Upon Further Review: TEN@HOU

A little later than I would have liked, but the PBP breakdown is done. I hope to add a passing chart Sunday morning.

T32 1 10 Trips Right Pass 1 Young Scramble
Play-action to Henry followed by a bootleg. Mario Williams gets past Hartsock on the contain, and Greenwood and Orr were also in pursuit. Because Williams beat Hartsock, VY never had time to get his feet set, and the play was strung outside. Can’t tell from the TV coverage if there was someone open downfield.
T33 2 9 3-WR, Slot Strong Pass Inc Young Out & Up
Kind of a weird motion here, almost like a rollout into the pocket, followed by a scramble left. Bennett started out left, ran an out and up. He was open, but VY had to buy time to set and throw. Pass isn’t thrown in stride, Bennett has to stop, but it hits him in the chest 51 yards downfield and he drops it. Slight demerit to VY, BIG demerit to Bennett.
T33 3 9 Shotgun Split Backs, 3-WR Pass 6 Scaife Dumpoff
Scaife lines up in the backfield, unusual to see, and VY dumps it off to him. Henry on the left side might have been a better place to throw the ball than Scaife. Texans converge and stop Scaife short of the first down. (CA)
Drive Notes: The drop by Bennett is a big play. Maybe if they get this and get on the board, this game turns into a different sort of contest. Not being able to see what happened downfield, it’s impossible to evaluate the third down play. NFL, please start selling all-22 footage. I don’t care if I have to wait to the offseason and it costs $20/game.
T22 1 10 Standard 2-TE Run 8 Henry Off Tackle
T22 1 10 Penalty 5 HST-90-M.Williams Offside
Williams lined up in the neutral zone, which is just an incredibly stupid penalty. You’re a DE, look down the line and line up behind the ball. But noo, his hand is behind where the ball is. Titans fooled both me and the Texans on this play-they brought Brandon Jones in motion and they normally run right behind him and Stewart. But they gave it to Henry left tackle and he got a good 8-yard gain. Scaife was able to occupy Mario Williams. Fisher accepts the penalty, which is probably the same thing I would have done.
T27 1 5 3-WR, Slot Strong Run 7 Henry Iso
Pacman in the slot, same as where he’s been before. They fake the end around to him and run Henry up the gut. Bell and Olson do a good job of sealing the middle and Mawae does a number on MLB Ryans. Good power running to take advantage of the misdirection.
T34 1 10 Weak I Pass 25-Fumble Hall Screen
Hall’s job is to chip DE Babin, then take the delayed screen. Pass is maybe a little early, Babin almost makes the tackle. Hall is able to escape and get good yardage downfield. Roos and Mawae both have good blocks downfield. But, Greenwood is able to come up on Hall from behind and knock the ball out. Texans recover, and what was a promising gain is now a change of possession.
Drive Notes: Ball security is something you always worry about with players that don’t run the ball very often. Hall seemed to have fairly decent technique, but he has to be alert to the possibility of a hand coming in. Greenwood made a good play, don’t get me wrong, but you’d like to think good plays don’t always result in turnovers.
T31 1 10 Base I Run 1 Henry Iso
Iso is sort of my default name for running plays between the tackles. This run by Henry goes right at Left Tackle. Texans bring an 8th into the box late, and that 8th, SS Glenn Earl, fills the hole to stop Henry for no gain.
T32 2 9 Standard 2-TE Run 9 Henry Off Tackle
There’s a gargantuan hole here as Olson, Stewart, Bennett, and the TE (Scaife, I think) all nail their blocks. Henry’s through to the second level untouched. This is a place you and I could get 5-6 yards on.
T41 1 10 Standard 2-TE Pass 2 Scaife Waggle(?)
