After a painful opening day loss (in so many ways), the Texans have no time to dwell. They must rebound fast or be 0-2 heading with a tough game looming in Foxborough in week three.
Texans quarterbacks were pummeled to the tune of ten sacks. The leakage into the backfield must be cleaned up or dramatically reduced otherwise it's going to be unreasonable think of getting the desired improvement on last year's offensive struggles. And 2016 was the worst offensive season for Houston in a decade.
It wasn't supposed to be like this. But the injury issues and offensive troubles that surfaced as the preseason wore on were on full display in game one. The Texans were finally relatively healthy heading into the weekend. Then, injuries crept in and crippled Houston's game plan of using multiple tight ends to help the o-line with protection and the running game.
All three tight ends had to leave the game. And with another game in a few days it'll be very interesting to see how the Texans adjust to the situation. They'll get Jaelen Strong back at receiver. And you can bet they'll do their best to piece together some kind of ground attack to take the heat off the quarterback.
The defensive performance was the most perplexing of the day. Yes, Brian Cushing had to leave the game. But Houston has adjusted well to injuries before. The Jaguars never looked great through the air. They were just good enough thanks to the 155 rushing yards that kept their motor running.
Even though the Bengals were man handled by Baltimore on Sunday, they have plenty of talent to make matters even more difficult Thursday night. The bout between these two squads on Christmas Eve last year ended with a missed Cincinnati field goal preserving a 12-10 win. Things obviously change every year but this is no easy task.
Plus a road game on a Thursday means you lose valuable hours traveling on Wednesday. There will be a lot of walk through stuff before the team takes the field. And the loss to Jacksonville, while obviously costly injury-wise, was physically demanding overall. Houston paid a big price without a win to show for it.
We've seen way too much to panic, haven't we? This is where I remind you of tough starts and big runs, like two years ago. This feels like the opener against the Jets in 2009 or Kansas City in '15 (both campaigns finished 9-7).
Bill O'Brien has been here before. He knows how to navigate out of it. But every year is unique and he'll have limited time to plot a course to avoid an early season ditch that will be very tough to escape.
Check out photos at NRG Stadium as the Texans took on the Jaguars for Week 1.