Entering the stadium for the home opener for the Houston Texans there was a sense of excitement. It continued to grow as the players came onto the field carrying alternating American and Texas flags. Unfold the field size American flag and have Clay Walker sing the national anthem while an American bald eagle flew around the stadium and you had the perfect beginning to a hopeful season.
Then, the game began. “Houston, we have a problem”.
The Jaguars took the opening kickoff and drove down and took an early 3-0 lead on a 42 yard field goal form kicker Jason Meyers. That would be all the scoring in the first quarter. Blake Bortles and the Jaguars went on to score a field goal and 2 touchdowns in the 2nd quarter and push the score to 19-0 at halftime.(Meyers missed the extra point on their first touchdown) The Texans offence was anemic at best in the first half. Tom Savage was the starter at quarterback and went 7 completions in 13 attempts for 62 yards and a 66.8% passer rating. The issue was he didn’t have any time. He was sacked 6 times in the first half. Where did the offensive line go? The final sack of the first half resulted in a fumble being picked up by the Jaguars Dante Fowler who ran it in for a 53 yard touchdown.
The beginning of the second half had Texans head coach, Bill O’Brien, making a change at quarterback and bringing in rookie DeShaun Watson. He provided an immediate spark and drove the Texans to a 75 yard touchdown on 14 plays with a 4 yard pass to DeAndre Hopkins. With the extra point by Ka’imi Faifbairn the Texans were on the board and the score was 19-7. Hope? Not really. Watson and the offense sputtered for the balance of the game as he received the same pressure from the Jaguars defense that Tom Savage had received in the first quarter. The Jacksonville defense ended up with 10 sacks of Texans quarterbacks for the game. The Jacksonville offense added another touchdown and field goal on a Texans defense taking the final score to Jacksonville 29 – Houston 7.
Offensive line, Defense, Quarterback, Coaching? There seems to be a lot of question marks after the first game of the season for the Texans. Two things are for sure. First, The Jacksonville Jaguars are a much improved team this year. Second, The Texans have a lot of room for improvement.
Next week is a chance to start answering many of those questions with a trip to Cincinnati. Hope? Yes, it is still alive and well in Houston. It is seen as the recovery from Hurricane Harvey continues and so will it be seen in the support for the Texans. Houston STRONG!