The Texans dropped to 0-2 with a 20-17 road loss against a Tennessee Titans team missing its quarterback, stud left tackle, and tight end — and led by a first-year coach. A division road loss on top of that.
The Texans got in a hole early by giving up a free touchdown on a fake punt where they were completely caught off guard. They battled back to take a 17-14 lead, but the defense gave way late — much like last season's 4-12 disaster — and the Texans find themselves in a tough position. So why did they lose this one?
After the quick touchdown on the fake punt, the Titans put together a nice drive and some missed tackles led to a second touchdown and a 14-0 lead on two possessions. The Texans simply looked like they had no idea what the Titans were going to do. That is on coaching and game planning. They adjusted, but the big hole left little margin for error, and they had more errors.
Up and down Watson
Deshaun Watson got off to a very slow start. He also nearly fumbled another ball. He also cost the team points with an ill-advised interception in the end zone. He also made a terrible decision on the last play with ball to the middle of the field that left the team with no time. When he was good, however, he showed flashes of last year's Watson, completely 22 of 32 for 310 yards, two TDs, and he also rushed for another 44 yards on 5 carries.
Costly penalties hit the Texans at every turn. They had 11 for 88 yards, many costing them on big plays. It was sloppy, awful football at the wrong times.
Not an elite defense
The Texans defensive numbers look good on paper, and they were terrific in the third quarter. But they gave up two drives late to lose the lead and did not force a turnover. If the Texans are going to win, they need some playmaking from the defense. They did not get it, even against a below-average quarterback in Blaine Gabbert. It proved costly.
Special teams woes...again
Remember all those things the Texans did to improve the special teams? Besides the botched punt coverage, they missed a 54-yard field goal, which led them to pass on another one late in the game that could have at least forced overtime. That's minus-9 points on special teams.
There were some positives: The Texans had more yards, first downs, and averaged two more yards per play than the Titans. They ran the ball very well, with 148 yards, averaging 5.7 per carry. Those are numbers that will win most football games.
But not when you do the five things listed above. And that's how you wind up 0-2.