Sun, 24 Jan 2021

O'HARA'S SCOUTING REPORT: Houston Texans

Detroit Lions
26 Nov 2020, 00:25 GMT+10

Mike OHara

If only by reputation and past performance, the Houston Texans should not be taken lightly by the Detroit Lions.

The Lions' track record of being upset by losing teams, most recently last week's 20-0 loss to the Carolina Panthers, is another factor.

Although the Texans' 3-7 won-loss record indicates otherwise, they can ruin the traditional Thanksgiving Day holiday if the Lions are not at their best.

The Texans have a top five quarterback in Deshaun Watson, who showed that again with his arms, legs and pure grit in last week's 27-20 win over the New England Patriots.

That made the Texans' record 3-3 under interim head coach Romeo Crennel, who was promoted from assistant head coach when Bill O'Brien was fired after the team's 0-4 start.

Crennel's goals since being elevated center on winning.

"I've tried to accomplish winning games, and I haven't won enough games," he said in a zoom interview Tuesday. "Last week was a big win for us. We were able to get a home game, and then it was against the Patriots. I used to work there (as an assistant coach). That felt good.

"What I'm trying to get accomplished now is to win more than .500 the rest of the way through this season."

Watson made it clear to reporters after the game that winning is important to him, despite the current circumstances.

"We're just trying to stack wins," he said. "That's what we're trying to do each and every week. We don't look at the record. You're going to get our best bet. The other team better be ready.

"This is a big one. We're going to try to get the victory."

Watson showed his desire to compete when he ran through two Patriots defenders to reach the end zone on a touchdown run that gave Houston a 14-10 lead.

Houston also has defensive end J.J. Watt, one of the top pass rushers of his era. Watt has only four sacks, but he showed his ability to influence a game by batting down four passes at the line of scrimmage against the Patriots.

Watt told reporters how much he appreciated Watson's willingness to sell out on his TD run.

"It was great," Watt said. "Not many quarterbacks want to put their shoulder down and run over somebody. It's always a big play for your team when your quarterback does that and shows what he's all about -- shows the willingness to kind of get dirty."

Despite losing All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins in an offseason trade, Watson has a solid receiving tandem in Brandin Cooks and Will Fuller. Both have 47 receptions.

The Texans' current status represents a steep and stunning decline from where they were a little more than 10 months ago to where they are now in third place in the AFC South.

A year ago, the Texans were in the playoffs for the fourth time in O'Brien's reign as head coach with a 10-6 won-loss record.

They beat the Buffalo Bills in overtime in the first round of the AFC playoffs and in the divisional round had a 24-0 lead over the Kansas City Chiefs in the second quarter.

Life has not been as good for the Texans since that moment.

The lead evaporated into a 51-31 win for the eventual Super Bowl champion Chiefs.

In the offseason, O'Brien made several questionable personnel moves - topped by the trade of Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals.

Order has been restored to some degree under Crennel.

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