I don’t understand why this is isn’t illegal formation, as Bennett appeared to be covering Scaife on the left side. This is probably supposed to be a waggle play, with VY on the bootleg, but Orr’s blitz forces an early throw to the short outlet Scaife. S Brown makes a good play to come up in coverage and tackle Scaife after only about 3 yards. (CA)
T43 2 8 2-TE Strong Run 6 Henry Iso
T43 2 8 Penalty -10 Stewart Illegal Use of Hands
Good blocking up the middle, except that Stewart got his hands up on Ryans for the penalty. Telling point: Cramer is left one-on-one on Williams. If Williams beats him, he’s shoved back into the hole and Henry doesn’t get anything. But, Cramer does a good job on him and Henry picks up 6 yards.
T39 2 12 4-WR Pass 10 Wade Smoke(?)
Titans come up in a really wide 4-WR set, trying to spread out the Texans D. Texans come up with zone blitz, dropping Williams into coverage and bringing an LB and a safety. But the quick pass to Wade goes to the other side and he’s able to get almost 15 YAC and turn 2 and long into 3rd and short. (CA)
T49 3 2 Strong I, 2-TE Pass(?) 24 Young Flea-Flicker(?)
I think this was supposed to be a flea-flicker. Handoff was to Henry, toss back to VY. But the Texans are able to come up in good pursuit, and VY has to run around to make a play. Which, y’know, is what VY is good at and teams try to prevent him from doing. Kudos to VY for stepping out of bounds rather thank taking a stupid hit.
H27 1 10 Trips Right Run 2 Henry Iso
I hate this playcall. If you want to run up the middle and show a passing formation, set it up so that the defenders looking pass won’t be able to flow quickly to the hole. Texans LB all read and react to the running play, don’t bother playing trips.
H25 2 8 Trips Right Pass 2 Cramer Flat
Yep, same formation two plays in a row. Cramer runs a pretty simple flat route. The key to YAC on this play is for the WR to serve as a screen, but Robinson is able to release off Jones and Cramer gets maybe half a yard after he makes the catch. (CA)
H23 3 6 Base I Pass Inc Bennett Stop Route
Pretty vanilla formation for 3rd and long. The play is a simple timing route, Bennett is supposed to run a stop 15 yards downfield. Then, he’s supposed to catch the ball as it hits him in the chest. Pass wasn’t quite in the chest, but it was catchable. (DO)
Drive Notes: Missed block + drop = FG try, which Bironas makes for a 3-0 lead. Still, these last two plays are an example of Titan WR failures. The only WR with a particularly noteworthy positive play on the drive is Wade, who is productive in space. Only in space, but that’s at least something.
T20 1 10 Standard 2-TE Pass 29 Bennett Deep Out
Texans bring 6, but the Titans pick it up with 6. VY has time to throw and steps up to make a good throw on a deep out to Bennett. There wasn’t much of a window to put this ball in where Robinson can’t make a play on it, and VY found it. Plus, Bennett caught it. (DO)
T49 1 10 Shotgun Strong Pass Inc Jones Post
T49 1 10 Penalty 34 HST-30-J.Simmons Pass Interference
Rollout, giving VY time to set his feet and fire the ball down the field. It’s a pretty good throw, I think, Jones had a good chance to catch it, but he bumps into Simmons. Simmons isn’t looking back for the ball, but Jones is. I’d guess that’s why DPI gets called. This was a late flag, but Simmons did give him a little arm bar. Cheap call, but not totally phantom.
H17 1 10 I-Formation, 2-WR Weak Run(?) 1 Pacman Jones Scramble(?)
Pacman lines up as the I-back(!) and takes a pitch. Roby fakes the reverse. Pacman looks like he may want to throw Bennett downfield, but the Texans have this one well-covered, at least on Pacman. He reverses field and eventually runs about 30 yards to pick up 1.
H16 2 9 Standard 2-TE Run 2 Brown Iso
Let’s put Chris Brown on a power run up the middle. Then, after he doesn’t do anything because that’s what he sucks at, we can put him back on the bench when White is healthy! Mario Williams gets a token tackle after releasing off Roos’s block.
