If you had asked me before these first two games, "Would you take 20 points allowed against Indy and 16 against Denver?" I'd say "Absolutely."
Well, that's what's been put on the scoreboard, but the Texans have come up short on the offensive side with 20 and nine points in the first two outings, respectively.
Sunday's game at Denver was a nip and tuck field goal battle until the fourth quarter when the Broncos broke the ice with a TD and grabbed the lead. The Texans had chance after chance in this one but they weren't able to get over the top and eventually fell 16-9.
There were a lot of good moments on defense. The Texans held strong on two goal-to-go situations as Denver took short range field goals, to the dismay of the Mile High customers. Houston had leads of 6-3 and 9-6, but you felt like they'd eventually have to break the plane of the goal line a time or two to get the W.
Being a close, low-scoring game, field position was at a premium and the Texans had a lot of good momentum in this area that they didn't capitalize on. At one point, late in the third quarter, Denver had a fourth and two at the Houston 36-yard-line, down 3. The Broncos couldn't get their field goal unit on in time for a 54-yard attempt. They got flagged for delay of game and punted. The crowd let them have it.
The ensuing punt put Houston at the nine but the Texans had to punt it right back after a three-and-out. Then Denver went on a 62-yard drive for a touchdown, including an extremely frustrating 3rd and 16 conversion to a wide open Courtland Sutton for 35 yards.
Moments later, the Texans trailed by four.
But even with the lead change and momentum shift, the Texans had the ball inside the Broncos 40 two more times - yet were unable to go deeper.
This one hurt because it was gettable. The Texans are a young team that's learning on the fly. The rookies and second-year players did make plays. Dameon Pierce had 69 yards on 15 carries, good for 4.6 per pop. Nico Collins had four catches for 58 yards. Jalen Pitre had five tackles. Derek Stingley Jr. had eight stops and two passes defensed. Kurt Hinish had a TFL.
Davis Mills made some nice throws but didn't eclipse 50% passing and the team was 2-13 on third down. Houston's attack just couldn't get clicking. Like last week, a moderate to big play or two could have made all the difference.
The Texans won the turnover battle again (1-0) but still didn't get the victory. They'll try again next week in Chicago as two second year QBs go at it in Mills and Justin Fields.