The Texans lost 24-17 to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday in a game that did not mean anything. The Texans had nothing to play for and treated it like a pre-season game, holding out several key players, especially on defense.
The end result is they finish 9-7 for the third consecutive season, and pick up a second consecutive AFC South crown.
They also have a big question mark at quarterback. Again.
Tom Savage left the game in the concussion protocol after another curious Bill O’Brien play call — a sneak on fourth down with a quarterback who has never stayed healthy. Sometimes it is too easy to rip O’Brien for his decisions. Savage needed reps, but putting the QB at risk in that situation was unusually egregious, even for O’Brien.
Savage did not play in the second half and might be in question for next week. Brock Osweiler came in and led the Texans to 17 second-half points, completing 21 of 39 for 253 yards and a touchdown. It came against the Titans starters, but also against a defense that had a big lead and was playing more conservative. So it is hard to get excited over the effort.
There is really nothing about Sunday’s game we did not already know. The offense is one of the worst in the league. The defense is one of the best. They had issues in the secondary on Sunday, but only because they were trotting out players who will never see the field in the playoffs. (We are talking to you, Robert Nelson).
Offensively, the first half was as abysmal as last week’s. It did not matter who was playing quarterback; the Texans simply could not move the ball consistently. The Texans had just 57 yards on offense, averaging 1.6 yards per play in the half.
Savage had no positives in his short outing, losing a fumble for a Titans touchdown. Even if Savage is healthy, he showed nothing to give any confidence that he will be able to lead the team to victory in a playoff game. It would have been good to make something happen just from a confidence perspective.
But that’s a problem for next week. Looking ahead, the Texans should be as healthy as they have been most of the year when they host a playoff game, Savage aside. Defensively they are good enough to hang with anyone. But the offense simply has to be better. Whether it is Kansas City or Oakland, the Texans will need to find a way to move the football.
And once again in the O’Brien era, the question is the same: Who will play quarterback?