Last week, the Houston Texans went on the road and beat the Denver Broncos, 31-25, to move their record to a perfect 3-0 on the season. The Texans had fairly easy wins the first two weeks, first at home against the Dolphins and then in Jacksonville against the Jaguars. In Week 3, they built a 31-11 lead through three quarters in Denver before experience a fourth quarter Peyton Manning-led rally that failed.
To help get a better eye on the Texans before this week's game, I turned to Steph Stradley. Steph was voted the ultimate Texans fan in 2006 and when not practicing law in Houston writes the Texans Chick blog on the Houston Chronicle's website. You can also follow her on Twitter @StephStradley, where she says smart things about the Texans and mean things about Bud Adams. In addition to answering questions from me, she also sent me questions I answered over at Texans Chick.
Total Titans: I thought the Texans running game might take a step back with the departures of right guard Mike Brisiel and right tackle Eric Winston, but based on the FO numbers and the general offensive success they've had the first three games it doesn't seem like it. Tell us a little bit about their replacements and how they've performed thus far.
The Titans started out the year with some good defense in the second half, holding the Patriots to punts on their first two second half possessions. Ever since Bill Belichick made the questionable but not clearly wrong decision to punt on fourth down and two from the Titans 40 with with 5:44 to go in the third quarter while holding a 10-point lead, the Titans have basically stopped playing any semblance of effective defense in the second half.
After that moment, here's what Titans opponents have done in the second half:
New England: touchdown, field goal, field goal;
San Diego:punt, touchdown, touchdown, touchdown; and
Detroit: touchdown, field goal, touchdown, punt, fumble, touchdown, touchdown, turnover on downs.
That's a total of 66 points on 15 possessions, or 4.4 points per possession. Even if you count those two Patriots punts to start the year, that's still 3.88 points for every post-halftime possession.
No team in the league other than the Titans is giving up more than 2.79 points per possession this year. No team in the league over the course of last season gave up more than 2.62 points per possession. The worst performance of the last 15 years, by the 2008 Detroit Lions team that went 0-16 and lost 47-10 to the Titans on Thanksgiving, was only 2.72 points per possession. The Titans after halftime are currently 43% worse than that.
I don't know what's going on, or else I'd write that post instead of this one. Is it fatigue? I doubt it. New England found success and the Titans didn't play an abnormal number of defensive snaps that game. Detroit also came out and found immediate success, scoring 17 (actually 18) points on their first three possessions. The best explanation I have is that whatever Jerry Gray is doing that's working in the first half completely stops working in the second half, with pretty catastrophic results.
I should note it's not like the Titans are great in the first half either-they've given up 2.35 points per possession, which would rank 23rd in the league this year. Combine the two halves, and they're giving up 3.09 points per possession, which would destroy that 2008 Lions team for the worst mark in the last decade and a half (as far back as I can look it up). Really, though, it's primarily a second half problem, and it needs to get fixed unless the Titans plan on (a) scoring 40 points every week or (b) not winning. No pressure, Jerry Gray, but your job security probably depends on it.no comments
After some false starts, Total Titans will be doing our second question and answer exchange of the 2012 season with an opposing blogger. This week, I'll be asking questions of Texans blogger Steph Stradley in addition to my normal routine of answering her questions.
If there are any questions for Steph about the Texans in 2012 and their prospects, post them in the comments section and I'll incorporate them into the questions I send to Steph.no comments
The NFL has officially starting keeping track of player participation and making it available to the media. Here's how the Titans lined up in Week 3.
OFFENSE (63 total)
QB: Jake Locker 63
RB/FB: Chris Johnson 50, Quinn Johnson 12, Darius Reynaud 7, Jamie Harper 1
TE: Craig Stevens 49, Jared Cook 18, Taylor Thompson 7
WR: Nate Washington 58, Kendall Wright 47, Kenny Britt 37, Damian Williams 29
OL: Leroy Harris 63, Steve Hutchinson 63, Michael Roos 63, David Stewart 63, Fernando Velasco 63
DEFENSE (96 total)
DE: Kamerion Wimbley 88, Derrick Morgan 78, Scott Solomon 22, Keyunta Dawson 3
DT: Jurrell Casey 51, Sen'Derrick Marks 48, Mike Martin 40, Karl Klug 31
LB: Akeem Ayers 92, Will Witherspoon 77, Zac Diles 9, Zach Brown 6
CB: Jason McCourty 96, Alterraun Verner 96, Ryan Mouton 87, Coty Sensabaugh 13
S: Jordan Babineaux 96, Michael Griffin 96, Robert Johnson 18
Patrick Bailey, Beau Brinkley, Tommie Campbell, Kevin Matthews, and Tim Shaw each only appeared on special teams. Matt Hasselbeck and Byron Stingily dressed but did not play.no comments