In week 12 of the 2017 NFL season the 4-6 Houston Texans traveled north to battle it out with the 5-5 Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. With a win in this game the Texans could get back into the AFC playoff hunt. On the other hand, a loss might mean the end of the Bill O’Brien era in Houston. Want to know how Tom Savage followed up last week’s career performance? What was the Houston run game like without rookie back D’Onta Foreman? What was the defense like with the return of undrafted free-agent Dylan Cole? Find out here with the week twelve Houston Texans takeaways.
Back to Reality for Tom Savage
There was one blissful week of average quarterback play from Savage. But against the Ravens, he proved that he is still not the guy. Savage threw the ball 37 times, completed 22 passes for 252 yards with zero touchdowns to show for it. The worst statistic from his play? Two interceptions.
It’s simple; turnovers kill your chances of winning. Savage knows it. O’Brien knows it. Everyone with a brain knows it. Changes need to be made.
Lack of Ground Production
With Foreman out the weight was on Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue. The Baltimore front makes that defense arguably the toughest to run on in the league. Miller ran the ball 17 times for 51 yards and one touchdown while Blue carried the ball eight times for just 15 yards and no scoring runs. The lack of yardage and overall success on the ground in this game is more on the offensive line than it is on the backs. Free-agent pick up Andre Ellington will most likely be activated to add versatility and speed into the backfield.
This is a problem that rears its ugly head every single week. The severe lack of talent across the Houston offensive line is almost blinding. This falls completely on Rick Smith and all player personnel staff members for refusing to address the issue. That issue was very, very apparent against Baltimore. Savage was constantly harassed by the edge-rushers in black and purple and the interior line couldn’t move to save their lives. The departure of Duane Brown puts this group in a bad spot. It means when a terrible player, like Chris Clark, gets injured, Kendall Lamm has to take on top-tier edge-defenders like Terrell Suggs. Unfortunately, Texans fans will have to endure this for at least the rest of this season, possibly even longer.
Defense Doing What It Can
The return of Cole was an obvious energy boost for the entire team, but it helped Benardrick McKinney and Zach Cunningham the most. The rotation at the inside linebacker position was a big help against the heavy, power-run offense of the Ravens. It will be good to see how Cole’s role on the defense grows as he nears the end of his first year as a pro.
Next week the Texans travel to Nashville to face the Tennessee Titans in an AFC South fight. With little to no hope left for the Texans playoff aspirations, one can only hope to see the young players play well and fight hard.
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