Left Tackle Struggles
The Texans have had a revolving door at left tackle this season. Duane Brown was traded to the Seahawks after one game and Chris Clark was placed on injured reserve after being in and out of the lineup this season. Against the Titans, the regular starter at right guard, Jeff Allen, got the call.
Allen has been solid at guard this season, but he struggled against Tennessee. He put in an average performance run blocking, but he struggled on passing downs. Allen did not show the necessary lateral quickness to block elite pass rushers off the end. The Texans offensive line was weakened in two positions with Allen moving and it showed.
He was also the cause of a strange fourth quarter sequence. The Texans were down 17-13 and had a 4th & 4 on their own 44-yard line. Allen lost the plot and moved early on three consecutive snaps. The false start penalties resulted in 4th and 19 with under two minutes left. Luckily for Allen, Tom Savage made his best throw of the game to Stephen Anderson for a first down.
Savage’s New Targets
With Will Fuller out again and Bruce Ellington leaving the game early, the Texans needed someone to complement DeAndre Hopkins. Savage frequently looked for his tight ends C.J. Fiedorowicz and Stephen Anderson completing seven passes to them.
Anderson became a focal point of the offense after Fiedorowicz left the game with his second concussion of the season. He was targeted 12 times making five catches. His biggest moment of the game came on the fourth down and forever after the three Jeff Allen false starts. He made a beautiful diving catch through double coverage for the 1st down.
Andre Ellington also produced a lift in his first game with the Texans. The former Cardinal made five catches on six targets. This is impressive when the career running back was forced to play wide receiver due to injuries. Ellington was claimed less than two weeks ago and it would be surprising if he knew most of the play book. DeAndre Hopkins was shown explaining what his route assignments was before a couple plays. Ellington provided a bigger impact than you expect from a veteran picked off waivers.
Houston had a chance to win the game until the late Savage interception late in the fourth quarter. They could have easily had a lead at this point and Savage would have not been in the tough situation.
Placekicker Ka’imi Fairbairn had only missed two field goals entering the game Sunday, but he equaled that total against the Titans. He missed field goals of 28 and 48 yards. If he makes both field goals the Texans could have had a lead or been behind by less than a field goal. The Texans margin for error is very small and this was all it took to be on the losing end.
Jadaveon Clowney Trend
Jadaveon Clowney’s play is developing a strong trend other than pressuring quarterbacks. The former Gamecock had three offside penalties on Sunday. Clowney is tied for second in the NFL with ten individual penalties. He is one of two defensive linemen ranked in the top 20 in penalties.
It is unclear if Clowney is anticipating the snap count or is just an easy target for quarterbacks with a sharp tongue. If he is anticipating the snap count this could help partially explain his much-improved pass rush skills.
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