“We just never really were in it,” said Texans head coach Lovie Smith. “Early on we had some chances and made a couple good plays defensively, but aside from that, there just wasn’t much good. We haven’t been able to stop the run all year and it reared it’s head today."
The Texans offense has a problem.
A week after a good showing against the Raiders, the Texans had their worst offensive game in recent memory.
The Texans came out against the Titans on Sunday and looked anemic, struggling to even gain any first downs against Tennessee and being held to under 165 yards of total offense in the game, while losing 17-3 against a team that was playing their backup quarterback and threw the ball only 10 times.
“We just never really were in it,” said Texans head coach Lovie Smith. “Early on we had some chances and made a couple good plays defensively, but aside from that, there just wasn’t much good. We haven’t been able to stop the run all year and it reared it’s head today, we weren’t able to run the ball offensively either and we weren’t able to get anything going. It’s hard to do anything offensively when you can’t run.”
It was a first half full of offensive woes for Houston, as the Texans could get absolutely nothing going in any facet of the offense.
After the Titans missed a field goal on their opening drive, the Texans threw an interception, and the teams traded punts after that for three drives before the Texans came away with an interception, bringing it back to the Titans 11-yard line and setting up the Houston offense with a golden opportunity.
But even that opportunity was nearly squandered, as the Texans lost 13 yards on that drive before settling for a field goal.
The two teams traded punts once again after that before finally the Titans came away with a touchdown, as Derrick Henry ran in a score from 29-yards out to give Tennessee the lead.
Houston was unable to score again in the half and went into halftime trailing 7-3 and being outgained by more than double by just Henry, who had 124 yards compared to just 47 total yards from the Texans offense in the first two quarters.
“There just wasn’t much going for us today,” said Texans quarterback Davis Mills. ”They brought pressure when they knew we were passing and they stopped the run every time. They have some really talented players but we have to correct that and we’re going to go back to the film, look at it and figure out a way to be better.”
The Texans struggles continued going into the second half, as Houston gained just 12 yards on their first drive, before Tennessee came back with a 13 play, 80-yard drive that Henry capped off with a 1-yard score, which set the Tennessee franchise records for rushing touchdowns.
Henry ended the night with 219 yards rushing on 32 carries with two rushing touchdowns, in his fourth straight 200-yard rushing performance against Houston.
After another Texans punt, Randy Bullock gave Tennessee a 14 point lead early in the fourth quarter, and that’s all the Titans would need as the Texans only scored on a 3-yard pass from Davis Mills to Dameon Pierce with 21 seconds left in the game once second stringers were in.
“We have to get better with the run defense and we’ve focused on that,” Smith said. “We just haven’t been able to convert that to the field and we weren’t good against the run today. It’s a short week now so we aren’t going to get much practice time but we’re going to do everything we can to look at the film, get some guys back and do a better job. We needed to play a physical brand of football and we just weren’t ready to play that today.”
In total, the Texans ended the night with just 161 yards of total offense, and Davis Mills looked completely lost all game, completing just 17 of 29 passes for 152 yards while throwing an interception and being sacked three times.
“We just got dominated up front and you can’t build on anything when that’s happening, ”Smith said. “We have to be able to run the ball and then build our pass game from there and it just didn’t happen today.”
The Texans are back in action Thursday when they play a red-hot Eagles team, and if they are to have any chance in the game things must be shored up on both sides of the ball after Sunday’s disastrous performance.
“It provides a lot of motivation going up against a team like that on a short week,” Mills said. ”Everyone in the league has the Eagles circled right now, with them being the only undefeated team left. We’re ready to make the corrections from this game and play a really good football game on Thursday.”