I guess this is just how it's going to be all season for the Houston Texans, for their fans, and for anybody looking to avoid a heart attack at a sporting event. To that end, the Texans need to start attaching a warning label to the game programs that these games may be hazardous to anybody needing to evade stress.
After needing a Johnathan Joseph pick six in the waning moments to escape, final score 20-13, against a Buffalo Bills team that would probably struggle to score points in the Big XII, it is undeniable — through a combination of wretched offensive line play and wonky quarterback decision making, this Texans teams will never allow themselves a comfortable win. They will be playing coin flip games all season long. This is just how it is. Accept it.
Until they invest more free agency dollars and/or all those picks in the first two rounds next draft into REAL offensive tackles, Deshaun Watson will be running for his life, which leads to Deshaun Watson trying to do too much, which leads to teams like the Bills being gifted ten points inside Texans territory. Lather, rinse, repeat.
And yet, here are the AFC South standings six weeks into the season:
They've climbed all the way back from 0-3 to 3-3, and unlike college football, there's no selection committee to impress with HOW you win. Those hideous foibles that unnecessarily took the Colts and Cowboys to overtime? They don't show up in the standings. Yesterday's sleepwalking the entire second half? Doesn't matter. Yeah, the Texans have a LOT of stuff to fix, some fixable, some not. But they now head to Jacksonville this weekend with first place in the AFC South on the line.
And who thought that would be the case as the Jags were smoking the Patriots to in Week 2 to move to 2-0 on the season? Not you, not me, not anybody. Let's get to winners and losers from yesterday's win...
4. Brennan Scarlett
For the last few years, anytime the media got criticized for even asking about some of the fringe players on the Texans, Bill O'Brien would inevitably drop in how much "[fill in name of player here] helped out on special teams." Yet, the Texans special teams were abysmal, every season. Now, this season, that's changed. Special teams essentially won the game for the Texans, setting up both of their first half scoring drives inside the Buffalo 30 yard line. At the center of all of that was outside linebacker Brennan Scarlett, who recovered a muffed punt, recovered a blocked punt, and drew a holding call as he was about to block a punt himself. O'Brien praised Scarlett as a "fabric guy" after the game, and he showed that on Sunday.
3. Ka’imi Fairbairn fantasy owners
For the second straight week, the Texans were handed a first and goal at the opposing one yard line, thanks to a pass interference call in the end zone, and for the second straight week, there may as well have been a 50-foot high wall constructed at the goal line. The Texans' woes inside the opposing five yard line are going to kill this team (if the inevitable on field death of Deshaun Watson from opposing team hits doesn't kill them first). The only winners in all of this? Ka'imi Fairbairn fantasy owners. The Texans' kicker is on pace to match Nick Novak's 2016 record for field goals in a season. That was the season that Brock Osweiler was the team's starting QB, which gives you an idea as to how desirable a record this is. Hey, speaking of Brock....
2. Brock Osweiler enthusiasts
He is back, ladies and gentlemen! And he is engineering comebacks, like a boss! (You can't imagine the amount of tongue embedded in my cheek right now.) Yeah, it's true. Osweiler skippered a comeback win over the Bears yesterday, throwing for 380 yards and three touchdowns. Kudos to Brock, who I thought was closer to being out of the league than to starting again. He was in yesterday for an injured Ryan Tannehill, and if there is a God, he will be starting here in two weeks on that Thursday night game with the Dolphins. But just to be VERY clear — Osweiler still sucks. Yeah, they won, and yeah he had 380 yards and three touchdown passes. Blah, blee, blah.... he still threw two horrendous picks, and on his three touchdown passes, that covered a total of 123 yards, 116 of those yards came after the catch.
So please, by all means, keep pumping up Brock so that he starts here, and gets killed in two weeks....
1. Johnathan Joseph
Two weeks ago, Jospeh had one of his worst games as a pro, getting repeatedly picked on by Andrew Luck in the Texans' overtime win in Indy. Last week, he got his groove back against the Cowboys, and on Sunday, he bailed out the Texans in a huge way with a pick six to win the game in the waning moments. I can't express enough how important it was for the Texans' offense to NOT be placed in a position to win that game yesterday. Unlike the Colts and Cowboys games, they were not moving the football. It required a big defensive play to win that game, and they got it, Tyrann Mathieu said after the game that Jospeh basically called his shot on the winning play, saying he thought Nathan Peterman would throw the same route he did on the previous play.... and he did.
4. Nathan Peterman
Peterman's claim to fame, of course, is throwing five interceptions in his pro debut last season against the Chargers. He was equally generous in the second half of Sunday's game, serving up the Jospeh pick, and closing out the game with a room service throw to Kareem Jackson. After the game, when pressed about his game killing performance, Peterman went this route...
Peterman: “At the end of day I know where my true identity lies: in Christ. ... Being a child of God, basically. Not finding my identity in football. Just trying to find it in who I really am. I love this game and put everything I have into this game, but can’t let it define me”— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) October 14, 2018
Hey, look, I admire anyone's convictions to their religious beliefs. I'm fine with having God as part of answers at a press conference about a football game. I'm very cool with players thanking God after big performances. I even admire them more when they thank Him after BAD performances. (Funny, that doesn't happen as much. Weird.) I'm just not sure Peterman's explanation is gonna hold up with a fan base that delights in power bombing each other through flaming tables at tailgate parties. That's all.
3. Kelvin Benjamin
While I'm cool with Peterman — if you're a Texans fan, how can you not be?! — Klevin Benjamin is a straight up loser. This from Jenna Cottrell before Sunday's game:
#Bills Josh Allen just asked Kelvin Benjamin if he wanted to work on routes pregame during warm ups.— Jenna Cottrell (@JennaCottrell) October 14, 2018
Kelvin’s answer: No
So you're saying the guy who showed up at training camp fat a couple years ago, then trashed Cam Newton to reporters this past summer, then wouldn't talk to Newton about it when confronted by him, and now only had eight catches coming into yesterday's game, that guy won't work on routes with his rookie QB? Color me not surprised. Kelvin Benjamin.... LOSER.
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2. Deshaun Watson’s ball security
After two interceptions and a lost fumble, the Texans have now turned the ball over in 20 straight games and thrown an interception in 17 straight. Deshaun Watson has now thrown four interceptions into the opposing team's end zone in six games this season. This one hurt the most as it came just before the half, with the Texans leading 10-0, and a 13-0 lead (with the Texans getting the ball back to start the second half) would have been damn near insurmountable if they just protect the football the rest of the way. I don't know what else to say other than Deshaun needs to stop doing that. Just stop, Deshaun. Please, please, pretty please, stop throwing into crowds in the end zone. Do it for me!
1. Deshaun Watson’s anatomy
Of course, part of the reason Deshaun's performance has been so sideways at times this season is because his body has damn near been broken in half, If Deshaun doesn't get himself killed scrambling, his offensive line is surely going to get him killed with the dozen or so times they allow defenders clean runs at their quarterback. On Sunday, the Bills piled up seven sacks and 15 QB hits. That's TWENTY TWO $#%^ing times Deshaun Watson took hits on Sunday. TWENTY TWO. Oh, and they play Jacksonville next weekend, the same Jags who sacked Tom Savage and Deshaun Watson TEN TIMES in the season opener last year. Pray for Deshaun.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.