Texans look to improve offense, protect Watson better
HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Texans have turned things around after opening the season 0-3, winning three straight games to move out of the AFC South basement.
There's still plenty of work to do though as their offense has struggled to move the ball and protect quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Houston beat the Buffalo Bills 20-13 on Sunday, but needed an interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to do it as they managed just one touchdown on offense for the second straight week.
The Texans had a chance to put the game away on offense before the big defensive play but couldn't get it done. They trailed by three with about two minutes remaining on Sunday when they reached the 1-yard line on a 41-yard penalty for pass interference in the end zone. But they lost 7 yards on three plays, capped by an incomplete pass intended for Ryan Griffin that Matt Milano knocked down and had to settle for a tying field goal.
It was a particularly tough day for Watson, who entered the game dealing with a chest injury and was hit 19 times and committed a season-high three turnovers in the win.
He knows that he must get better with a meeting with the Jaguars coming up on Sunday, but also pointed out that there are going to be some growing pains since he's still very early in his career.
"There's always room to improve," he said. "And this is only the 12th game of my career so I'm always experiencing and learning, and I'm going to continue learning for however long I play this game. Every game is a new experience, and for me to go out there (Sunday), I learned something new. I'm going to learn from it and move on."
The Texans made some moves to improve their offensive line in the offseason, but the group has continued to struggle. Watson has been sacked 25 times, which is the second-most in the NFL, and he's taken 66 other hits.
Despite this the second-year player wouldn't criticize his line and said the problem is because of many different factors.
"As a whole we've just got to do better," he said. "Me getting the ball out, those guys doing their job, making sure the play-calling is right, just all on the same page. You can't point fingers and pin it all on one group of guys. It's a team sport. We're all in it together, and we've got to come back, watch the film, correct it and move on."
Coach Bill O'Brien didn't provide any specifics on what Houston can do to improve its offense, but insisted that it's his responsibility to fix it.
"We've got to get these guys to be more consistent in how they play," he said. "That's coaching. That's really what we have to get done."
The Titans and Jaguars have lost two games in a row after starting out their seasons strong to leave them and the Texans tied with 3-3 records.
After how terribly Houston's season started the fact that the Texans could take the division lead with a win over Jacksonville is rather encouraging.
"I feel good for these guys," O'Brien said. "We know we have to improve in areas, obviously, but that's what the league's all about. I think winning the last three games the way we've won them shows a lot about that locker room and what they're all about. If we can improve and get better in a lot of different areas, maybe we can do something."
"To come back from where we were is a testament to those guys, but there's a long way to go," O'Brien continued.
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