Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans: Week Two Review


Houston Texans Matt Schaub

By: Shasky Clarke

Houston 30, Tennessee 24; OT

The Houston Texans once again delivered a comeback victory, defeating the AFC South rival Tennessee Titans at home in overtime. In a match up that showcased two of the most talented defenses in the league, the Texans passing game struggled to efficiently move the ball.

But it was rookie wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins who capped a stand-out performance with the game-winning three yard touchdown pass on the opening drive of overtime.

Though the score was close, as was the case in San Diego, Houston largely outperformed Tennessee, allowing the Titans to take advantage of a defensive touchdown and a 0-for-3 kicking day from kicker Randy Bullock. Texans quarterback Matt Schaub only completed 54% of his passes and was a victim of two awkward interceptions.

He, however, flashed his excellent accuracy down the stretch, attacking man coverage and giving his weapons opportunities to make plays.

Offensive Player of the Game

Wide Receiver DeAndre Hopkins – Though he was possibly responsible for a Titans interception return for a touchdown stemming from a miscommunication, the first round rookie made play after play down the stretch. He doesn’t always get a ton of separation. But his ability to make incredibly difficult catches in tight coverage was on full display.

Defensive Player of the Game

Inside Linebacker Brian Cushing- Finishing with 11 tackles, two sacks and four tackles for loss, Cushing was all over the field, rivaling J.J. Watt’s impact and spearheading the Texans’ excellent effort against a good Titans offensive line.

He’s big, fast and aggressive and appears to be having an All-Pro beginning to his comeback season.

Defense Lights Out

The Texans defense was again extremely effective, holding the Titans to 3.7 yards per play, a mere four third down conversions and stopping running back Chris Johnson in his own end zone for a key fourth quarter safety.

Defensive end J.J. Watt notched two sacks and two pass deflections, taking advantage of mismatches against the slower-footed Titans right guard Chance Warmack and right tackle David Stewart.

What is encouraging is that although the unit missed Antonio Smith in week one and have yet to field Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed, the Texans have a top five defense, as measured by yards given up per play.

There have been some completions given up against man coverage. But overall, the Texans cornerbacks are yielding very little separation and the front seven is having a lot of success getting pressure on stunts and blitzes.

Key Match-up: Titans Defensive Front vs. Texans Offensive Line

The Titans line gave the Texans’ passing game fits, constantly pressuring Matt Schaub and limiting the Texans’ ability to convert third downs through the air.

It was no surprise that Titans defensive end Derrick Morgan took full advantage of right tackle Derek Newton’s poor pass protecting skills.

But stud left tackle Duane Brown was also beaten by guys like Kamerion Wimbley. Left guard Wade Smith returned for week one from a knee operation, and may not be healthy.

But he had an extremely poor game, failing on several occasions to handle the quickness and athleticism of defensive tackles like Antonio Johnson.

Unique defensive end Ropati Pitoitua also made his presence known with his strength and stoutness. For much of the game, the Texans struggled to pick up Tennessee’s blitz packages in long yardage situations.

To put things in perspective, the Texans are still a top ten offense, largely driven by a running game that has been second best in the league thus far. The question is how much of the line’s poor protection was a result of Tennessee possessing one of the few best front sevens in the NFL.

Running Back Battle: Ben Tate vs. Arian Foster

Week two stat lines: Tate: nine carries, 93 yards, more than ten yards per carry. Foster: 19 carries, 79 yards, at 4.2 yards per carry. Going back to last season, Ben Tate has been the more effective per-carry rusher, quietly, but consistently, displaying more open-field speed.

Foster is one of the faces of the franchise, as the running game has been great so far. But, could it be better?