As Tom Savage was stripped on the final play to end the game it reminded everyone in NRG Stadium of what could have been if Deshaun Watson would not have gotten hurt. Watson could have easily escaped the pressure from the Indianapolis Colts defense and made a play to potentially win the game but alas it was not meant to be. Savage was stripped by Colts linebacker Jabaal Sheard and the fumble was recovered by Barkevious Mingo and the clock hit 0:00. The Texans lost their first game without the sensational rookie by a score of 20-14.
Savage had a relatively pedestrian performance, completing 19 of 44 passes for 219 yards and one touchdown. Though it does not seem possible, there are positives from his performance. Savage did not throw an interception in the contest and was only sacked twice. Only being sacked twice is no small feat after the trade of All-Pro left tackle Duane Brown. In Savage’s appearance in the Week 1 loss to Jacksonville Savage was sacked six times, Brown was absent for the contest as he was in the middle of his holdout.
A relatively balanced rushing attack kept the Texans in the game, but overall is was not spectacular. Lamar Miller rushed 10 times for 57 yards and D’Onta Foreman rushed 11 times for 37 yards. Combining for 21 rushes for 94 yards is a decent effort but it was not enough to get the Texans the win they desperately needed.
DeAndre Hopkins put together a nice performance without Watson. Hopkins caught six passes for 86 yards and one touchdown. Unfortunately Will Fuller essentially disappeared on Sunday. Fuller was only able to catch two passes for 32 yards. Fuller is essentially a non-factor without Watson lining up under center.
As expected the Colts offense had a great day though the air. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett completed 20 of 30 passes for 302 yards and two touchdowns. Brissett’s favorite target was wide receiver T.Y. Hilton. Hilton caught five passes for 175 yards for two touchdowns. Indianapolis tight end Jack Doyle reeled in eight passes for 63 yards. This is the second week in a row the Houston secondary has been exposed as a sub-par unit. What is becoming more and more clear is that the pass rush of the Texans was able to cover up for the lackluster defensive backs. Without J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus, the Houston secondary has been exposed and opposing offenses will continue to take advantage.
Without Watson the Texans offense is not the same. It is very apparent that the offense was entirely reliant on Watson and Savage is simply incapable of duplicating his success. Next week the Texans head out on the road to take on the red hot Los Angeles Rams who just defeated the New York Giants in New York by a score of 51-17. This is not an optimal matchup for a Texans team plagued by injuries and will be difficult for Houston to remain competitive. At least this week Savage will have a full week of practice as the starter instead of being forced in at the the end of the week. It is possible the additional time will help Savage and the Texans but that will be found out next Sunday.
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