H14 3 7 Shotgun Trips Right Pass Inc Jones Out
Jones runs a basic 10 yard out out of the trips, and Faggins makes a good play in pass defense to jump the route and bat the ball away. Maybe this throw is fodder for those who argue Young doesn’t have a gun, but I think this happens to any QB.
Drive Notes: This drive is a good example of why Football Outsiders writes that you pass to take the lead. 2 big pass plays, the one to Bennett and the DPI on the ball to Jones, and the Titans have 61 of their 66 yards on the drive. Anyway, Bironas hits the FG and the Titans are up 6-0.
T30 1 10 Standard 2-TE Run -2 Henry Counter
Looks like another off tackle right play, but instead it’s a counter. Mario Williams loses contain, but Robinson comes up and makes a good tackle.
T28 2 12 4-WR Pass Inc Henry Screen
Titans come up with a great playcall, spread ’em out wide like on the pass to Wade earlier and hit them with the screen to Henry. This play looked like a sure first down, but VY puts it too far for Henry. (IN)
T28 3 12 Shotgun Strong Pass 8 Young Scramble
Texans only rush 2, leaving nobody open downfield. VY takes off and tries to get the first down, but Simmons has good position and tackles him well short of the first down.
Drive Notes: 2 rushers. 2! I can’t get over that. Texans D made some good plays here, and the miss on the screen really hurts
T31 1 10 3-WR, Slot Weak Pass Inc Scaife Quick Out
Scaife runs a little out from his TE position, but VY’s throw is a little high and Bo can’t come down with the ball. Ball is still catchable, but (IN) grade is deserving to reflect VY’s overall pass performance.
T31 2 10 Shotgun 4-WR Pass 4 Bennett Quick Out
Same spread the field formation, but a different play this time. Bennett runs a quick out from the slot while Roby runs a slant. Designed to create some possible confusion, it does nothing of the sort and Bennett is tackled by Robinson, who stayed outside, for no YAC.
T35 3 6 Shotgun Pass Inc Bennett In
T35 3 6 Penalty 5 HST-23-D.Robinson Def. Holding
Bennett runs a 15 yard in from the slot, Faggins makes a play to break up the ball. Pass may have been a little behind. Faggins may have committed pass interference. The call on Robinson is weird, because you see a flag thrown as Faggins goes up and makes the play on the ball. I don’t see Robinson, so I can’t tell if he did anything or not. Call may be on Faggins for D-holding, as he may have had a grab on Bennett as he tried to make his break before Young threw the ball.
T40 1 10 Weak I Run -1 Henry Iso
Henry with the quite cleaver “fall down” technique. Looks like a move left tackle, followed by a cut off right tackle. Too bad, as Hall had contain on Williams off right.
T39 2 11 Base I Pass 15 Bennett In(?)
VY with time to throw and scrambles forward, finds Bennett open 15 yards down the middle of the field.
H46 1 10 Weak I Run 5 Henry Iso
Nice hole on the left side. Henry runs into Bell, who is blocking Ryans, and falls down more than he’s actually tackled by the Texans, else this play gets a couple more yards.
H41 2 5 3-WR, Slot Strong Pass -9 Young Sack
Titans burn a TO, called from the sidelines, to avoid another illegal formation penalty, as a WR is not on the line AGAIN (couldn’t tell who-Roby?). Titans have the play blocked, but Peek stunts and Bell can’t keep inside contain. Sure, maybe VY should have gotten rid of the ball. But without the blown protection, he has more time to buy a play. I can’t blame him for this one.
50 3 14 Shotgun Pass 6 Young Scramble
VY on the rollout, doesn’t see anybody open, picks up a couple yards rather than take a risk. My guess is Fisher told him not to make a mistake here, and he didn’t.
Drive Notes: You like to get points when you can, and VY has been effective in the 2-minute drill this season. But, down 7-6, Fisher didn’t want to lose the game in the first half. If Bell doesn’t blow his block, maybe this drive results in a score. And if my aunt had balls, she’d be my uncle.
