Thomas B. Shea
Texans shake off a slow start on offense and maintain their lead over the AFC
They're not all going to be pretty; the Texans won't win every game 43-13. Some fans will no doubt be upset over them not blowing out a bad team at home, but every great team will have a win or two that didn't go according to plan and didn't meet the expectations of the predicted scores. I'm not concerned after the game on Sunday mainly because it's still a win, but I also won't get worried about slow starts until it becomes a trend. Truth be told, they're actually one of the better teams in the league at getting off to quick starts. The Texans are tied for fourth this season in 1st quarter points per game at 6.8 behind the Patriots, Chargers, and Bears. In first half scoring, the Texans are first in the league at 17.4 points per game. Take it as one off half, there is no reason to be concerned over slow starts now.
They weren't as efficient on the ground as they're capable of being at just 3.68 yards per carry, something most fans including myself didn't expect considering the opponent. Coming into the game Buffalo had allowed 176.9 rushing yards per game (Texans ran for 118), on six yards per carry (Texans put up 3.68 as I mentioned). It should be noted their overall numbers were brought down by the backups. Arian Foster ran for 4.6 yards per carry on Sunday, but even that number is a bit low considering the opponent. To the Bills credit, they played the stretch run play well, often flooding one side of the offensive line and selling out to stop the run. To the Texans credit, they saw that and beat the Bills deep on a couple of beautiful play action passes. That is the benefit of having great balance on offense; the Bills were able to load up and slow down the Texans in the run game, but they couldn't stop everything. Kubiak has done a great job at looking how the defense wants to play them with the scripted first fifteen plays, taking what the defense is giving them, and exploiting the weak spots.
They held the Bills to just over 300 yards of offense and didn't allow a touchdown; another great performance. The Bills put together a couple of nice drives that led to their field goals, but the Texans never let Fitzpatrick and the Bills offense get into a rhythm on Sunday. The Bills did have some success in the run game, averaging nearly five yards per carry, but seemed to get away from running the ball in the second half. With the Texans pass rush, especially against a quarterback like Fitzpatrick who doesn't have many reliable targets, throwing the ball 38 times compared to just 16 runs is not a winning formula.