Wow, this is sort of a new feeling, isn’t it? Well, let’s enjoy and revel in it.
Bryce Young is nails
If you’ve really been paying attention at all this season, the fact that Young remained poised right in the face of pressure shouldn’t have come as a surprise. But now, it finally came in a victory.
The No. 1 overall pick, while going head to head against the No. 2 overall pick, looked like the No. 1 overall pick. Even despite the handful of drops from a range of different pass catchers as well as the six sacks allowed by his overwhelmed offensive line, Young stuck in until the very end.
Overall, Young completed 22 of his 35 attempts for 235 yards, a touchdown and no turnovers. But it was his final touch—a 15-play, 86-yard drive to set up the game-winning field goal—that really showed us what this organization has in its 22-year-old leader.
There may be an Ikem Ekwonu problem
A good amount, or too good of an amount, of those six sacks came off Young’s blindside. And Sunday, unfortunately, was a very low low in what’s been a troubling season for left tackle Ikem Ekwonu.
The only thing in Bank of America Stadium that might’ve been beaten harder this afternoon was the Keep Pounding drum, as the second-year hog molly did not hold up in pass protection. His efforts gave way to a monstrous performance from Texans defensive end Jonathan Greenard, who stacked up a game-high 2.5 sacks.
Ekwonu has had difficultly dealing with speed off the edge, which was also the case in what was a relatively solid rookie campaign. But those struggles are even more evident in what’s been a worrisome step back here in 2023.
Kudos to the defense
The Carolina coordinator who garnered most of the attention this week was Thomas Brown, who got his first crack at leading the play-calling duties. And he did alright, as the offense averaged 2.1 yards more per attempt than they did over the first six games.
But it was defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero who really shined from the sideline.
A pretty potent Houston offense was bested by Evero’s unit, which allowed just 229 yards of total offense. They limited C.J. Stroud to a season-low 140 passing yards, relinquished just 3.7 yards per rushing attempt and held the dynamic duo of Nico Collins and Tank Dell to a combined 46 receiving yards.
Leading the charge with his best game of the year was linebacker Frankie Luvu, who tallied a game-high 12 total tackles with a sack. Oh, and it was quite a day to have a day for Luvu, as his mother was in attendance to see her son on an NFL field for the first time in-person.
Evero, Luvu and the crew were quite impressive, especially considering the bevy of injuries they’re currently dealing with.