T31 1 10 Base I Pass 11 Bennett Out
Texans blitz but stunt, Titans pick up the rushers. Bennett runs a 9 yard out, and VY hits him. (CA)
T42 1 10 Weak I Pass 18 Jones Curl
VY stands tall in the pocket and hits Jones 15 yards downfield on a comeback for a nice gain. (CA)
H40 1 10 4-WR Pass 9 Hartsock Curl
Titans really spread the field with 5 pass catchers. Texans bring 6, 6>5, but VY gets a quick throw off to Hartsock, who picks up a couple YAC. Ideally, you’d like to see the ball thrown to somebody more, ah, mobile than Hartsock, but between throwing the ball and picking up some yards, and eating the ball on a sack, no reason to complain too loudly.
H31 2 1 Base I Run -1 Hall FB Blast
Supposed to be a quick hitter left to Hall, but a Texans DT, probably Dalton, pushed Bell back, Hall ran into him, and 2&1 becomes 3&2.
H32 3 2 I-Formation, 2-TE Strong Run 14 Henry Iso
H32 3 2 Penalty -5 Stewart/ Illegal Formation
Henry up the middle for a couple yards, then runs through a couple arm tackles and bounces out for an extra dozen yards. The Illegal Formation came because the refs are BLIND. Hartsock was covering Stewart, which is perfectly legal. Only possible explanation is they called #76 instead of #71 by mistake, but Bennett wasn’t lined up far enough for that to get called most times. This looks an awful lot like the refs costing the Titans points.
H37 3 7 Strong I Pass Inc Roby Post
Texans blitz with S Earl, but Henry gets a block. VY finds Roby 30 yards downfield, but Faggins makes a good play on the ball. Faggins gets away with a hand check-type move, but nothing serious. A perfect throw probably results in a TD. (CA)
Drive Notes: Pass, pass, pass the ball down the field. The penalty hurt, but I have to give the Texans some credit, as they made the plays on both 2&1 and 3&7. You’d like to score points any drive, but this is more important because the Texans had just taken a 14-6 lead.
T37 1 10 Base I Run 3 Henry Iso
Anthony Weaver mucked up this run, and Bell didn’t get a good seal either. Not a bad run, just not great.
T40 2 7 Weak I Pass 39 Bennett Flag
NFL truism: “Good coverage doesn’t beat better throws.” Great pocket, VY has time to survey the field and flings the ball 35 yards downfield to Bennett. Robinson was right with him, no separation at all, but the throw went over the top and Bennett snagged it for a big gain. (DO)
H21 1 10 4-WR Pass 6 Henry Checkdown
Titans spread them out again, but this time with Henry in the backfield instead of a TE on the line. Texans only rush 4, VY takes a checkdown for a decent gain on first down. (CA)
H15 2 4 Standard 2-TE Run 6 Henry Stretch
This wasn’t exactly how you draw a stretch play up, but Henry finds a lane and picks up the first down. Roydell Williams was the WR playside, and he ran up to block the second level rather than just blocking the CB. From the way he did it, it was probably his assignment, but I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not.
H9 1 9 Base I Run 9-TD Henry Iso
It’s so nice to see another team’s defensive players blow contain. Henry’s run is supposed to be at left tackle, but Faggins loses outside contain badly.
Drive Notes: Big pass play to move the ball downfield, good power running in the Red Zone. It’s easy to be happy with this drive. Titans down 14-13 after Fisher kicks the PAT. According to William Krasker’s calculations, it makes sense to go for 2 down 2 with 17 minutes to play even if your confidence in converting is as low as ~23%. In other words, this decision was DUMB. I’m normally a big proponent of not going for it before the 4th quarter, but it made a lot of sense to go for 2 there. Why I hate NFL passer rating, in a nutshell: 13/19, 176, 0/0 = 97.7, 11/13, 95, 0/0=97.1. An extra 2 YPA is apparently worth 0.6 points. Yippee!
