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Week 2 Game Recap: Houston Texans 17, Tennessee Titans 20


What you need to know

Houston Texans

Jordan Akins and Ryan Griffin continue to be the primary tight ends in the passing game but there has not been enough to feel good about their contributions to the big picture of the offense. Until they get truly involved in the offense, this is a Hopkins and Fuller show until further notice.

Tennessee Titans

The Titans offense had a very quiet game as Blaine Gabbert received the start for an injured Marcus Mariota. Corey Davis was the top receiver, leading the team in targets for the second straight week. Taywan Taylor would be the only offensive player to score a touchdown with an 18-yard catch and run. Derrick Henry was leaned on heavily, out-touching Dion Lewis 18-to-15, but neither was efficient behind a banged up offensive line as they barely averaged over 3.0 yards per rush attempt.

Houston Texans

QB Deshaun Watson, 67 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 32 - 310 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 5 - 44 - 0
It was a much better performance on the field for Deshaun Watson throwing for 310 yards and two touchdowns and that was even after a slow start on offense. Watson was able to balance out the field and use Will Fuller to open up the offense especially in the passing game. Watson was able to hit Fuller all game with comeback routes then broke off the Titans with a 39 yard touchdown go route to Fuller to flip the field. Watson was much more under control and was near perfect throwing the ball to Fuller and it was clear DeAndre Hopkins was his other favorite target. Watson hit Hopkins for a 28 yard touchdown pass to start the Texans scoring and ended up hitting him many times in the middle of the field to get the chains moving. Outside of Fuller and Hopkins, Watson did hit Bruce Ellington for 45 yards but they went away from it on offense. Ellington had plenty of room to work with in the middle of the field and to eat up yards. Watson did plenty in the air but he did have moments of hiccups, throwing an interception into double coverage for the second week in a row and recovering his own fumble twice; once on a snap and another on not protecting the ball letting a defensive lineman swipe the ball from his hands.

RB Lamar Miller, 51 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 68 - 0, Rec: 2 - 2 - 0 (2 targets)
Not as successful day as last week but Lamar Miller is still doing good things on the ground. With the Texans behind the entire game, they have to go away from the running game and that means going away from Miller. His longest run was 18 yards but he was doing a good job of getting to open grass to eat up yards. Miller is showing a much better knack for breaking tackles. Miller was averaging 5.8 yard a carry through the first half and it is clear the Texans working the outside zone is right in line with Millerís strengths. Miller also had 2 receptions for 2 yards, one was a screen pass the other was a check down that were shut down immediately.

RB Alfred Blue, 17 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 36 - 0
Alfred Blue continues to spell Lamar Miller at times in the offense and he continued to produce in the running game. Blue has 7 carries for 36 yards and he continues to eat up yards when he is in the game. One thing that shows when Blue is in the game, he eats up yards in a hurry and is able to get the Texans offense in a quick flow running plays. He didnít get a touchdown like last week but he had some good work for the offense.

WR Will Fuller, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 113 - 1 (9 targets)
It was Will Fullerís first game of the season and it is clear that Watson likes when he is in the lineup. Fuller caught 8 passes on the day and 7 of those were simple comebacks or outs for 6, 7 and 8 yards a pop. The Texans kept using Fuller like that and then he was able to get vertical after the Titans defense started creeping up and busted them for a 39 yard touchdown reception. Fuller balances out the offense and was able to produce when given the chance and if anything he is showing why he is an important part of the Texans offense.

WR DeAndre Hopkins, 67 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 110 - 1 (11 targets)
It was another solid game for DeAndre Hopkins and this time he was able to cap off his strong day with a 28 yard touchdown reception. Hopkins had 6 receptions on the day and did majority of his damage deep catching passed for 23, 28 and 31. He was targeted but he was double covered from the jump and the ball was picked off despite being forced to Hopkins. Hopkins had very catchable passes thrown his way and he rewarded Watson with a 110 yards trough the air. Hopkins continues to be the top target in the passing game.

WR Bruce Ellington, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 45 - 0 (3 targets)
The Texans primary slot wide receiver and the only issue is if he can get a chance to make plays. Ellington had receptions for 5, 17 and 23. When he had the bigger gains, he was able to get the ball in the middle of the field, make a defender miss and eat up yards in a hurry. With so many targets going to Fuller and Hopkins, Ellington has been an after thought in the offense.


