DeAndre Hopkins casts shadow over Texas after loss, PA Watson tries to explain the pitfalls of the pass game

The Houston Texans played their first game in eight years without DeAndre Hopkins on the roster, as the three-time All-Pro was dealt to the Arizona Cardinals in an offshoot deal that sent shocks around the league. Houston received David Johnson and a second-round pick in exchange for Hopkins. O’Brien has defended the Hopkins deal on several occasions, but the Texas fanbase has not lost sight of his coach. Johnson certainly attended Houston’s first game since the Hopkins trade, finishing with a total of 109 yards on his debut with Texas, but it was not enough to help his team win.

Houston’s game lasted overnight. Countryside Watson finished with just 253 passing yards (most of which came in garbage time), a touchdown and an interception. Overall, the Houston offense struggled to bring points on the board until the fourth quarter when the game was out of hand.

Hopkins did not hesitate to express his feelings after the 34–20 loss to the majors to Texas – a game that was not really close as a final sign. Hopkins has calmed down when asked about his former team and coach / GM who has traded him so far, but it does not appear that he is sad to get a new home in Arizona.

On the flip side, Johnson finished with 11 carries for 77 yards and missed three catches in 32 yards. Johnson averaged 7.0 yards per rushing attempt, which was his highest career average in a game and combined with Carlos Hyde and Lamar Miller as the only Texans rushing since 2016, scoring 100 total yards. And had one touchdown in a game.

Johnson’s 19 yards touchdown in the first quarter was his longest run since the 11th week of the 2018 season against the Runners and he recorded the longest rushing touchdown since the 10th week of the 2016 season against the 49ers.

Even though Johnson added a dynamic to the Texas offense, Texas struggled to field the ball as Watson averaged 7.9 yards per attempt. Without Hopkins on the field, it was clear that the Houston passing game was not functioning at the same level in 2019. Watson gave a simplified explanation for the team’s passing game.

“Once I took a shot,” Watson said after the game. “My elbow hit when I was trying to take a shot. They did a good job getting me back on those shots down the field.”

Despite struggling on offense, Will Fuller caught eight catches for 112 yards on the night. Fuller extended his streak to 43 consecutive games with receptions to start his career, the second-longest streak in franchise history and the fourth-longest reception streak in team history.

While Fuller played like the No. 1 wide receiver, Texas certainly missed Hopkins’ presence on the other side of the field. Randall Cobb did not get a goal until five minutes left in the game, the focal point of the modified offense of how Houston failed to spread the ball around.

Hopkins will get a chance to add insult to injury with a big game for Cardinal Sunday with his new team.