Five Frivolous Facts with Fred: Texans fall to the Patriots

In The Loop
September 10, 2018 - 10:12 am

By Fred Davis | @TheFreddyD

Week One. Foxborough.

All of Houston had been waiting for this moment. A healthy Deshaun Watson. Finally. The Franchise Quarterback that the football Gods bestowed to one of the most football-crazed cities in the NFL, was ready to go. And what better way to solidify his standing in the league than to go toe-to-toe with the GOAT, Tom Brady – in his house. The crowd was jumping and the Texans defense quickly forced a three-and-out on the opening New England drive and Tony Romo and Jim Nantz were gushing over Deshaun Watson’s quick six-game sample size last year and what he’s destined to do this season…

For a fleeting moment, everything seemed right in the football universe.

And then on Houston’s very first offensive play from scrimmage at their own 22-yard line, Watson fumbled on the handoff to Lamar Miller, clearly his mistake after he held on to the ball too long.

New England recovered – and three plays later, in an all too familiar scene, Brady hit Rob Gronkowski for a 21-yard touchdown strike along the sideline, in front of second year linebacker Zach Cunningham and before Kareem Jackson could make a play from his safety spot.

A Gronk Spike followed and so would another 50+ minutes of hand-wringing, questionable coaching calls –and no-calls – but even more befuddling – the Quarterback who’s been canonized by a city and most of the NFL after only six starts – was not even close to the guy that dominated the NFL last season.

The Texans dropped their Season Opener Sunday 27-20 and while the sky isn’t falling, there’s A TON that needs to improve for a team with sky-high expectations in 2018.

“For me personally, I think it was terrible,” said Watson, on his opening salvo when asked how he played. “You can put the L on me, cause I’ll be much better than what I showed today. My energy was low and I was overthinking the little things.”

And with that, let me welcome you to the Regular Season edition of – FIVE FRIVOLOUS FACTS WITH FRED.

 

  1. DESHAUN WATSON WASN’T GOOD TODAY. AT ALL – LOW ENERGY? In my best Landry Locker “ORDERING PIZZAS?” Yell. What? How does that even happen? I have no idea. It’s as if all of the ho-hum starts from Tom Savage, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallet, Ryan Fitzmagic and TJ Yates somehow crept into Deshaun and he turned in a TURD FURGESON of opening day performances. Here’s the problem though – we expected that from those guys. Because well, they’re very Turdy Furgesony. But not Deshaun. Watching him today felt like watching that Blonde Chic in The Matrix – Switch – when she’s about to die and she says “no, not like this” and then boom, Gonzo. Except the Texans didn’t die right away and we had to watch the phone ring a thousand times before a lame duck Hail Mary that wasn’t even close to the end zone was finally batted away. Sheesh. After one quarter, Deshaun was 1-6 for three yards with a sack and Zero Hope. I’m not sure if that’s an official stat but it should be. Granted his line didn’t look great, but he had open throws, missed Ryan Griffin on a wide-open fourth and five that would’ve been a TD and I’m not sure what the hell he was thinking when he threw that deep ball to Vyncint Smith that was picked in the Endzone. Watson was better in the second half, but that’s not saying a whole lot considering how awful the entire team was in the first half. He’d go on to throw for 176 yards on 17/34 passing for a 62.9 QB rating. To put in perspective how bad that is – TOM SAVAGE aka DRUNK NICOLAS CAGE IN ‘LEAVING LAS VEGAS’ – never had a QB rating that bad in his 8 games for the Texans last year. Granted it was 65.6 – but still. Let that sink in. I don’t know what the hell happened – maybe this is his ‘James Harden Game 6 Against the Spurs’ moment – but that was, like, late in the year. This is the FIRST GAME. Of. The. Season. It will get better.

“We just get ready for next week and put this behind us.” You got that right D-Dub.

  1. HEAD COACH BILL O’BRIEN WAS WORSE THAN DESHAUN – I’m going to keep this gripe short and sweet. Plenty of people on Twitter have already been in a tizzy over his “that’s not my job” line for why he didn’t call a timeout when it was clear that Gronk didn’t catch that ball cleanly late in the first half. Yes Bill, we get it, there are no coaching challenges under two minutes, but sometimes – when you have THREE timeouts – you call timeout to give the booth more time to look at it – since clearly – that’s one of the unwritten rules of instant replays and booth reviews in both college and the NFL. You wouldn’t be the first to do it and you certainly won’t be the last. So that’s a whack excuse and no one – and I MEAN NO ONE – Likes the guy that says – “that’s not my job.” Actually, Coach, your job is to give your team every opportunity to be competitive and to give your team a chance to win the game. That play went for 31 yards and led to a score that put the Pats ahead 21-6 going into the half. And since it was clear that it was a questionable catch, then it is your job to halt the play and give the booth a chance to review – by calling timeout. And this idea that you will give the Pats more time to draw up a play by calling a timeout – guess what – you give your DC – Romeo Crennel – more time to draw up his defense as well. Pathetic again. I’ve supported BoB throughout the offseason, but this is now two opening games in a row where the team has looked underprepared and overmatched. That screams to me that BoB needs to reevaluate his organizational structure – and possibly delegate duties because right now, he’s doing too much and it’s affecting this team.

