Sean Pendergast

NFL Week 4: Bills-Texans β€” Four Winners, Four Losers

Josh Allen has become one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.
Josh Allen has become one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Photo by Eric Sauseda
At one point, during the telecast of the Buffalo Bills' 40-0 win over the Houston Texans on a rainy Sunday afternoon on Orchard Park, NY, CBS put up a graphic illustrating the massive delta in the directions of the Bills and Texans franchises since the Texans' 22-19 overtime win in the first round of the playoffs back in January 2020.

The Bills still have 25 players who were on the roaster that day. The Texans are down to 12, and one of them is a quarterback who is inactive each week, desiring a trade, and being sued by 22 women for being a creeper (allegedly) in massages. The Bills' record since that day is now 18-5, and the Texans are 5-16. The Bills are on the short list of potential Super Bowl champs for this season  The Texans are on the short list of teams who are in danger of deluding themselves into Spencer Rattler as a long term solution at quarterback.

This is how you wind up with a final score on Sunday of 40-0, in a game where the Bills brought their C+ game offensively. Every bad decision the Texans have made in the last two years somehow touched this game in some way. Let's get to some winners and losers from one of the biggest Texans debacles in franchise history.

WINNERS


4. Stefon Diggs fantasy owners
Through the first three weeks of the season, Diggs had put up very modest numbers, particularly for a guy who had well over 100 catches last season, averaging six catches for around 64 yards per game. The Texans' secondary was just what the doctor ordered for the connection  between Josh Allen and Diggs, as Diggs worked every level of the field in putting up his first truly explosive Sunday of 2021, with 7 catches for 114 yards.

3. Beth Mowins and Tiki Barber
Highmark Stadium, the home field for the Buffalo Bills, is one of the oldest, most decrepit stadiums in the entire NFL, and it plays that way. What I mean by that is you never know when the stadium may get hit with a random power outage in the middle of a Sunday afternoon. Well, that's exactly what happened yesterday, and as a result, CBS lost their announcer feed for most of the third quarter and part of the four quarter. So what that meant was that James Brown and the CBS studio crew were forced to do play by play of this debacle from the studio in New York City, and the regular announce team of Beth Mowins and Tiki Barber were given a reprieve from having to describe this "Faces of Death" style mauling the Bills administered on the Texans. Huge win for Mowins and Barber.

2. Roy Lopez
The rookie defensive lineman is a former amateur wrestler and a big fan of pro wrestling, as he outlines here:
So this is easily the best thing to happen to the Texans this week, maybe all season, and possibly since before Jack Easterby arrived:

1. Josh Allen
Someday, the Houston Texans will choose a franchise quarterback to replace Deshaun Watson. Whether it's with the first overall pick, a top ten pick, or a late first or even a second round pick, I don't really care. I just hope that this person, whoever he may be, has a fraction of the skillset of Josh Allen, who has morphed from a strong-but-scatter-armed enigma out of Wyoming into a weapon that is basically a bigger and stronger version of Aaron Rodgers. What a delightful, scary player to watch. On Sunday, he emptied the chamber in a very efficient way, and aside from an early interception to Lonnie Johnson, he did very little wrong β€” 20-29 for 248 yards, two TD passes, to go with six impactful carries for 41 yards.

LOSERS

4. Lonnie Johnson
Speaking of Johnson, I hate to put him in this column, because he DID have his first career interception early on in the game to set the Texans up with a room service scoring opportunity β€” NOTE: THEY DID NOT SCORE β€” but he countered that great play later in the game with a play that encapsulates exactly why you just can't trust the third year safety out of Kentucky. Early in the second half, the Texans forced an incomplete pass at their own 19 yard line to set up a 2nd and 10, and Johnson thought that would be a good time to make a beeline for Bills tight end Dawson Knox and shove him to the ground with two hands. Ultimately, the Texans only gave up a field goal, the likely outcome even without Johnson's penalty, but someday the Texans will be playing games that mean something, and having a hothead like Johnson lose his cool will matter.

3. Jordan Akins
I feel like one of the annual traditions the last few preseasons was for us to watch tight end Jordan Akins catching balls against air, and marveling at how athletic and improved he looked. He would then go into a couple preseason games and make a few plays, and we would say "YES, finally, Akins is going to give us an athletic tight end, the likes of which we have not enjoyed since the days of the great Owen Daniels." Then the bell rings on the regular season, and Akins strings together a bunch of games like the one we saw yesterday β€” one catch, a fumble, a penalty, a bunch of nothing.

2. Texans' running game
18 carries, 48 yards. The blocking sucks. The running backs suck. This is a team whose stated goal is to run the football. They can't.

1. Davis Mills
It was fun while it lasted. While the first round rookie quarterbacks this season had all been struggling, to the point where Mills had a better passer rating than all of them coming into Sunday, it was fun to think that maybe, MAYBE, the Texans stumbled onto their next quarterback in the third round of this past draft. Um, no, that will not be the case. On Sunday, Mills looked like a high school kid who won a contest to quarterback his favorite team. The Texans had -23 yards of passing at halftime β€” MINUS 23 YARDS β€” and finished the game 11 of 21 for 87 yards with FOUR PICKS. Maybe the Texans knew something this week....

Oof, indeed.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him  on Twitter at twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.
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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast