Bill O'Brien spoke on Monday after last night's 19-16 overtime thriller over the Dallas Cowboys. The Texans have won both of their games in similar fashion, walk-off field goals by Ka'imi Fairbairn in back-to-back overtime wins. While the victory over the in-state rival wasn't always pretty, O'Brien called it a hard-fought win with a lot of positives and areas of improvement, heading into Week 5.
DeAndre Hopkins is the best and the Texans cannot target him enough
"He's our No. 1 guy," O'Brien said. "I think everybody in the league knows that. We try to target him 20 to 25 times a game. I don't knopw what we did last night but we tried to. I think on certain areas of the field we've got to do a better job with targeting him. That's why he makes the big bucks so he goes out there and he plays, he plays hard. He's a playmaker. He wants the ball. He wants the ball on every snap and that's what makes him who he is."
Hopkins was targeted just 13 times on Sunday night against the Cowboys, but he made the biggest catch of the night in overtime to set up the game-winning field goal. The All-Pro's spin moves on a 49-yard catch and run also helped him finish with a game-high 151 yards receiving in the win.
Red-zone scoring has to improve
The Texans were just 1-of-6 (17 percent) in the red zone (four field goals and one turnover on downs).
"We all know that's not good enough," O'Brien said.
Last week against the Colts, Houston was a perfect 3-of-3 in goal-to-go situations. O'Brien said a combination of factors are at play when it comes to the recent red-zone issues from penalties to a limited area for fewer play calls and tight windows to operate in and less room for error.
"We've got to make major improvements there because we're moving the ball but we're not scoring touchdowns," O'Brien said. "We're kicking too many field goals. Ka'imi's doing a nice job – other than that first field goal – but we have to score touchdowns. That's not a sustainable way to win games in this league and we know that. So, we're going to work hard to get it better this week."
Deshaun Watson is completed 75 percent of his passes while throwing for over 300 yards for four consecutive weeks, but he has also taken a punishing with the number of hits.
"I think he's a great competitor and as he goes through his career, there will be times when he needs to make the decision to slide or get out of bounds. But there were some plays last night when he was trying to score touchdowns. He's trying to help his team win and Dallas was very physical. Deshaun is very physical. But obviously, those are plays we want to cut down on and we're going to work hard to do that moving forward because we know that is not a sustainable way to play – to be hit that much in a game. We understand that so we're going to work hard to try to improve that."
The offensive line was reshuffled and the tackles held their own
Julién Davenport started at left tackle and Kendall Lamm at right. Watson was sacked just once with this configuration. Cowboys defense end Demarcus Lawrence, who leads the NFC with 5.5 sacks, was limited to just one tackle.
"I thought they played hard," O'Brien said of the offensive tackles. "Just like everybody else, there's a lot of things that we have to improve at every position, but I thought those guys played a solid game."
Lamar Miller will return this week
Lamar Miller is expected back for Week 6 against Buffalo, though Alfred Blue did a nice job replacing him. Blue put up 119 yards from scrimmage (46 rushing, 73 receiving). The Texans starting running back was active for Sunday's win over the Cowboys but did not play. He suffered a chest injury in Week 4 at Indianapolis.
Texans defense is coming together as a unit
The Texans defense headed into Sunday night's game with a focus on shutting down Ezekiel Elliott and getting pressure on Dak Prescott and they did. Houston limited Elliott to just 54 yards rushing and forced two interceptions on Prescott, also adding six quarterback hits, two sacks and seven passes defensed.
"Eleven guys to the ball, setting the edge, building a wall inside, really good tackling," O'Brien said. "I thought our defensive line played real well. I thought D.J. (Reader) played well, Brandon Dunn played well, obviously, (J.J.) Watt and (Jadeveon) Clowney played a really great game. I think Benardrick McKinney and Zach Cunningham played well, so I think that has a lot to do with it. They stuck with it and stayed that way the whole game. Our secondary is playing better and better as they get used to playing with each other, if that makes sense. Their communication is better, and I thought they made more plays on the ball and that was really good."
The Texans improved to 2-3 on the win and will host the (2-3) Buffalo Bills next. Kickoff is set for 12 noon CT on CBS and SportsRadio 610.
The Houston Texans defeated the Dallas Cowboys in front of a record-breaking home crowd of 72,008.