Eddie Pleasant, Quintin Demps, and Andre Hal
The safety group had been a big question mark coming to the season so the Texans acquired top free agent Rahim Moore who was supposed to be a difference maker. Fast forward past the last couple of months and the Texans safety group has turned into a strength due to the absence of Moore. The three starting safeties in Eddie Pleasant, Quintin Demps and Andre Hal made impact plays this past Sunday to flip the game in the favor of the Texans.
Demps had a key fumble recovery returned for a touchdown and contributed some sure tackling. Pleasant had an interception where he ripped the ball away from the receiver on the way down. Hal was deflecting passes and also provided key run support.
The trio have helped the defense evolve and their speed plus solid tackling have helped shore up the back end of the defense.
B.J. Daniels Gets His Chance
The offense worked Daniels into the game early and he completed his first NFL pass to Jaelen Strong for 7 yards. Daniels has had little experience during the game as a quarterback in the NFL and it showed as he missed some reads in the option game when he should have given the ball to someone else instead of keeping it. However the potential was obvious and the more the Texans use Daniels, the more comfortable he will be.
The Texans see Daniels as a an added plus to the offense and his ability to throw the ball is the biggest change for that offensive package. There are some positive aspects for the Texans with Daniels on the field, which will add another layer to an offense that needs plenty of help if the team makes the playoffs.
Brandon Weeden, Yes That Brandon Weeden
Weeden ended the game as the first player in Texans history to to throw for two touchdowns and run for another one. The offense came out a little scattered and seeming to want to try everything in the playbook, running offensive sets with B.J. Daniels and Johnathan Grimes taking snaps. It took awhile for Weeden to find his rhythm.
When he did get into his groove, Weeden was in command and threw the ball with confidence. His two touchdown throws were well placed balls that only his receivers could haul in.
Weeden's command of the offense was impressive and his two drives coming out of the half were the difference makers in the game. In those two drives, Weeden was a combined 7 of 9 for 96 yards and 2 touchdowns. 5 of his completions went for first downs, while the remaining 2 went for the touchdowns to DeAndre Hopkins and Nate Washington.
What ends up happening to Weeden will be interesting, but he put together a solid game to close out an important AFC South division game, helping the Texans get a step closer to a playoff berth.
Texans Defense Did Not Let Up
The defense held the Titans to 30 yards rushing and 4.4 yards per pass play, which led to a long day at the office for Tennessee. The Texans harassed Zach Mettenberger and hit him 8 times, adding in 7 pass deflections, 5 of which were in the first half.
Two forced turnovers and sure tackling led to an impressive performance, which goes a long way regardless of the opponent on the other side of the ball.
John Simon Answers the Call
Against the Buffalo Bills, John Simon had a game that he would soon like to forget. Since that time, Simon’s role had been reduced some but the coaching staff have put him in a more of a pass rushing role and less in space, decreasing his chances of being exposed.
Simon had five quarterback hits and one sack the past two games and the quarterback hits these past two weeks have lead the team. He has been working well in stunts in the middle of the defense and is able to get low, making it tough for interior lineman to get to him to slow him down.
Simon's production has taken some pressure off of Watt, especially with Watt's broken hand, and it has put offenses on notice to account for everyone rushing the passer since Simon has stepped up.
DeAndre Hopkins Makes His Mark
Sunday was a 117-yard, 7 catch day, plus a touchdown for DeAndre Hopkins. Weeden put his trust in the offense’s best threat and, completing 64% of his passes to Hopkins, Hopkins was able to feast on the Titans defense.
The Texans got Hopkins going early by lining him up in the backfield and getting him open based off of formations. Then he went to work on the outside, catching a deep ball for 44 yards and drawing a defensive pass interference call.
Hopkins did what he does best and dominated the 50/50 footballs that were thrown to him. He did just that on the touchdown reception after the Texans offense missed an opportunity on the previous play.
One thing that helps Hopkins which is not discussed enough is his route running and how he is able to create just enough room to give his quarterbacks room to fit the passes in. He uses his hands very well to keep defenders from slowing him down and that, more times than not, is enough for Hopkins to make plays.
All he needs is a chance and on Sunday, it was clear how much he can impact the game.
Jadeveon Clowney Non-Contact Injury
Things we do know: Clowney fell to the ground in a middle of a pass rush and was looked at on the bench. It was his left foot and he was carted into the locker room soon after. Clowney was fitted for a boot and both Bill O’Brien and Clowney thought it was not a serious issue.
One thing is for sure, if Clowney was seriously injured the Texans would have not made him available post game to talk to the media. It will be a wait-and-see situation and if the Texans sit him next week in order to get ready for the playoffs (if they make it), it will be for precautionary reasons.
It looks like the Texans and Clowney likely dodged a serious injury for Clowney.