The Houston Texans have stayed competitive against the New York Giants through two quarters, which is an expected development given the teams’ drastically different records. New York has seen their stock soar under first-year head coach Brian Daboll, and Houston will be hard-pressed to keep this game close while they focus their efforts on playing fundamentally sound football in the second half.
While the Texans aren’t likely to get their second win of the 2022 season in the second half of this matchup, valuable experience gained against a competent opponent could set them up for continued improvement in the weeks to come.
Here are our biggest takeaways from the Week 10 matchup:
Dameon Pierce kept at bay in first quarter, explodes in second
The Texans’ outstanding rookie running back was bottled up in the first quarter of this matchup and was held to -1 yards on three rushing attempts. Meanwhile, quarterback Davis Mills racked up a measly two completions on five attempts in that timeframe, which was good for an uninspiring 10 yards.
Things would take a turn in the second quarter, however, as Pierce would explode for 60 yards on his next four attempts to help the Texans claw back for their first points of the game on a field goal.
With an offense as anemic as Houston’s has been so far in this one, any team would struggle to win. The Texans will need to figure out a solution for what the Giants are showing them defensively, or keep giving their leading rusher chances to make an impact before the final whistle blows in the fourth quarter.
Texans defense putting together an admirable performance
While their offense has struggled, the Texans’ defense has put up a rock-solid effort against the Giants, even if Houston is trailing at halftime. Containing Saquon Barkley is no easy task, and to their credit, holding him to 75 yards on 17 rushes to this point should be considered a win for the unit.
New York’s passing attack is still developing at this point in 2022 and should be less of a concern in the second half. Quarterback Daniel Jones was held under 100 passing yards through two quarters, and is struggling to find receivers downfield.
If the Texans can continue limiting the damage Barkley is able to inflict on the ground, they should be able to keep themselves within striking distance of the lead, assuming that their offense is able to get into gear in the last 30 minutes of game-time.
Texans played disciplined through most of the first half
Penalties weren’t an issue for the Texans until late in the second quarter when the floodgates opened for two calls against the team.
Their first infraction occurred on New York’s penultimate possession of the half when an untimely holding call against Houston’s defense gave the Giants a chance to keep possession near their endzone. The second came on a brutal false start by Laremy Tunsil that stalled the Texans’ offense with a chance to score just before the halftime whistle.
Usually, two penalties in a half would be considered a success for a team that has struggled the way that Houston has in 2022, but these two unforced errors came to define their effort so far. The Texans cannot afford to let sloppy play be the difference between a win and a loss in the second half.