Texans lose in Watson’s return despite not allowing offensive touchdown

By Tyler Tyre, Sports Editor
Posted 12/4/22

“Eventually we have to have some production on offense,” Smith said. “You have to score points. We were good defensively, but you have to take advantage of that offensively. We got in the redzone and had opportunities but we have to convert on those.”

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Texans lose in Watson’s return despite not allowing offensive touchdown


The Texans defense stepped up on Sunday.

Houston’s defense did everything it could to try and get the team a win in Deshaun Watsons’ return game to NRG, forcing two turnovers and limiting the Browns offense every time they touched it throughout the game.

But for as good as the Texans defense was, the teams offense was equally as bad, and it ended with the Texans falling to the Browns 27-14, as the Browns handed the Texans their seventh straight loss.

The Browns did it all without scoring one offensive touchdown, as they scored two defensive touchdowns and a special teams touchdown on the way to a victory where the Texans defense was severely let down by the teams other units.

“The story of the game was the turnover ratio,” said Texans head coach Lovie Smith. “When you talk about non offensive touchdowns and they have three of them and two of them because of our turnovers, we have to protect the ball better. We had opportunities in the redzone and weren’t able to cash in. Dameon Pierce played well, but we didn’t do anything in the passing game. We have to do a better job as coaches because offensively, you can’t win a game playing like that.”

The first half was a struggle between two stagnant and struggling offenses.

Kyle Allen threw an interception on the Texans first play from scrimmage, a ball that could have been caught but bounced in the air off a receivers hands. But the Texans defense didn’t allow anything out of it.

But the Texans stepped up to force a three and out, and on the Browns next offensive possession, the Texans forced a fumble that immediately put the Houston offense in field goal range. The Texans offense put together a ten-play drive after that but was forced to settle for a 44-yard field goal as Houston took the lead.

The Texans defense continued their strong play after that, forcing another turnover on the browns next drive, as Jalen Pitre intercepted a pass in the endzone, and the Texans offense took the ball all the way down to the Browns 1-yard line but ultimately turning the ball over on downs without Dameon Pierce getting a touch at the goal-line.

The Texans defense though, added to the lead on the next drive by forcing a safety on a Nick Chubb run.

But the Texans offense continued to do nothing, punting on both of their next two possessions and the Browns took the lead when Donovan Poeples-Jones returned a punt 76-yards for a touchdown late in the second quarter, as the Browns led 7-5 at half.

“The defense played well tonight,” Smith said. ”Whenever you can keep an NFL offense out of the endzone for a full game, especially with the amount of firepower they have it’s a good performance. I like a lot of the things we did, taking the ball away and giving the offense second chances, but their defense outplayed even that today.”

The third quarter started the same way the first half went, with the Texans defense stepping up and the Texans offense trying to give the game away. After forcing he Browns to punt, the Texans offense took over at their own goal-line and Allen fumbled on a quarterback sneak, which Denzel Ward picked up and returned four yards for a touchdown as the Browns built a nine-point lead without the teams offense putting up a point.

“Eventually we have to have some production on offense,” Smith said. “You have to score points. We were good defensively, holding them and taking the ball away which is exactly what we’ve been stressing, to give the offense opportunities. But you have to take advantage of that offensively, we got in the redzone and had opportunities but we have to convert on those.”

The Texans trimmed things down to a seven-point deficit on their next drive with a 35-yard field goal but the Browns offense finally broke through with a score of their own on a 44-yard field goal to bring the lead back to nine midway through the fourth quarter.

And the Texans offense sealed things in the Browns favor on the next drive when Allen threw an interception which Tony Fields returned 16-yards for a touchdown to increase the Browns lead to three scores.

The Texans got a late score on a 6-yard pass from Allen to Nico Collins, but it wasn’t nearly enough as the Texans could not do anything with it after.

Houston ended the day without just the one touchdown and only 283 yards of total offense. Things will only get more difficult as they travel to play the Dallas Cowboys next week before the Kansas City Chiefs come to Houston in two weeks.

“We have to continue to play,” Smith said. “We’re going to highlight the good things we did defensively but continue to get better and then offensively and special teams wise, it’s not good enough and we have to raise our game. It’s really as simple as that, we understand what the record is. We lost the game today but those are the type of things we have to emphasize, each player has to look at how they played, it’s just putting that together and being better.”

NFL, sports, football, Houston Texans, Cleveland Browns


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