Week one could not have gone any worse for the Houston Texans as they were outmatched and outplayed in all facets of the game. On top of the poor play on both sides of the ball, the Texans injury report for this week is full of key players. Unfortunately for the Texans they a have a short week as they take on the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday.
Houston failed to achieve all but one of the five keys to victory (article posted earlier in the week). Limiting Tom Savage’s pass attempts was the only key to victory that was achieved by the Texans, but this was a result of Savage being replaced by rookie Deshaun Watson.
Houston sustained multiple injuries throughout the game, most notably all three tight ends (C.J. Fiedorowicz, Ryan Griffin and Stephen Anderson) are in the NFL’s concussion protocol. This is bad news for a team already lacking targets in the passing game. Will Fuller is still injured, Jaelen Strong is coming off a one-game suspension and Deshaun Watson’s job just got that much harder.
The short week means that the Texans could be without most if not all of the players in the concussion protocol. This is the worst possible week for the Texans to have a Thursday night game with all the injuries complied in week one and the unsettled quarterback situation.
Injuries were not exclusive to the offensive side of the ball, linebacker Brian Cushing sustained a concussion and defensive end J.J. Watt had a gruesome finger injury. A team that was unable to stop rookie sensation Leonard Fournette could be in trouble this week with the Bengals three-headed rushing attack.
The elephant in the room is the continued absence of All-Pro left tackle Duane Brown. Brown has been holding out since training camp in hopes of getting a better deal. Brown’s presence would solidify the offensive line which would mean fewer sacks and a more prolific rushing attack. But Brown remains at home, not a member of the team. It is being reported that Brown and the Texans have not been in contact which means his arrival is a long way away, if he even plays at all this season.
The Bengals are not without their issues, Cincinnati suffered a 20-0 defeat at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens in week one. Quarterback Andy Dalton had five turnovers (four interceptions and one fumble) and was sacked five times in the week one loss. The trio of Jeremy Hill, Giovani Bernard and Joe Mixon combined for 75 yards rushing on 21 carries, hardly the production expected from this group.
The Baltimore rushing attack gashed the Cincinnati defense for 157 rushing yards on 42 carries, this bodes well for the Texans as Lamar Miller must be the focus this week. Without Fiedorowicz, Fuller, Anderson and Griffin, the rushing attack must be the emphasis on offense for Houston. Defensively they must stop the run more efficiently, Cincinnati will look to run early and often and control the game. It is in the Texans best interest to stop the rushing attack of the Bengals while emphasizing their own rushing attack. If Houston fails for the second straight week at accomplishing this, it will be another loss and the beginning of a long season for the Texans.