Tennessee Titans

QB Blaine Gabbert, 59 offensive snaps, Pass: 13 - 20 - 117 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 2 - 0
Blaine Gabbert was named the starter in a game-time decision for the Titans this week with Mariota sidelined due to injury. Gabbert had a very quiet game with a run-heavy game script. He threw only nine passes in the first half, with his highlight of the game coming on their second drive where Gabbert completed a short pass to Taywan Taylor that was taken to the house for an 18-yard touchdown. Gabbert got a break midway through the third quarter as he side-armed a screen pass to Rishard Matthews that was nearly thrown backward which would have resulted in a Texans touchdown, but the pass was indeed barely moving forwards and ruled incomplete. When it mattered, Gabbert made the throws required to help move the chains throughout this game. He would, however, almost make a critical mistake on the Titansí final drive as Gabbert had a pass batted back into his own hands, scrambled more, and attempted to throw a second pass. This, of course, would result in a penalty--but it could have been much worse as the Titans were within field goal range. Gabbert would help make up for it on the next play by completing a screen pass to Corey Davis that was taken 18 yards for a big first down to set up the game-winning field goal.

RB Derrick Henry, 26 offensive snaps, Pass: 1 - 1 - 8 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 18 - 56 - 0
Despite the inefficient stat line, this was a solid game for Derrick Henry. Henry out-carried Dion Lewis 18-to-14 here as he served as the primary early-down back on all but a couple series where Dion Lewis was featured. The game script was extremely run-heavy with Blaine Gabbert under center, so Henry feasted from a slew of carries. Henry even had the opportunity to take a few snaps in the wildcat formation on the second drive of the game, completing one shovel pass while running up the middle for some decent gains. Henry made The blocking was suspect all day long due to the absence of both starting tackles Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin in addition to a late scratch of backup right tackle Dennis Kelly. This certainly contributed to some of the short and negative runs by Henry as he was simply running into clogged holes.

RB Dion Lewis, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 42 - 0, Rec: 1 - 1 - 0 (1 targets)
Dion Lewis took the back seat to Derrick Henry in this game, getting out-touched 15-to-18 as Henry was the clear feature back on most series. Lewis saw a few carries to spell Henry throughout the first half and was featured on one full possession before halftime. Lewis had a few decent runs throughout the first half, but nothing spectacular as he was running behind a banged-up offensive line missing three of their primary tackles. Lewis had the longest run of the game for 13 yards midway through the fourth quarter as he was set up with some nice blocks that allowed for a huge hole for Lewis to blast through, running nearly 10 yards before being touched. The Titans went mostly to Derrick Henry on this last drive, but coming off a time-out late in the drive, Lewis questionably was given a short carry on 3rd-and-1 carry with which he gained no yards leading to the game-winning field goal on fourth down.

WR Corey Davis, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 55 - 0 (7 targets)
Corey Davis led the team in targets (7) for the second straight week in a game that did not set up well for wide receivers with the run-heavy game script. With Blaine Gabbert under center, very few risks were taken in the passing game as nearly every reception by Davis came from within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. Davis did not receive a target until late in the first quarter when showed his physicality with a big stiff arm at the tail end of a third-down reception to help pick up a few extra yards for the first down. The final drive of the game would be his most productive as Davis sprinted across the field to get open on a crossing route near the start of the drive, hauling in a 13-yard reception to move the chains. Later in the drive, Davis caught a screen pass and weaved his way upfield showing great acceleration and power as he broke two tackles on his way to an 18-yard gain before brought down. Davis did cough up the ball at the end of the run, but it was batted out of bounds.

WR Taywan Taylor, 24 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 32 - 1 (4 targets)
Taywan Taylor saw two of his three receptions come on the second drive of the game, with his best being a touchdown reception to cap off the drive. Taylor did it all with individual effort on what looked like a busted screen pass, but he made a nice spin move before fighting his way through tacklers all the way into the end zone for his first touchdown of the season. Taylor would see another short pass before halftime and was not targeted at all during the second half of the game.

WR Rishard Matthews, 28 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 8 - 0 (4 targets)
Rishard Matthews was back on the field for more snaps this week, but he hauled in only two of four targets for eight yards. With the backup quarterback and a banged-up offensive line, Matthews was basically not a factor in this game.

WR Tajae Sharpe, 28 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 14 - 0 (2 targets)
Tajae Sharpeís only reception came in a pivotal spot on third down in the fourth quarter. Sharpe was very well covered on the route, but he hauled in the catch in full stride while diving to the ground. He could have bobbled it slightly, but it was ruled a completion for 14 yards nonetheless.

TE Jonnu Smith, 59 offensive snaps
Jonnu Smith was expected to take a step forward this week with the absence of Delanie Walker, but he was not involved in the Titans offense at all this week with zero targets. While part of this can be attributed to the lack of a passing offense overall with Blaine Gabbert under center, it was disappointing for Smith to see fellow tight end Luke Stocker see more targets (2) while Smith was not used at all despite running a few routes.