Upon Further Review: Texans Week 16

December, 23, 2013
12/23/13
9:00
AM ET
Four hot issues from the Houston Texans' 37-13 loss to the Denver Broncos:

Johnson's day: Andre Johnson became only the second player in NFL history to have five seasons with at least 100 catches (matching Broncos receiver Wes Welker). He came into Sunday's game with 99 catches. Because of a combination of missteps by both he and quarterback Matt Schaub, Johnson caught only four passes on his 13 targets. Last week, Johnson had just four catches on 10 targets. One of his targets against the Broncos was a play that should have ended in a touchdown. Schaub threw what appeared to be a perfectly placed pass that Johnson dropped. He said it was a play he should have made, but added that the ball came quickly and the sun in his eyes (through the rare open roof) didn't make it easier. Johnson said Schaub told him after the play that he had thrown it a little bit early. What took the edge off for both of them was that Schaub threw a touchdown pass to Keshawn Martin right after that. "Keshawn bailed me out," Johnson said.

[+] EnlargeHouston's Andre Johnson
AP Photo/Patric SchneiderAndre Johnson was targeted 13 times, but had just 4 catches for 63 yards.
Bullock continues redemptive streak: Neither the Texans nor kicker Randy Bullock gave up on the belief that he would eventually figure things out after a rough start to the season. On Sunday, Bullock made two, giving him 11 straight made field goals -- the sixth-longest such streak in franchise history.

Four-man front designed to force the pass: Sometimes the talk of the Texans' coaching search gets bogged down in the details of whether the next coach will change the defense. I don't think a schematic change would be all that difficult for the Texans as interim head coach/defensive coordinator Wade Phillips' defense is much more of a hybrid than a pure 3-4. Sunday's game was a good example of that. "We played a bigger group against them because we didn't want them to run the football, which they didn't really run the football," Phillips said. "We wanted to force them to throw the ball and obviously they did that. You really have to get them into third downs. I thought we played really well on third down." The Broncos only converted 2 of 11 third downs. And before you scoff at the idea of forcing the Broncos to throw, remember that it worked for a lot of the game. Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning's brilliant fourth quarter had the help of some very favorable field position.

Frustrating, disappointing, forgettable: Frustrating might be the most-used word in the Texans' locker room this season. Defensive end J.J. Watt used it Sunday. "It’s been frustrating. It has been disappointing to say the least and it has been very forgettable. It is something that we never want to happen again, that is for sure."

Tania Ganguli

ESPN Houston Texans reporter

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