Stonewalled at every turn, frustrated into a series of aimless, unproductive drives and stymied in every strategic attempt, the Texans’ offense skidded to a halt against the New York Jets.
It didn’t matter that the Jets entered Sunday’s game at NRG Stadium as one of the least imposing defenses in the league.
They looked like absolute world beaters during the second half against an ineffectual Texans offense. After halftime, in squandering a 14-11 lead to absorb a 21-14 loss to the previously 2-8 Jets, the 2-9 Texans mustered just three first downs after halftime and 45 yards of total offense after generating 157 yards of total offense in the first half.
That offensive ineptitude was a major factor in not being able to win consecutive games for the first time this season one week after an upset road victory over the Tennessee Titans. The Texans have now lost nine of their past 10 games.
After quarterback Tyrod Taylor threw a pair of touchdown passes to wide receiver Brandin Cooks and rookie tight end Brevin Jordan to build a 14-3 lead in the second quarter to rebound from a screen pass intercepted by defensive end John Franklin-Myers in the first quarter, the offense nosedived.
“The flow wasn't right in the second half,” Taylor said. “We have to be better at that moving forward. I think that boils down to execution. If you look at the first half, the flow of the game was in our favor. We were executing, hitting our chunk plays, doing what we needed to do in the run game. We didn't do it in the second half.”
The Texans finished with just 13 first downs, 202 yards of total offense, and an average of 3.7 yards per offensive play. The Jets entered Sunday allowing averages of 414.2 total yards of offense and 282.2 passing yards per game.
After the two touchdown passes, the Texans punted on four consecutive drives, kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn missed a 55-yard field goal try, turned it over on downs and then had an unsuccessful drive at the end of the game as the clock expired.
Taylor completed 17 of 26 passes for 148 yards, two touchdowns and one interception for a 91.5 passer rating. He was sacked five times.
“We just didn't play very well consistently, offensively,” Texans coach Daivd Culley said. “We had a couple of sacks right there, actually early. We just weren't able to consistently keep the ball moving. I've just got to look at the video to see exactly what happened on that.”
This setback follows a 22-13 win over the Tennessee Titans.
“It's frustrating to any of them,” Culley said. “We didn't play well in the second half to do that. We’ve had that same thing happen last week, but we were able to hold on. We have just got to keep working on it, and we look at the video, keep evaluating everything we do and get it corrected.
““Again, inconsistency. We’ve had some penalties. We've had some sacks. We've had some missed assignments. It's gotten minimal. The good thing about it is we haven't been turning it over is the big thing about that. But we just got to get more consistent with doing the things consistently that we need to do in order to stay on the field, and we're not doing that yet.”
The Jets were extremely difficult to block, too. Especially Franklin-Myers, who had two sacks and the one interception.
“They're a physical front,” running back Rex Burkhead said. “They move guys around, give you different looks. And we knew going in that something that they do. You try to stop them from getting going. At times, we didn't do that. We didn't give Tyrod enough time because when we do our offense really gets clicking and gets moving. So, hopefully, we can look at that and make some changes.”
Culley was adamant that he’s not going to change play-calling duties. Those will remain the responsibility of offensive coordinator Tim Kelly.
“No. Tim is my play-caller,” Culley said. “And he'll stay the play-caller.”