Five Frivolous Facts with Fred: Jax Edition

Raise your hand if you saw this coming

In The Loop
October 22, 2018 - 9:50 am

By Fred Davis | @TheFreddyD

Raise your hand if you saw this coming.

I’ll keep my hand down - Because I didn’t.

After a humiliating 0-3 start to the season, your Houston Texans have rattled off four wins in a row and sit ALONE in FIRST PLACE in the AFC South following a Dominating 20-7 win over the traditionally hapless Jacksonville Jaguars.

Yeah, I was one of the guys before the season started that was convinced this team was poised to build off last year’s AFC Championship Game appearance with another year under Tom Coughlin and Doug Marrone.

But the Texans cobbled together a solid gameplan that was the perfect recipe for Sunday’s win:

  • Run the Ball Effectively – 37 att. – 141 yds – 3.8 ypc. – ONE RUSHING TD.
  • Put Pressure on Blake Bortles – 4 sacks – 9 QB Hits – 6-12 – 61 yds – (Benched in 3rd Qtr)
  • Create Turnovers – 3 FF – 2 Recovered – 1 Int. à +3 TO Diff. Today (Zero Texans TO)
  • Don’t Get Deshaun Killed – Sacked Once – Hit Five Times - First Time this season it’s been Single Digits.

I said on the show Friday, the Texans wanted to leave Sunday’s game with a W, but not because the other team was that much worse, but because Bill O’Brien genuinely outcoached his BFF Doug Marrone – and he did exactly that. So what else went right for the First Place Texans in Jacksonville? Let’s see….

 

  1. JADAVEON CLOWNEY IS PLAYING LIKE HE WANTS THE BIG HOUSE – Teddy J used to say that back in his playing days in New England, if you didn’t play well, guys would say “you don’t want the big house” – meaning you don’t want a big contract. Guess What. Jadaveon Wants that Big House. After a sputtering start to the season, Clowney is playing the best football of his life right now. We all agree 2017 was his best year to date – and he’s already surpassing many of the Money Stats through seven weeks of 2018 – with one fewer game played – than through the first seven weeks of 2017. More sacks – 4.5 to 4.0; More TFLs – 9 to 8 and More QB Hits – 10 to 6. He was a one-man wrecking crew on Sunday against the Jags and routinely made play after play stifling the Jags from getting anything going in the run game. It was the first time to me where JD looked more dominant that JJ Watt – and you know that’s saying something. Perhaps the best part about the entire performance – this was a minor statement game for the Texans. A Division Win. On the Road. Against a team that allegedly has a better defense than you do – and no defender looked better on the field Sunday than Number 90.

  1. THAT OFFSEASON WEIGHT LOSS FINALLY PAID OFF FOR LAMAR MILLER – We haven’t mentioned the Muscle Whisperer aka Luke Richesson in a while, so let’s do it here. One of his pupils was Lamar Miller who trimmed 7-8 lbs from his frame so he’d be leaner and regain the burst and sizzle he had while in Miami. It appears all that hard work was worth it as Lamar broke some serious SLUMPS en route to his 22-carry, 100-yard, One-Touchdown performance. Our boy Lamar hadn’t hit Paydirt running the ball since Nov. 27th – 2017 – when the Texans lost 23-16 to the Ravens. Meanwhile, the pride of Dade County hadn’t hit the CENTURY MARK on the ground – SINCE DEC. 11 – 2016 – when he toted the rock 21 times for 107 yards in a 22-17 win over the Colts. Couple things, for one, this was by far the best Lamar Miller has looked all season and maybe the best he’s looked as a Texan. The Jags defense wasn’t great on Sunday and Miller was decisive and aggressive when running the ball, which is always a welcome sight. Secondly, it was necessary since Deshaun is playing with half a lung and the fewer plays he has to make – the better. It’s only a matter of time before D’Onta Foreman is back in the mix, so this duo could be quasi-legit after all.

  1. THE O-LINE – AND MAYBE I OWE MIKE A DEVLIN A MY BAD – FOR TODAY – During the first quarter after Julien Davenport was getting worked by Jags DE Yannick Ngakoue and the offense couldn’t take advantage of the good field position, I of course tweeted out that Mike Devlin needed to go. Throw in that Martinas Rankin was called for a false start at the start of the second quarter - it was the 15th false start of the season, which leads the NFL – and I’d had enough of the Texans O-Line Coach. Now, I get that the gameplan today wasn’t overly aggressive (Deshaun only threw 24 passes, his second-fewest attempts in 14 games as a professional). However what was important is that in addition to getting the running game back on track Sunday, the reality is – Deshaun was only hit 5 times and was only sacked once – and that was at the 11:08 mark of the first quarter. Some will argue since Watson only dropped back 24 times, of course, he wouldn’t be hit as much. Well, consider that in the Buffalo game – Deshaun only threw the ball 25 times – but was hit 15 times and sacked 7 times. So of those 25 dropbacks – he was hit 22 times – or 88 percent of the time. On Sunday, against a Jaguar team that many thought would get it’s mojo right against one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL – the Texans adjusted on the fly and not only outrushed the Jags, but they also kept Deshaun from getting killed. Not Bad.

 

  1. TEXANS ARE ALONE IN FIRST PLACE – AND HAVE A VERY FAVORABLE SKED AHEAD – I’m still not sure what to make of BoB and the reality is – this team is 4-5 coaching decisions away from possibly being 7-0. Really. But what they are is 4-3 and to me, have a talented enough ball club to be favored in the majority of their remaining contests as long as they stay relatively healthy moving forward. The other aspect that looms favorably for them is that four of their next six games are at home with the road games sandwiched around a Bye Week - @Denver – Bye - @Washington. Throw in the fact that the remaining division games are at home too and suddenly, this team may actually find a way to win 10 games – and could possibly win this division going away? Let’s not get carried away – but it doesn’t seem so far-fetched anymore.

  1. I WOULD CONSIDER TRADING FOR A PLAYMAKER – Here’s the deal, yeah, I just loved up on Lamar Miller a couple paragraphs ago, but included in that paragraph is how he broke year-long slumps as a well-paid running back in the NFL. There’s been a handful of speculation regarding Leveon Bell and whether the Texans would have any interest. They have both the draft capital and cap space to make a move for Bell. Some will argue it would take too much to make it happen – I think you owe it to your team to explore what it would take. This team is one playmaker away from having a truly dynamic offense and the defense has all the makings of a bend-don’t-break group that is starting to show it can get after the QB with regularity and has forced 10 Turnovers during this four-game win streak. Throw in the best special teams unit of the Bill O’Brien Era, and yeah, this is a team that can make some noise – but it needs another playmaker. And while the chances of adding Bell are slim to none – there’s one other name out there that is also worth exploring – Larry Fitzgerald. He’s on a Crap Team and it’s not going to take a high draft pick to get him, plus he’d add much-needed depth to a balky WR group that is unreliable after DHop. To me, that’s the more realistic possibility and one that would be a huge addition for the Texans.