Texans vs. Jaguars: Takeaways from Houston's 13-6 Loss Against Jacksonville
Things were meant to get better this week for the Houston Texans, and they didn't.
Going in as favorites against perhaps the only team in the league worse than themselves, the Texans had a straight-forward task ahead of them—prove to everyone that they could at the very least, beat the Jacksonville Jaguars.
For all of the criticism that the Jaguars have faced though, they turned in a solid effort against a Texans team that had zero offense, and another string of bad luck.
Wide receiver Keshawn Martin will feel some of the blame for this one after bobbling a catch and turning it into an interception, but on a bigger scale, the Texans ninth straight loss boils down to one of the teams worst games of the season.
Where Was Andre Johnson?
The offense struggled as a whole, but it didn't help that Case Keenum couldn't find Andre Johnson all game long.
After so many weeks of big numbers, Johnson went missing in this one, winding up with just 36 yards from a measly two catches.
Most of this falls on Keenum, who either never targeted Johnson, or was under so much pressure that he never had time to even look down the field. Overall though, all of the Texans receivers had a terrible day, and if it wasn't dropped catches, Keenum just didn't do enough.
Ben Tate's Struggles
The Texans tried their best to use Ben Tate when they could, and it all it resulted in was one rushing yard and 26 yards receiving.
It was a pretty tough day for Tate, who struggled to find blocks amongst the Texans weak offensive line. The Jaguars dialed up a ton of blitzes on earlier downs, and guys like Paul Posluszny spent most of his time putting hits on Texans players.
The Texans running game wasn't all bad, as Tate's struggles gave way for newcomer Dennis Johnson to put up 74 yards. Still, if you're looking at it on paper, this was probably Tate's worst game of his career.
A Learning Curve for Case Keenum
Keenum completed 18 of his 34 passes on Sunday, and it's fair to say, the Texans organization now has a pretty good idea of their starting quarterback looking towards next season.
Aside from struggling to find Andre Johnson or Garrett Graham, Keenum again came up with nothing during the potential game-winning drive. The interception was hardly his fault, but rushed passes and decision making played a big part, which is to be expected of a quarterback so young.
Plays like DeAndre Hopkins' dropped catch down the sidelines late in the fourth quarter doesn't help Keenum out, and with no running game to fall back on, it was another case of everything falling on Keenum's shoulders.
Unfortunately, he still couldn't pull off that impressive comeback win against one of the league's worst teams.
It's ironic that after weeks of criticizing Randy Bullock, he provided the only points of the day against the Jaguars.
The Texans had a few opportunities in the red zone, but the Jaguars played the field position game well. Houston had only 19 total yards on punt returns, but when in the red zone, all of the defensive pressure sent by Jacksonville made life tough for either Keenum or Tate to do any of the scoring.
For most of the game, the Jaguars sent inside linebacker help on Andre Johnson, which more or less doubled up the coverage on the Texans biggest target. Following so many weeks of scoring, covering Johnson in the red zone like that was a pretty smart game plan.
J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus
Wade Phillips sent a lot of blitzes early at the Jaguars' offense, and it payed dividends. With one sack each, the only two of the day, J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus found their way into Jacksonville's backfield and rattled Chad Henne early.
Overall, Henne didn't have a bad day. He failed to throw a touchdown pass but finished with 239 yards, and was allowed the luxury of Maurice Jones-Drew.
If it wasn't for Watt, who despite all of the Texans struggles, still keeps playing hard, who knows where the Texans defense would be.
Gary Kubiak's Gameplan Went All Wrong
A week after swapping quarterbacks and sending everybody into a frenzy, Gary Kubiak had supposedly come up with a strategy to stop the Texans from falling apart in the second half like they've done all season.
Obviously, that plan didn't work. The only thing the Texans have been good for in the second half lately is field goals, and on Sunday, even that was hard work.
It's hardly a hot seat anymore for coach Kubiak. It's more of a question of 'when' rather than 'if' he'll get fired, and whatever his strategy may have been against the Jaguars, it failed to produce anything more than the same old interception.
Matt Schaub… What If?
If there was ever a week to bring in Matt Schaub that actually made sense, this would have been it.
With Keenum going nowhere and showing no signs of being able to win the game in the dying stages, it could have been worth bringing in Schaub to at least try something new. Last week Schaub's inclusion was made to mix things up, which could have helped against the Jaguars who were in firm control of the game.
Schaub may have come in and failed, but at least it would have taken some of the pressure off of Keenum, who now has to face another week of knowing he failed to get the job done in a game-winning situation.
When Should the Texans Start Looking at Quarterbacks?
We'll give it until the end of the season to decide on Case Keenum, but Sunday's poor performance won't win him any more fans.
Now at Week 12, it might be a little early to be looking towards the draft, but with a ton of changes are expected for this team over the offseason. Is it really too early to be looking at quarterbacks?
At this rate, the Texans may wind up with the first pick if the Jaguars can pull off another win over Houston in a few weeks time. The question is though, Teddy Bridgewater or Texas' own Johnny Manziel?