  1. JJ WATT WAS HEALTHY THIS YEAR THEY SAID & CLOWNEY GETS ALL THOSE TFLs THEY SAID: Let’s see here… And I’m guilty of this. FINALLY – WE GET TO SEE JJ WATT AND JEDEVEON CLOWNEY ON THE FIELD HEALTHY TOGETHER!!!! Well, as we go into Year 5 of the JD/JJ Power Rush Edge Duo that we all envisioned when Clowney was taken First Overall way back in the 2014 Draft…. The Power Rush Edge Duo has been anything but powerful or adept at rushing the quarterback as injuries to both guys have curtailed any kind of possible dominance – not to mention – I’m not convinced that Clowney is all that great at rushing the Quarterback in general. When you throw in today’s game, the JD/JJ Duo has now played 26 out of 65 possible regular season games together. Let me type that again – these two have played 26 out of 65 possible regular season games together. And in those 26 games, they’ve combined for 27.5 sacks. Not bad right? Well… The bulk of those came in 2015 when JJ tallied 13.5 of those sacks, and since then, they’ve played a whopping nine games together and registered only 5.5 sacks – including a Big Goose Egg today. JJ did register two QB hits in the second half, but finished with only three tackles and was routinely single-blocked. Clowney? Yeah, spare me the Donald and Mack money arguments. No Sacks, No QB Hits, One pressure, and Zero of those Precious TFLs that all his apologists like to throw around like that makes him the Lawrence Taylor of Run Stopping. Those guys are supposed to be elite. Neither looked it today.

  1. THIS TEAM HAS ZERO PLAYMAKERS – This is the part of the article where I give props and a tip of the cap to John Lopez who broke this down to us last week on the show when he said the Texans had no better than the 25th ranked supporting cast in the NFL. I argued middle of the pack. After what I saw on Sunday, yes, 25 feels about right. Does Will Fuller mean that much to this team? I guess so. My Goodness. Bruce Ellington was a dud, I didn’t even see Sammie Coates, although he was targeted twice. The tight ends were a non-factor although, in fairness to Ryan Griffin, he was missed badly twice when he was open, the second time for what would’ve been a touchdown on fourth down. But that said, sure, the running game was far better than I anticipated, but overall - this team is slow. DHop was pedestrian on Sunday and there was no pop to the offense at all. Short of Deshaun getting hurt, we saw the worst possible scenario unfold today – this offense is STAGNANT with a capital STAGNANT when Deshaun doesn’t play well. I’m not sure when Will Fuller is supposed to be back, but at this point, it doesn’t matter because you can’t count on him even when he does come back. We all knew the Texans were going to draft O-Line in next year’s draft, but you can go ahead and add “normal-sized-WR-who-can-stay-healthy” to that list as well.

  1. WILL FULLER, KEVIN JOHNSON AND CHRISTIAN COVINGTON WALK INTO A TRAINING ROOM – Stop me if you’ve heard this one before… Will Fuller was inactive today with a bad hamstring. Go figure. As the newly buff WR enters his third NFL season, he misses his second consecutive season opener with an injury. Last year it was a collarbone. We were under the impression he was supposed to be bigger, faster and stronger this year – come to find out – we don’t know. Because he’s still hurt. And we also learned that this offense is headed for ‘Tha Crossroads’ when the Fifth Member of BONE is not on the field… Then there was Christian Covington. After looking like he was ready to make some waves entering his fourth season – this time as a starter – he left the game early Sunday with an injury to his thigh. Thankfully the Texans are deep on the D-Line and Angelo Blackson played pretty damn well so the Big Canadian wasn’t missed. But he missed nine games last year and is already hurt this year. Not a promising start. And then…… There was KevJo. Hell, he doesn’t even get the benefit of getting a generic nickname – but then he shouldn’t be confused with the Phoenix Suns Great either – so we’ll refer to him as “Corner-Gets-Beat-A-Lot” – or CGBAL. Not only did he get a penalty called on him when he held on a double move, he also missed an open tackle on James White for a TD. Oh wait, then he got beat by Phillip Dorsett for a TD. But maybe even worse – got KNOCKED THE F OUT making a tackle. Oh, and then got chewed out by Honey Badger on the sideline. Pretty sure CGBAL will be back in the concussion protocol – which quite frankly – might be the best place for him for the time being.