Houston Texans vs Cardinals: 2017 Week 11: Three things to watch

HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 03: Andre Johnson
HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 03: Andre Johnson /

The burning, searing pain of what we’re calling the 2017 Houston Texans season is almost over.  But here are three things to keep eyes peeled for as team takes on the Arizona Cardinals Sunday.

The Houston Texans were just plain awful this past Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams.  The team look like a beat-up jalopy trotting up and down the field with enough guff to get themselves in the end zone just once to avoid the embarrassment of getting blanked.  They, of course, ended up falling to the Rams 33-7.

Well enough about that debacle of a game last week and let’s talk about what’s in front of us.  We do have a game to play Sunday and despite all what has been said, we do have a chance in beating the 4-5 Arizona Cardinals, a team in a similar predicament as the Houston Texans.

Sunday, Nov. 19th will mark the date of Homecoming — Andre Johnson will be honored as the first inductee of the Houston Texans Ring of Honor and the City of Houston has made an official declaration with the same date being referred to as “Andre Johnson Day.”

So if you’re down in the doldrums about our current team, your spirits should be uplifted knowing that one of the greatest wide receivers ever is about to be honored by the franchise he was quite loyal to.

But let’s get to it.  Here are THREE things to watch as both teams take the field:

1.)  I want to see the Tom Savage of 2016

I don’t like this Tom Savage ya’ll.  He’s cautious, gun-shy and doesn’t seem to have any sign of him trending upward to help this team win games for the remainder of the season.  As long as he’s at quarterback, I’m not sure if we will be able to win any additional games.

The illustrate how bad he was, he was 18-for-36, passing for 221 yards, with one touchdown and two interception and a 55.4 quarterback rating to boot.  He was getting rid of the ball quicker — waiting an average of 2.4 seconds to throw versus 2.7 seconds the week previous against the Indianapolis Colts — but there was nothing that came good out of that.  That’s a mere 3/10ths of second faster.  The team was still inconsistent on offense and mistakes ensued.

He faced tremendous pressure and was 5-for-14 when under it.  He only yielded 64 yards and took three sacks in that scenario out of 18 total drop backs. But the good news is that he was 13-for-22 with a clean pocket with 22 drop backs.

Despite all of this, I want to see the Savage that was resurrected off the bench for Brock Osweiler back late last season to rally this team to come back from 13-0 and beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 21-20.  He was 23-for-36 with 260 yards passing with no interceptions.  He didn’t even have to throw a touchdown to help the team win.  Maybe it’s wishful thinking but I do think he’s got it in him to make something of this season.

2.)  How wicked will the Houston Texans pass rush will be?

The biggest chunk of our pass rush has been shelved for the season in J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus.  However, guys like Jadeveon Clowney, D.J. Reader, Carlos Watkins and Lamaar Houston are all on the front line.  I’d like see a lot of that Sunday.  Blaine Gabbert will be starting at

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QB because of the injuries to Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton plus their offensive line is just as bad as ours.

Alex Boone, Earl Watford, John Wetzel and Jared Veldheer aren’t guys that scare all that much so they should be able to get reasonable pressure on both sides of the line to make Sunday quite comfortable for Gabbert.  It’s just tough that Christian Covington won’t able to help out with this as he’s out for the season as well.

The Houston Texans have 12 takeaways on the season thus far, outpacing the 17 they had through all of 2016.  The potential is there — let’s go out and get it!

3.) Has anybody seen Kyle Fuller?

Apparently we have another offensive lineman that’s on the roster but is rarely active from game-to-game.  Yes, I’m talking about Kyle Fuller our 7th round pick from this season out of Baylor U.  Other than some extensive action as a blocking tight end back in Week 2 against the Cincinnati Bengals, he’s had largely milk-carton status.

I know there’s little to expect out of such a late pick but we do need all the help we can get on the line.  Is he that bad to where doesn’t get the active nod week-in and out?  Possibly so and although he mostly experienced at center, he does have work at guard in the bag in his collegiate days.  I’m not proposing we start him but let this guy grab some snaps in real-game action and see if he’s worth keeping around.

Next: Why the Texans must sign Robert Griffin III now

And there are my three things to see.  I’m sure you may agree/disagree on many of these notions but we know that tomorrow there will be a game and No. 80 will be retired forever.  To be honest, that’s enough for me.  Let’s just try to enjoy the game for what it is and get a win!

Go Texans.