The loss of QB DeShaun Watson has left the Houston Texans with an enormous gap in their offense. Watson’s physical and mental abilities were the best the team has seen and he made the Texans’ offense a force to be reckoned with on any given week.
Now, the Texans’ offense has Tom Savage. A veteran of Bill O’Brien’s offense, but a turd in the punch bowl.
Come Sunday, the Los Angeles Rams defense will have little issue going up against Savage. If anything, he will be the very least of their worries.
Picking up the pieces
The Watson-led and Watson-less offenses couldn’t be more different. Without him under center, the momentum of the offense was halted to a dead-stop. Last week’s game against the Indianapolis Colts, a team the Rams scorched in Week One, illustrated just how bad the Texans second-half of the season will be if things continue.
For starters, the Texans usually fail when stretching the field deep. Against the Colts, Savage was 3-for-14 with 79 yards and a touchdown. Savage threw 44 times and completed less than 44 percent of his passes.
Throughout the Indy game, Savage was throwing the ball that was A) Way off the mark and B) Throwing it out-of-bounds.
On both of these passes, Savage fails to scan the field and check down (which we will touch on later). He waits for the play to develop, even though it never does for him. He throws the ball anyway. On one hand, what’s the alternative for him? He can’t run the ball like Watson and nothing else is open. It’s better than taking a sack.
And therein lies the nut at the center of O’Brien’s offense: picking the lesser of the two evils.
Also incompetence. That’s a big nut for this offense, too.
No life jacket
During last week’s game, it felt like Savage had no one open throughout the game. There were completions sprinkled in here and there. But for the most part, the Colts had the Texans receivers blanketed.
The Colts. The Colts did that. WR DeAndre Hopkins had a good day (six catches, 86 yards and a touchdown), but everyone else was covered pretty well. Hell, even Hopkins had plays were he couldn’t get separation.
The Texans stretched the field, but the defense stretched right along with them. The Colts only had two sacks on the day, too. Against this offensive line, especially without LT Duane Brown, the Rams defensive front is going to have a field day.
Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is more than capable of calling more creative defensive pass-rush than what the Colts showed on Sunday.
What worked for Savage
Pretty simple: the short ball and not much else.
Broken clocks are right twice-a-day. Savage got a few completions in on the deep ball. But he went deep a lot with little-to-no success. When he went short, the open receiver either created just enough separation or was the benefactor of space (through poor corner-safety communication or generous zone).
Savage on Sunday
Will have a worse completion percentage than he did last week. No question about it. With pressure in his face, Savage doesn’t step into the throw (don’t blame him), and relies on just getting the ball out.
The Texans ran the ball 21 times and only gave the ball to Miller 10 times. He was averaging close to 6 yards-a-carry. He was, by far, the best chance to move the ball for the Texans, and they kept going to their worse weapon: Savage.
Come Sunday, the Rams won’t be beating Savage as much as it will be Phillips beating O’Brien, who is calling the plays on offense.