ReFo: Texans @ Jaguars, Week 14
After an even first half it was the Texans imposing ground attack that saw them romp to victory. They employed their usual array of zone runs with a high combination of trap plays that were designed to catch the Jags shooting their gaps, with the benefactor the fluid Arian Foster who notched another 1,000 yard season.
For Jacksonville they can take solace in how they continue to play hard, but the truth is they’ve still got a ways to go in terms of bridging the talent gap this regime has inherited, with the hope being they’ll bear the fruits of their labor in the upcoming years.
Houston Texans – Performances of Note
J.J. Watt, DE: +1.4
Breakdown: This is where stats can be a little misleading. Watt walked away with some eye catching numbers (three sacks, two hits, two hurries and a batted pass), but this was one of his quieter games given that he was on the field for 73 snaps. Instead two of his sacks came unblocked (one of which because the QB fell over) and he was limited to just two stops in the run game (which matched the number of penalties he was flagged for). It’s telling that even in one of his weaker efforts of the year Watt still graded positive and made some big plays though – that’s just the player he is.
Signature Play: As quick as a hiccup Watt zooms by Sam Young for a sack with 14.17 left in the game, drawing a hold in the process.
Chris Myers, C: +3.4
Breakdown: The key to the Texans rushing attack. Myers was beaten for a sack in pass protection, but was superb in the run game against the energetic Jags interior. On his double team blocks he was getting plenty of movement and he was quick to the second level when asked of him. Perhaps the most impressive aspect those is his aspect to cross a defenders face and seal on reach blocks, which really opens things up.
Signature Play: With 11.24 to go in Q3 Myers reaches across Roy Miller to seal the Jags defensive tackle off. A block that is incredible tricky to execute and not as commonplace as you’d think.
Kendrick Lewis, S: -1.4
Breakdown: The former Chief made some good plays in coverage (though he’ll be frustrated he dropped a surefire interception) but it was his tackling that let him down. He missed three attempts and while that may still allow you to get the job done against Jacksonville, better teams will punish you for that.
Signature Stat: His 14 missed tackles are ninth most among all safeties.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Performances of Note
Blake Bortles, QB: -3.7
Breakdown: Keep taking those lumps. With his team employing a gameplan that at times seemed about slowing down J.J. Watt, Bortles saw a lot of work on rollouts and even more short stuff. He wasn’t helped by dropped passes (four) and at times seemed on a different page to Cecil Shorts especially, but the hope has to be that he learns from his mistakes because there’s too many of them right now.
Signature Stat: Attempted just five passes longer than 10 yards in the air all game.
Sen’Derrick Marks, DT: -0.2
Breakdown: A weird statline for Marks who walked out of the game with an NFL officially credited 1.5 sacks, but will be lucky if either stands when corrections are in. On one play the QB had clearly scrambled past the line of scrimmage, and the other was clearly a designed run (though credit to Marks as he forced the QB trip with the push on Chris Myers). Outside of that you got what you normally get with Marks; some plays here and there, some struggles against the double team and an overall feeling that he should maybe have done a little more given his playing time.
Signature Play: With 8.20 to go in Q1 he beats Brandon Brooks handsomely for a tackle for a loss.
Brandon Linder, RG: +4.5
Breakdown: Jackpot. The scouting department are patting themselves on the back right now given the progress of Linder who has excelled in year one. He had help when dealing with Watt but he still deserves credit for allowing no pressure, while he continues to get better in the run game. A real bright spot.
Signature Play: Watch the movement the rookie gets on Jared Crick with 5.53 to go in the first. There isn’t a coach alive who doesn’t want to see that from their player.
PFF Game Ball
More a collective effort than one that was about an individual. The running game won the battle and Chris Myers was central to that.
Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled