In week four, the Houston Texans played the Tennessee Titans; played with is a better way of saying it. From start to finish it was all Houston. Deshaun Watson’s first start at home, electric receiver Will Fuller’s season debut after missing time due to breaking his collarbone, and young talent stepping up on defense. It all adds up to be a daunting task for the opposition. From the offensive production in week four, and the defense taking on a young, athletic quarterback, Marcus Mariota here are the week four Houston Texans Takeaways.
Week Four Houston Texans Takeaways
Deshaun Watson‘s Electricity
Watson’s college coach from Clemson, Dabo Swinney, put out quite a bold statement in January before the 2017 Draft. His words were, “I’m just telling you if they pass on Deshaun Watson, they’re passing on Michael Jordan.” Now, that’s a ridiculous statement to make that early in his career, but against the Titans, it was basically the Watson Show. He scored five total touchdowns, four through the air and one on the ground.
Moving forward to next week’s game, which will be against the only undefeated team left in the league, Watson will have a huge opportunity to prove that he can hang with the good teams. A large amount of his success against the Kansas City Chiefs will be dependent on head coach Bill O’Brien calling the right plays.
Chewing That Clock
In Sunday’s win, the Texans offense possessed the ball for more than ten minutes of all but one quarter. This is, easily, the most underrated statistic of the game. When an offense does this, not only does it indicate that they are a capable offense, it allows the defense to be fresh and energetic every play. The Texans defense being fresh poses a scary front every time they are out.
Speaking of that stellar Houston defense, the usual suspects (J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, Whitney Mercilus) were almost complete non-factors. Watt was great against the run, as he always is, but for the fourth game in a row he was just another defensive linemen. Another guy who didn’t show up as much as everyone thought would was Clowney. Like Watt, Clowney was great against the run, yet somewhat non-existent in the pass rush until the third downs didn’t matter as much.
In place of the suspended Brian Cushing two talented players emerged. There is now a seriously awesome competition for the starting middle backer spot next to Benardrick McKinney. The two players are second round pick, Zach Cunningham, and undrafted free-agent, Dylan Cole. One is long, lanky, and does not at all look like an NFL linebacker. The other looks exactly like how a cartoon caricatures artist would draw an NFL linebacker.
Against the best rushing attack in the league, these two should have struggled, big time. Yet, they shocked with a stellar performance. Cole would explode through the ball-carrier when he got the chance and Cunningham was in great position to make tackles all throughout the game. Just another thing to keep in mind, the running backs these two were battling were no slouches. The draw back from these two playing so much was their forced coverage of tight end Delanie Walker; a player whom they struggled to matchup against.
With more optimism than ever, Houston has a chance to prove the fact that they aren’t just another AFC South winner sputtering out of the divisional round. The Chiefs coming to town is a great thing, coming at the perfect time to provide a more realistic version of what Watson’s consistent play will look like.