Texans aren’t blaming late roster changes due to COVID-19 for loss to the Bengals

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Mark Lane
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The Houston Texans had to place two starters on COVID-19 reserve within 48 hours of kickoff against the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday afternoon at NRG Stadium.

However, don’t expect interim coach Romeo Crennel to blame the loss of outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus and safety Eric Murray for the club’s 37-31 loss in Week 16.

“Any time you lose a starter at this point, at the point in the game where we lost him, that’s difficult because you’ve got to figure out who goes to replace him and all of those kind of things, and so you have to move pieces around,” Crennel said. “Then the guys who had to wait on contact tracing, I think that that impacted their mentality to a degree but they still got there and lined up and tried to play the game.”

Watt pointed out that every team in the NFL is working through challenges, including the Bengals, who started backup Brandon Allen at quarterback and backup Samaje Perine at running back.

“Cleveland played with no receivers today,” Watt said of the Browns’ concurrent contest with the New York Jets. “Every team in the league is dealing with things. So, we can sit here and make excuses and say why we’re not playing a certain way and why we’re not doing this and why we’re not doing that. The fact of the matter is every single team is dealing with that. So, you’ve got to find a way, and we didn’t. We haven’t.”

The Texans defense gave up 540 yards total offense to the Bengals. Allen was not sacked once and tallied 371 passing yards and two touchdowns.

Would Mercilus and Murray have made that much of a difference? Probably not, because the Texans’ problems in 2020 have extended far beyond the availability of their starters.