After waiting what seemed like an eternity for a real Texans game, yesterday’s performance was a severe let down. The team looked flat, passive and out coached. The Jets, starting a rookie quarterback, looked aggressive, ready and prepared.
While acknowledging Jets corner Darrelle Revis is a very good defensive player, Andre Johnson having only one first half catch was hard to stomach. Only one other first half pass was thrown his way, and that deep ball was way off course. Why was the team’s best playmaker taken away by the opposition seemingly so easily? Why was Schaub hit so often? Why was Mark Sanchez not sacked once? Why was third down so pitiful, both of offense and defense?
Why was Steve Slaton taken away so quickly? Was it the blocking, was it the defense, or was it Slaton? Is this only a minor bump in the road or a sign of times to come? Is this another September slow start or the beginning of another non-winning season? At this point, at least, fans are left with more questions than answers.
The keys for the team coming into the game were simple: pressure the quarterback on defense, protect Matt Schaub, and stop the run. Other than 2 costly runs, the Texans defense played the run well. Thomas Jones, who led the AFC in rushing in 2008, was bottled up for most of three quarters. Of course, he did break out in the remaining time and when it mattered most.
Matt Schaub was hit early and often. Kris Jenkins was unstoppable, often using only one arm to shove blockers aside. Blitzes came from all angles and the Texans looked ill-prepared for Rex Ryan’s aggressive defense. We all remember last season’s drubbing at the hands of the Ravens defense, then led by Ryan.
The biggest problem was third down. Games are won and lost on third down. Ryan said if the Texans were in third and long, the Jets would win. Well, the Texans proved Ryan correct. The Jets brought pressure from all angles and the Texans could not convert on third down. On the other hand, Sanchez looked unstoppable and like a seasoned veteran in converting so easily on third and long.
There was only minimal pressure on Sanchez, and when the Texans did apply pressure, Sanchez was able to step away and throw while falling to convert. The Texans were credited with zero sacks. Part of that is a credit to Sanchez, and part falls on the shoulders of the Texans.
Once again, fans are left with more questions than answers. Hopefully, this was just a bad beginning to what will be a successful season.