Fri, 21 Jan 2022

Texans vs. Jets, Week 12 | Harris' Hits

Houston Texans
01 Dec 2021, 18:02 GMT+10

John Harris

For as good as last week was in Nashville, Sunday afternoon was the direct opposite at home for the first time since Halloween Sunday. The Texans sprinted out to a 14-3 lead but the Jets then roared back with 18 unanswered to fly back to New Jersey with the 21-14 win. Here are my Harris Hits from the afternoon.

The pass rush was, again, the bright spot for the Texans. They finished with four sacks on rookie QB Zach Wilson and there were a few more that could've been added to the total as well. One play, in particular, stood out in the early fourth quarter. Wilson and the Jets were backed up in the shadow of the South end zone goal posts. DL Jacob Martin burst through and got pressure on Wilson and nearly sacked him at the goal line, but Wilson escaped out and scrambled out of bounds. Another sack that was negated was another Martin sack that was disallowed due to an offsides penalty. The number was four but it could easily have been six or seven.

One play that could've turned the game around as well was a Jon Greenard sack in the fourth quarter. He was able to strip the ball from Wilson as Greenard sacked the Jets QB and the ball hit the ground around midfield or so. Fellow DL Roy Lopez was the first player to have a chance to recover but as soon as he put his hands on the ball, Jets RB Austin Walter, former Rice University star, dove and knocked the ball out of bounds. It was that close to being the Texans ball with momentum and down 18-14. But, Walter knocked away another Texans takeaway opportunity.

The one takeaway that the Texans did get came courtesy of DB Tavierre Thomas, who made a brilliant diving catch for the weirdest interception of the season. Jets QB Zach Wilson started to scramble but at the last moment, he flipped the ball forward to his RB Ty Johnson. Unfortunately, for Wilson, Johnson had already turned upfield to help his rookie QB get some yards on the ground. The ball hit Johnson in the back and ricocheted into the lap of Thomas who dove adroitly for the ball and secured the catch inches from the ground.

Rookie TE Brevin Jordan continues to make an impact, especially through the receiving game. Earlier in the first quarter, the Jets brought zero pressure and I remember focusing on Jordan on that route. Texans QB Tyrod Taylor didn't have a ton of time to get the ball to Jordan, or anyone else for that matter, but I remembered that look being there if the Jets came back with pressure. Later in the second quarter, Jordan again got loose and this time Taylor hit him at around the five yard line on third and goal from the 13-yard line and Jordan powered into the end zone for the Texans first touchdown, which gave them a 7-3 lead in the second quarter.

What I loved more than anything else from the offense today were the explosives and there was one massive one to WR Brandin Cooks. Taylor launched deep to rookie WR Nico Collins earlier in a second quarter drive but just missed him. So, a few plays after that incompletion, Taylor dialed up a deep ball to Cooks and dropped a dime into the waiting arms of the Texans star wide receiver in the end zone. The drive ended up being six plays, in total, but the fact that it didn't have to be a 12-14 play drive, one that necessitated perfection on a dozen offensive plays, was outstanding. The Texans needed a couple more, or just one, of those in the second half, but it never came.

So, the Texans lost by seven and the game could've played out much differently with some of the following instances not happening, but the Texans shot themselves in the foot throughout the day. They gave up a touchdown before the half and a subsequent two point conversion after taking a time out to get the right personnel on the field for said conversion. They gave up four additional points after getting called for a leverage penalty that took a field goal off the board and eventually put a Zach Wilson touchdown run on the board a few plays later. K Kaimi Fairbairn couldn't connect from 55-yards on a field goal attempt in the fourth quarter. That's two, four and three points that could've gone the other direction for certain or nine points in total. Then again, the Jets capitalized and the Texans didn't and that's why the Jets reeled in win number three on the season and the Texans left NRG with more questions than answers.

The Texans offensive line changed course for the fifth time this season with Lane Taylor stepping in at left guard and Tytus Howard moving out to left tackle. That was the fifth different combination on the season and it also meant that there have been two or more starters at every single position on the line this season. Suffice to say, there were some good moments and some that everyone would like to have back. The biggest issue was the inability to run the ball in the second half. The Jets defense really cranked up in the second half and eliminated any run game at all, putting all the pressure on the passing game. As such, a one dimensional unit at this level will always have issues and, unfortunately, the Texans offense was that struggling unit today.

Alright, that's going to do it. Let's move on and get ready for the Colts next week. See ya then, everyone.

Kickoff against the Colts is set for noon CT on December 5. Click here for tickets

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