T24 1 10 Standard 2-TE Run 7 Henry Iso
At right tackle. Henry cuts it back inside and picks up a few yards.
T31 2 3 Base I Pass Inc Hall Screen
Nice fake of a stretch playing to set up a throwback screen. Hall stumbled try to get into position and didn’t seem to be able to recover. Ball was there, he just didn’t catch it. (CA, DO)
T31 3 3 3-WR, Slot Strong Pass INT Bennett In
Another slip play, as VY takes a tumble while he’s rolling. Brown is coming after him on the blitz, and he tries to get off a throw to Bennett. The throw is a little too far inside, and Faggins makes a better play on it than Bennett does. (IN)
Drive Notes: Sometimes you just need to take the sack. Just a bad throw to make.
T12 1 10 Base I Run 1 Henry Iso
Generic I-form run.
T13 2 9 Shotgun 4-WR Run 7 Henry Draw
Spread ’em out, suck ’em upfield, and hit them with the draw. Criqui calls it an “interesting playcall,” but this is just spread ’em out and smack ’em.
T20 3 2 Weak I, 2-TE Run 3 Young QB Sweep
Designed run for VY, or VY just took it and ran with it. Kind of like a Tebow-style power run behind the FB and RB. If Travis Henry was a capable FB, this play could have gotten more yardage.
T23 1 10 Base I Pass 3 Hall Dumpoff
VY doesn’t seem to see anything he likes deep, so he moves up in the pocket and dumps it off to Hall. Throw is pretty high, and Hall has to make a good catch to snag it. The grading scale is harder on throws 2 yards downfield-if he puts in a better place, maybe Hall can break the tackle and pick up more YAC. (IN)
T26 2 7 2-TE Run 8 Henry Iso_
Basic power run. The whole right side just creates a lane and Henry runs through a couple arm tackles to pick up the first down.
T34 1 10 Weak I Pass 15 Bennett Curl
VY hits Bennett on a comeback with a nice throw. (CA)
T49 1 10 Trips Right Pass Inc Hartsock Post
Hartsock comes out of trips and runs an 8 yard post. VY is looking right, throws to Hartsock as his second option. Dangerous throw, and LB Anderson bats the ball in the air where it thankfully falls harmlessly to the ground. Cramer, the first option, would have been a safer throw.
T49 2 10 4-WR Pass 1 Henry Screen
I think this was supposed to be a screen, but the play wasn’t set up very well. Ryans(?) was spying Henry, and he almost had Travis tackled for about a 5 yard loss. He at least slowed him up enough for the backside pursuit (Jason Babin sighting!) to stop Henry for little gain.
50 3 9 Base Shotgun Pass 15 Jones Out
This play was too easy. Wynn plays off Jones covering deep, and VY hits him on the out. Titans brought 5, but 7 stayed in to protect. Nice grab by Jones on a high throw. (CA)
H35 1 10 Standard 2-TE Run 21 Brown Stretch
Hmm, Brown isn’t a great power runner but has pretty good speed. Hmm, maybe we should run him outside for a change? Hartsock has a seal, Stewart’s at the second level, Brown gets to just run past people, and it’s a big gainer.
H14 1 10 Strong I Pass -9 Young Sack
Kalu just stays at home on the playfake and when VY boots back to his side, Kalu is right there. Thankfully, VY doesn’t do anything stupid with the football.
H23 2 19 Weak I Run 15 Henry Iso
Football can be a simple game. Glenn Earl is in the hole for the Texans, and he doesn’t tackle Henry, turning a 3 yard gain into 15.
H8 3 4 Shotgun Split Backs Pass 5 Young Scramble
Simple math: Texans bring 7 guys from the inside, Titans have 6 blockers, VY runs outside. Outside contain: it’s just a myth!
H3 1 G Standard 2-TE Run 1 Henry Iso
“Slant Power Run Left” if you prefer Criqui’s description. Iso is a generic run between the tackles. Dalton made this play by getting backfield penetration to slow Henry.
