The Houston Texans narrowly defeated the San Diego Chargers on Monday night, and nine times out of 10 they probably would have lost after the terrible first half the Texans had. But a second half reawakening (and an impressive interception by Brian Cushing) brought the Texans back from the brink.
The Texans claim to be a run-first offense, but is that really the smartest path to follow in 2013? I know one game isn’t much of a sample size, and that Arian Foster was playing for the first time since returning from a bevy of injuries; even so there definitely some areas of concern.
Let’s start with the quarterback play. In the first half Matt Schaub threw an interception in the first offensive play of the game. This set the Chargers up for a touchdown on the next play, and gave them early momentum. Schaub went 12-18 in the first half for 147 yards, one touchdown pass and one interception, earning a 87.7 rating.
However, in the second half, Schaub looked a lot more like the quarterback who we saw lead the Texans to a 11-1 start in 2012. He completed 22 of his passes in the third and fourth quarters for 199 yards and two touchdowns, earning a respectable 122.1 rating. He was 7-9 in the red zone overall, and at the clutch point of the game (when the Texans were trailing by 21 points in the third quarter) Schaub completed 10 straight passes for 122 yards and a touchdown. I think second-half Schaub deserves an A++.
Now the run game. Foster and Ben Tate combined for only 112 yards on 27 carries. Foster averaged just 3.2 yards per carry and dropped a few passes, gaining 90 yards total through the air and on the ground. He was stuffed on a third-and-1 play and a fourth-and-1 play that really could have shifted momentum in the first half, and was then kept out of the game on an important fourth quarter series in favor of Tate.
Tate was a little more impressive, with a 6.1 average per carry. Head coach Gary Kubiak claims that he wants them to split the carries more evenly over the next few games, so it’ll be interesting to see if the run game improves overall.
I know someone will say that the Texans ended the game with 45 passes and just 28 rush attempts, but to begin the game the Texans are always much more focused on the run. I think that though Foster is almost guaranteed to improve on this weak Week 1 performance, the Texans should definitely consider starting the game with more of a pass-happy offense.