Notes from Game Charting: Texans-Jaguars, Week 13, Second Half
What stands out the most in the second half is the deplorable play of the offensive lines on both sides. There wasn’t a single Texan lineman outside of Eric Winston that played a decent game. The second-half running game was non-existent, with the high yardage on a non-scramble being 4 whole yards. Duane Brown’s struggles continued, and he was so bad that the Texans spent most of the half keeping Chris Brown in as a sixth blocker. At least it was better than having him throw a pass.
The Jaguars noticed Brown’s ineptitude, as well as that of the rest of the Texans offensive line, and they made an adjustment: blitzing all but 11 passes in the second-half. They still only got 6 actual hurries off of it, but the Texans offense was pretty stifled outside of the long Andre Johnson PA play. Nose tackle Aatiyah Ellison just wreaked havoc on the Texans interior line. All three of them. He picked up 2 quick hurries in a row in the Texans 2 minute drill to get to the should-have-been tying score.
On the opposite side of the ball, the middle of the Jags line took a real beating. While the Texans interior linemen were at least mostly able to limit their bad plays to hurries, Vince Manuwai let Mario Williams come in almost completely untouched. I was also unimpressed with Brad Meester and Uche Nwareri, although it seemed like the pair of rookie tackles were serviceable.
When you pull back and really examine these two squads side-by-side, they are incredibly similar. Each offense has a superstar (Jones-Drew, Johnson), and a pretty good quarterback, a few young playmakers, and a young offensive line with duct tape on the interior. Both defenses struggle against the pass and are better against the run, but find problems pressuring the quarterback even when they do send plenty of men. Of course, the schemes are totally different and the stars dictate the stats, but the results end up eerily similar. If the Texans had gotten the bounces and swept them instead of the other way around…well, I could still be writing this blog in January.
-More arguments for the John Busing is the Anti-Christ club: As soon as Dominique Barber started taking the majority of the snaps in the second quarter, the Jaguars offensive game dramatically slowed down. Not only did they only score 3 points in the second half, but they didn’t have a drive go over 40 yards. That field goal was mostly the fault of the great field position afforded to them by David Andersen coughing the ball up and padding Matt Schaub’s interception totals. If you’re pinning your hope on the 4 game win-streak to take the Texans to 9-7, you could do worse than praying to various Gods and Goddesses that Barber is starting over Busing for the rest of the season.
-You probably knew Rex Grossman was bad. I avoided pointing out the obvious in the first half notes. However, did you know that the PA bomb to Andre Johnson with 11:16 left was the first time that the Texans targeted Reggie Nelson in the entire ballgame? From the way the Jaguars fans talk about him, you’d think he was as bad as Brian Russell. Yet the Texans passing gameplan (and the Jags constant blitzing) made him an complete non-factor for 3/4ths of the game. That was crucial in getting the Jaguars off to their big lead.
– As for the halfback pass, well, I understand a lot of things about it. I understand that the running game in the second half was not going anywhere. I understand you can’t run a screen every play. I understand that it caught the defense off-guard and actually had Joel Dreesen wide open. I understand that they practiced it all week.
This may be the overemotional side of me, but a play like that would have theoretical me, owner of the Texans, firing the coach on the spot. Not even based on the result. It’s all about the game situation. First and goal on the 5, down 11 points. That’s a number where a field goal and a touchdown with a two pointer ties the game. That means that if the Texans took a knee for 3 downs and kicked it, they’d have a 95% chance (88% chance–adjusted for Kris Brown’s year) of making it a one-score game. You can’t run any overly risky plays in that situation. Get stuffed three times, fine. Somebody fumbles it…what else is new? But don’t call a play where your odds of a turnover DRAMATICALLY increase over the regular odds of one when 3 points cuts it to a single-score deficit. That’s flat-out retarded. Kubiak has been a godsend for this organization, but he has no one to blame but himself if he gets fired after making a call like that.
-Maurice Jones-Drew is rubber, and you are glue. Playing the part of “whatever you say”: Every Texans player except Bernard Pollard.