A small victory, with major consequences for the rest of the AFC, the Texans got the win against Tennessee on Sunday, 27-20. Their record increased to 3-1, which gave them control over the AFC South. After the Shutout versus New England last week, Houston needed to work out their issues on both sides of the ball and with a Watt-less defense, they took the opportunity in week 4.
With Bill O’Brien taking over the offensive play calling for the Texans, Houston had a few hiccups throughout, but the offense did seem to flow better. Much better than it did last Thursday against New England. Will Fuller V had quite the performance with 7 receptions for 81 yards; capped off by a game deciding 67-yard punt return. Houston also benefited from production by Lamar Miller rushing for 82 yards and C.J. Fiedorowicz with 4 receptions, 48 yards, and a touchdown. On the other side of the ball, with Watt out, the Texans defense got their footing late in the contest. Though the score may seem close, Houston held the Titans to just 3 second half points. Outside linebacker Jadaveon Clowney turned heads with his performance, forcing many incomplete passes and 1 sack on the day.
Brock Osweiler had his ups and downs, with 2 touchdown passes in the 1st half. With that also came some very risky passes and a couple of interceptions. Most of those were on intended passes to DeAndre Hopkins. (Note that Hopkins had only a single reception for 4 yards.) O’Brien acknowledged the turnovers but said that he felt Brock played a decent game.
“There have been some batted balls. There was one that was batted into the air yesterday that I don’t think was a great play call.” The 2-year head coach assumed responsibility for the team’s offensive play calling earlier this week, following the shutout versus New England in week 3. “It was the drive after the (Quintin) Demps interception. I got a little greedy and called a pass. They blitzed and he had to get rid of it.” Some also questioned O’Brien’s error before halftime. With 6 seconds left, Houston had been spotted a yard short on 4th down. The spot appeared to be incorrect as many suspected. O’Brien said the refs told him they would be reviewing the spot. He explained that miscommunication from the referees caused the delay of game call, which subsequently put the Texans out of field goal range. “Am I concerned?” O’Brien said. “No, I’m not. I believe it’ll get fixed.
Houston’s starting quarterback however, stated that he wasn’t satisfied with his production. “Bottom line, its poor decisions.” Osweiler ended the day with 254 passing yards on 25-37 pass attempts. That’s a stat line that doesn’t appear to be so bad, until you consider the incompletions. DeAndre Hopkins, the Texans biggest offensive threat, had a single completion for 4 yards. “I’m sure he’s thrilled with the win, but maybe not really happy with only having that catch in the fourth quarter,” O’Brien said. “We’ll work on that and keep trying to get him the ball.” But Hopkins had six targets Sunday, which tied for second most on the team. After the game when asked about his limited production, he stated “We won, that’s all that matters.”
Obviously, that’s not all that matters. Hopkins has something to prove this year more than ever. With the numbers he put up and the talent he displayed last year, his production this season is going to determine his image moving forward. There have been reports that Hopkins and Osweiler have struggled to gain a chemistry; something Houston can’t afford. The Texans will face off against the undefeated Minnesota Vikings in week 5 and the team will need these two operating on full capacity going up against the Vikings defense.