H2 2 G Weak I Run 2-TD Henry Iso
Ryans(?) misreads the whole a little, can’t get to fill the whole in time. Mawae with a good block on Dalton.
Drive Notes: (i) Please stop having 15 play drives. I just HATE to do UFR on them. (ii) It’s easier to accept when you score a TD to go up 20-17. Aside from that, not much to complain about this drive. Good mix of run and pass, three third down plays but two of them were short (4, 2).
T40 1 10 Weak I Run 1 Henry Stretch
It amuses me that Hall moves weakside to block Mario Williams on his own. Texans D was slanted playside and filled the gaps well, leaving Henry without much running room.
T41 2 9 I-Formation Pass Inc Brown Dumpoff
Weaver beats Stewart and gets to VY while he was throwing. Ball comes out like a wounded duck, else Brown may have been able to pick up a few yards. (PR)
T41 3 9 Base Shotgun Pass 7 Wade In
A quick 7 yard in, with the hope of beating the man in coverage. Except when the opposing team drops 9, as the Texans did, they’re able to cover people and quickly converge. (CA)
Drive Notes: Jeff Fisher apparently liked the strategy he employed against the Colts in the endgame so much he decided to use it again. I guess somebody forgot to tell him Peyton Manning’s not playing for the Texans, and Carr’s not exactly Peyton Manning. AKA yes, I thought Fisher was way too conservative here.
T43 1 10 Standard 2-TE Run 1 Henry Stretch
8 in the box = running lanes outside. If your back is quick enough to get there. Which Henry isn’t. Ryans is the one guy playing a couple yards off the line of scrimmage, and he gets to the hole before Henry does.
T44 2 9 Weak I Pass Inc Bennett Post-Corner
T44 2 9 Penalty 5 HST-26-G.Earl Def. Holding
Bennett is ahead of Robinson on a double-move, so he grabs onto his jersey. Penalty is on Robinson, not Earl. Pass doesn’t look that great, but if Bennett doesn’t get held, he has a good shot of getting there. (CA)
T49 1 10 Weak I Run 16 Brown Iso
This is the kind of run I hate to see Brown on. But Earl comes from the outside on a safety blitz, and takes himself out of the play. Nice of him to do that for his high school teammate (Naperville (IL) North), but a dumb football move. Brown takes advantage of not being touched and runs for good yardage.
H35 1 10 2-TE Strong Run 4 Brown Off Tackle
H35 1 10 Penalty -10 Cramer Holding
H35 1 10 Penalty Decl. Roby Holding
Maybe I should call this an Iso, but Brown is able to get a quick bounce to the outside. This is where he should be most productive, and where I like him best, but his indecisiveness shows up. Rather than run for the corner, he looks up, runs more straight upfield, and gets tackled for only 4 or so.
H45 1 20 Weak I Run 5 Brown Iso
Same sort of play as the previous one. Again, Brown doesn’t show the burst through to the outside but instead turns it up the field and only picks up 5. This actually gets into Mike Tanier’s great column on RB yard distribution. The difference between Henry and Brown is in part because Henry gets lots more 10+ gains. Brown’s actions the last two plays help demonstrate just why that is.
H40 2 15 Weak I, 2-TE Pass 1 Hall Flat
I don’t understand what this play was supposed to do. Texans had a blitz on, which probably disrupted it. VY looked at Hall, though twice, then dumped it off to Hall. Wynn did a good job to wrap him up for no extra yardage.
H39 3 14 Base Shotgun Pass 39-TD Young Scramble
Stop Me Before I Blitz Again! Texans bring 6, plus Ryans on a delay, while the Titans only have 6 back. Ryans fill a lane, but not the one created by Brown taking out blitzing LB Greenwood, VY takes off, Roby with a good block downfield, TD, game over, Titans win.
Drive Notes: Uh, good players can make up for a lot of errors.

Passing chart and WR breakdown likely to come.


2 thoughts on “Upon Further Review: TEN@HOU

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