The wait is over, and the 2019 NFL season has officially begun. While fans and franchises alike may have been chomping at the bit, not everyone looked to be in midseason form.
Questions continued to hover over the Houston Texans and their offensive line during the offseason. Even after trading for Laremy Tunsil, experts should have diverted their concerns to several holes in Houston’s defense.
With the departures of both Tyrann Mathieu and Jadeveon Clowney, the Texans lost star power on two fronts, their pass rush and consistency in the secondary. With under a minute left in its Week One matchup with the New Orleans Saints, Deshaun Watson gave Houston the lead with a touchdown pass to Kenny Stills, who was also acquired in the trade with Miami.
That should have secured a victory, moving Houston to 1-0 on the season. However, New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees took the field for a perfect series. With no resistance from Houston’s defense, Brees positioned his kicker, Wil Lutz for a 58-yard, game-winning field goal.
A deflating, and certainly unavoidable, loss for the Houston Texans.
On other terms, since the 2000 season, teams with a plus-four advantage in turnovers were 177-6. After Week 1, while eyeing a 16-point lead, the Jets became the seventh team in NFL history to record a loss, despite identical circumstances.
Jets fans, however, have been all too familiar with such losses. It was the 19th time in franchise history that Gang Green has blown a lead of at least 15-0.The compilation of kicker Kaare Vedvik’s goose-egg on the box score, linebacker C.J. Mosely going down in the fourth and head coach Adam Gase’s refusal to open the offensive playbook contributed to their downfall.
In terms of other teams with game-changing injuries, Nick Foles’ $88 million due over the next four years has not started on the right foot.
The Jaguars were rightfully prepared to transition from Blake Bortles once they caught wind of Foles’ availability in free agency. Jacksonville has made leaps and bounds in the last several years, and the franchise seemed positive that they were a franchise quarterback away from Super Bowl contention – unfortunately, the team now finds itself in a similar position.
Foles suffered a broken left clavicle in the first quarter of Week One’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. The Jaguars are now expected to rely on the services of Gardner Minshew, despite trading for Pittsburgh’s Joshua Dobbs this week.
Fans were not exactly clamoring for a Bortles’ extension, but while moving on may have been the right decision, all parties will have to continue to speculate until Foles has surgery, recovers and can take the field again.
Until then, Jacksonville will stick to what they know – run the football until Leonard Fournette gives, ask too much of its defense and hope its division rivals struggle just enough to deliver hope of a playoff berth.
Anthony Talarico can be reached at email@example.com.Find him on Twitter @ant_tal.