Aaron Donald & Company run Wild
The Texans offensive line faced the best defensive front they will see all season against the Rams. The Rams defensive line is led by Aaron Donald, who had already racked up 22 quarterback pressures entering the game.
The Texans made an egregious mistake throughout of the game and it cost them dearly. They allowed their worst offensive lineman, Xavier Su’a-Filo, to pass block without any help. Su’a-Filo allowed two sacks in the 1st quarter with one each coming from Donald and Michael Brockers. Donald’s sack led to a Savage fumble that eventually turned into a Los Angeles field goal. Su’a-Filo, Giacomini, and Mancz, who replaced the injured Jeff Allen, struggled most of the game.
The Rams got penetration throughout the game to hurry Tom Savage. This forced Savage to throw off his back foot and miss his mark repeatedly. Savage was hit six times and had two passes knocked down by the Rams defensive line. The Texans had no answers for the Rams front four who had more impact than the stat sheet can show. Deshaun Watson hid many of the blemishes along this offensive line. Tom Savage does not provide this luxury.
Pressure the Quarterback
Clowney provided three tackles and one sack. His pressure also made him responsible for one of Brennan Scarlett’s two sacks. He was disruptive most of the game and was one of the few bright spots on defense. He is starting to show a level of consistency everyone expected when he was the 1st overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
His six sacks this season equal his season total from 2016. Clowney is putting the opposing quarterbacks under pressure more frequently than last season. Offensive coordinators will key on him now that he is the lone pass rush threat, but that has not slowed him down. The attention on Clowney gave his teammates some favorable one-on-one matchups.
The Texans defensive front had three total sacks with the other two coming from Brennan Scarlett. The group hit Jared Goff six times and forced an intentional grounding penalty. In the second half the Rams did a better job protecting their young quarterback and the proof is in the 24 second half points.
The Texans have a small margin for error with many of the team’s playmakers on injured reserve Their mistakes against the Rams made this game an uphill battle. Tom Savage turned the ball over four times on Sunday. He fumbled twice and threw two interceptions.
In the first quarter, Savage looked for Bruce Ellington on 3rd and 11. Savage hit Ellington on a skinny post, but Ellington could not bring in the throw. The Texans would have had the ball on the Rams 20 yard line, but instead they were forced to punt. They scored a touchdown on their next drive, but this failure came back to haunt them later. They would have been able run the ball more and not play from behind the rest of the game.
The Texans finished the game with eight penalties totaling 60 yards. Their total would feel worse if the Rams did not also have 10 penalties on Sunday. The worst penalty was a Su’a-Filo holding call with less than two minutes left in the first half. The holding penalty negated a strong Lamar Miller run that would have led to a 3rd and short on the Rams seven yard line. Facing 2nd and long in the red zone, Savage tried to force a pass to DeAndre Hopkins and instead threw an interception If not for these mistakes the Texans could have gone to halftime with seven or 10 point lead. They will need to clean up many of these mistakes moving forward if they are going to have any success.
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