The preseason is history. The Texans went 2-1 and learned a great deal about what they need to do to win games in two weeks when the regular season gets rolling. With no fourth preseason game, all the focus is now on getting down to the 53 man roster and pouring every ounce of sweat into getting better for the opener.
The Texans played three preseason games and took the ball away ten times. That's one more than they had in the entire regular season last year. Getting turnovers the way they have will be huge, but they know they must not be generous with the hogskin themselves.
Against Tampa Bay, there were two fumbles by the quarterbacks and three picks. The five turnovers spelled doom as the Texans only lost by seven but had problems finishing drives.
After Tampa Bay went three-and-out on its first possession, to the delight of the NRG faithful, the Texans had to punt the ball back. Tom Brady put on a clinic on the next possession as the Bucs found the end zone.
Houston responded with a time-draining 18-play drive, but came away empty on a 4th-and-five inside the 10-yard line on a night when Ka'imi Fairbairn was unavailable. Brady went back to work and Tampa Bay went back into the end zone.
You could argue that you should win every game you play in which you rush for over 200 yards. That is, unless you're turning the ball over.
The ground game against Tampa clicked to the tune of 5.5 yards per carry for 209 yards. Four Texans running backs averaged better than four yards per carry.
The passing game is what struggled, but there were flashes. Davis Mills threw two touchdown passes, including one to fellow rookie Nico Collins. Tyrod Taylor found Jordan Akins on a big first down in the first quarter. There just weren't enough big plays to offset the errors.
On the other side of the ball, the turnovers kept coming and so did the sacks, as the Texans added four more to their preseason total of 11. If the Texans can bring this kind of production with them to the regular season party, they'll be in great shape in areas that saw them struggle in 2020.
They also blocked two kicks on the evening, an extra point and field goal.
The bottom line is the Texans are a work in progress. David Culley is still not getting the consistency he craves. There's still a couple of weeks to tune up before the games count and the Texans are going to make the most of every rep to get ready for Jacksonville.
The Texans will open their 2021 regular season at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, September 12. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. CDT on CBS and SportsRadio 610. For tickets, click here.