• Brian L. Barefield

Bounce Back: Texans Look to Bounce Back From First Loss of the Season

Polly Campbell once wrote an article in Psychology Today about ways to bounce back after any setback. “Mistakes yield the opportunities and insights we need to ultimately succeed in life," said Campbell. No sentence is more accurate to describe what the Houston Texans must do after a tough loss (27-20) in their 2018 NFL season opener to the New England Patriots. Houston made a lot of mistakes in that game, but none that should hinder them from having success this season.

“As soon as that game was over, we were ready to play the next game just to get the taste out of our mouth,” linebacker Whitney Mercilus said as he spoke to reporters. The Texans “Big 3” on defense (Mercilus, JJ Watt, and Jadeveon Clowney) looked a tad bit rusty in the first half. For Mercilus and Watt, it was their first regular season game since October 2017 when they both were injured in a Sunday night matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. In the second half, you could tell that they were starting to get their legs back under them limiting the high-powered Patriots offense to just two field goals. Defensive lineman D.J. Reader was able to get pressure on Tom Brady as the game went on and eventually was able to put the 2017 NFL MVP down for two sacks.

“I think they did a good job of chipping and keeping things jumbled up on the inside. I think in the second half we were able to do a better job against them. It’s also the first game and everyone’s just getting their feet under them,” Reader responded when asked about the differences in the two halves.

For as much rust as the defense had to shake off, so did quarterback Deshaun Watson who was also making his first start since being injured last season. The explosive playmaker fumbled on the first snap from scrimmage and never fully recovered from that mistake. “Adversity just hit on the first play and we just had to overcome it. We had the opportunities to do that, we just got to keep pushing forward,” said Watson.

The Texans will face the Tennessee Titans this Sunday in an early matchup of divisional foes. Tennessee may show some fatigue after playing the longest game in NFL history (7 hours, 8 minutes) last Sunday in a loss to the Miami Dolphins. Houston will see a familiar face patrolling the opponents' sideline as former Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel will be calling the shots for the Titans. He became the head coach for Tennessee this past offseason, but don’t expect any warm and fuzzy hugs from the Texans. They know how important this game is to not only get a “W” in the win column, but it also would put them up a game in their division.

I will leave you with another brilliant gem from Ms. Campbell that I believe should be posted in the Texans locker room. “Instead of becoming identified with the pain of our failure, we can start on the solution, the new approach, the next big thing that will carry us in the direction we want to go.”

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