Fuller are all making plays. But the Texans continue to struggle getting yards on the ground as David Johnson was held to 42 yards on 14 carries.

Now comes the bye. Maybe the rest will do the Texans some good as they still have a ton of football left. There's a much higher level of performance for them and despite the record they feel like they can get there.

A look at the schedule reveals how difficult this stretch really has been. Granted, the Texans expect to be able to compete in these games but there's no question it's been a never-before-seen line up for this franchise. Now it's time to reset, heal and take things week by week in an attempt to climb back to .500.

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