HOUSTON – An NFL story can’t be told in half, but the Houston Texans’ passport offense is a nightmare story based on the scant evidence we have.
Maybe it comes to the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 1, it will be more than Tyrod Taylor dump passes or rookie Davis Mills turnovers.
Perhaps Texans fans thank God for the Texans’ hasty attack. That should be the bread and butter for coach David Culley’s offensive.
After all, it was the only consistency found in a 23-16 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at NRG Stadium on Saturday night.
Together in the show season, the Texans rushed 209 yards on their way to the 2-1 goal. David Johnson, Phillip Lindsay and Mark Ingram are all expected to be roster bans if roster cuts are made on Tuesday.
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Need more evidence why they should all stay? Two of them had more rushing yards than Mills and Taylor before the third quarter started.
Ingram led 44 yards averaging 4.0 yards per carry for the first quarter. Johnson, who remained largely calm this preseason, broke out with a 21-yard run to end a 30-yard night on the ground.
Lindsay finished with an average of 2.8 yards per run. Still 17 yards against the number 1 defense in a new offensive? Good enough.
Scottie Phillips proves once again that he might be one of them. The Texan offensive took life on the open drive of the Second Quarter. Once again, it was Phillips who provided the spark.
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On the second play Phillips stormed into the open field and let the Tampa Bay defenders catch up. 34 yards later, the runner-up had Houston in midfield.
He finished the third game in a row with 73 yards and an average of 9.1 yards per game and led the team on the ground.
Culley and Texas General Manager Nick Caserio come from organizations that have perfected the floor game. In both seasons as the Ravens’ co-head coach, Culley saw Lamar Jackson, Ingram, JK Dobbins and others successful as NFL rushers. And since 2016, the Patriots have crossed 1,800 yards four times.
Houston could have gone undefeated this preseason but stayed behind in the end. Losing the reigning Super Bowl champion shouldn’t be that bad, however. After all, how many teams will resist a seven-time Super Bowl winner named Tom Brady playing in a preseason game that doesn’t matter anyway?
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But Houston had to find balance and consistency on the offensive. They didn’t do this in the area of passing. Mills threw two interceptions, and Taylor did just enough to look like a quarterback who is clearly the best option to start Week 1.
The stormy attack, however, served its purpose.
Culley said that after finishing 31st in rushing last season, Houston would focus on a more balanced approach to attacking in hopes of playing the ball more effectively.
This plan could be over. Instead, trusting the running game could be the only way Houston can run away successfully in 2021.
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