HOUSTON – The Houston Texans finally picked up a win this weekend in their first game since coach Bill O’Brien was fired.
Now the Texans are looking to build on what they did in the victory over the Jaguars with interim coach Romeo Crennel and improve this week when they are scheduled to visit the Titans.
“We’re not looking four to six weeks down the road or anything,” quarterback Deshaun Watson said. “We expect to win each and every week, and we’re going to go into each game and you’re going to get our best, and you’re going to get everything we got. We have nothing to lose.”
The Texans finally stopped the run and ran the ball in Sunday’s 30-14 victory after entering the game ranked last in the NFL in both categories. Houston also forced its first two turnovers of the season and scored a touchdown after both of those fumble recoveries.
Crennel noticed an attitude from the team that he hadn’t seen earlier in the season when they dropped to 0-4 for the first time since 2008.
“I saw the fight during the course of the game,” Crennel said. “I didn’t see anybody going to the tank when things went wrong, they said: ‘Let’s go, let’s pick it up,’ and then boom, that’s what they did. They picked it up and they fought all the way to the end.”
The Texans improved in many areas on Sunday but know that they’ll have to do more than they did against the Jaguars to beat Tennessee. The Titans are 3-0 and lead the AFC South heading into Tuesday’s coronavirus-delayed game against the Bills, and the Jaguars dropped to last in the division with Sunday’s loss.
“We’re very pleased with the way we played on defense,” defensive end J.J. Watt said. “We have to continue to do that and improve and get ourselves even better.”
And the Texans had 12,413 fans on hand to see their first win of the season.
Stopping the run and running the ball were the biggest improvements the Texans made on Sunday. They held the Jaguars to just 75 yards rushing after entering the game allowing 181.8 yards a game. Houston also discovered its run game, finishing with a season-high 129 yards rushing after averaging 73.5 yards through the first four games.
David Johnson, who came to Houston from Arizona in the trade for DeAndre Hopkins, ran for 96 yards in his best game as a Texan.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
Houston needs to improve its turnover margin after committing seven turnovers in the first five games and getting just two takeaways. The Texans are the only team in the NFL without an interception this season and Watson threw a season-high two interceptions on Sunday.
Brandin Cooks led the team with nine receptions for a season-best 161 yards and a touchdown on Sunday. His big game came after he didn’t make a catch in Week 4. It’s the most yards receiving for Cooks, who is in his first season in Houston, since he had 186 in Week 15 of 2016 with the Saints.
“The reason he’s here is because he has ability and has produced in this league, and so (Sunday) we were able to see what he can do,” Crennel said.
WR Keke Coutee, who is healthy, hasn’t been active in the past three games after losing a fumble following a reception in Week 2.
ILB Benardrick McKinney (shoulder) and TE Jordan Akins (concussion) both missed Sunday’s game and Crennel said Monday that he wasn’t sure if either player would return this week.
11 — Sunday was Watson’s 11th career game with three or more touchdown passes, which ranks second in franchise history behind Matt Schaub (12).
The Texans did a good job of containing rookie James Robinson and Jacksonville’s running game Sunday, but things will be much more difficult this week when they try to stop Derrick Henry. He has 319 yards rushing in just three games and ran for 211 yards in his previous game against Houston.
“If you let him get started and get that long stride going, he’s hard to tackle,” Crennel said. “If he can get to the second level, generally he gains several yards after that. If we can keep him on the first level, then that will improve our chances.”