Three takeaways from Texans’ wild-card win over Bills: Impact on playoff bracket, Josh Allen’s potential and more

first_imgHOW DID DESHAUN WATSON NOT GET SACKED— Sporting News (@sportingnews) January 5, 2020WILD-CARD PLAYOFF PICKS:Against the spread | Straight-up predictionsDespite being outgained 425-360 by the Bills, the Texans are heading to the divisional round of the playoffs for the fourth time in franchise history. They have never advanced to a conference championship game.That development in the playoff picture leads our takeaways from Saturday’s game, one of the best in the history of wild-card playoff football.Texans’ win over Bills is good news for Ravens or Chiefs in AFC playoffsDepending on the result of Saturday night’s Patriots-Titans game, the Texans will draw the Ravens or the Chiefs in the divisional round of the playoffs. No matter the matchup, either Baltimore or Kansas City would have been a comfortable favorite next weekend, and for good reason, considering what those teams did this season to earn first-round byes. Buffalo, though, could have been considered a tougher draw.The Bills, who ended the regular season with the NFL’s second-best scoring defense and third-best unit in terms of yards allowed, dominated the Texans on Saturday until the fourth quarter, when Watson took over the game. Before then, Watson was running for his life, often forced into scramble mode almost immediately after the snap.Buffalo’s well-rounded defensive unit had the speed and discipline to contain Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson. It had the ability to rush the passer and lock down receivers, which would have been useful against Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes. On the other side of the ball, the Bills had an offense capable of controlling the line of scrimmage, thus keeping either opposing QB off the field as much as possible.Houston is no slouch, of course, and it was sparked Saturday by the return of J.J. Watt on defense (his second-half sack changed the game) and Watson’s brilliance on offense, but the Texans’ offensive line will struggle again at Baltimore or Kansas City and their defense isn’t built to stop Jackson or Mahomes.Most would have picked against the Bills in the divisional round, but Ravens/Chiefs over Texans feels like an easier prediction. (Getty Images) Deshaun Watson saved Bill O’Brien from the hot seatThe Texans coach was trending on social media throughout the first half Saturday for all the wrong reasons. Houston was getting slaughtered by Buffalo in all three phases of the game, and the Texans went into halftime down 13-0.For the third time in four wild-card games under O’Brien, they were shut out in the first half. Watson in the first half was sacked four times, the most in any half by a QB in their playoff history.Then Watson turned on the magic. It started with a ridiculous touchdown run (and 2-point conversion) to get Houston on the board in the third quarter.Deshaun Watson DRAGGING defenders into the endzone for a— Sporting News (@sportingnews) January 4, 2020It continued throughout the second half, and it ended with the big play to all but seal the game in overtime.This was not a clear coaching adjustment; it was a star player making brilliant individual plays. Now O’Brien, who during halftime Saturday might have let himself ponder how to answer postgame questions about job security, can answer questions about his second career playoff win.Deshaun Watson had an insane game• 20-of-25 passing• 247 passing yards• 2 total TDs• 55 rushing yards• 2 two-point conversions— Sporting News (@sportingnews) January 5, 2020Josh Allen has potential, but he needs helpSometimes, the mental adjustments and/or refinement required to successfully play quarterback in the NFL lag behind physical abilities. That could be the case for Allen, whose strong arm and athleticism are starting to result in big-time plays more often, notably in big games.Allen’s final stat line Saturday was 24-of-46 passing for 264 yards; he also led the Bills with 92 rushing yards on nine carries — an impressive game for a QB who was making his first playoff start. Some of the individual-play highlights displayed just how good Allen can be when he’s on point. Below are a couple from the first half, plus a beauty from overtime. . @JoshAllenQB throwing darts. 💪🎯 #GoBills📺: #BUFvsHOU on ESPN/ABC📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports appWatch free on mobile:— NFL (@NFL) January 4, 2020Off his back foot. Across his body. @JoshAllenQB converts the 3rd & 8 with this perfect throw. #GoBills📺: #BUFvsHOU on ESPN/ABC📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports appWatch free on mobile:— NFL (@NFL) January 4, 2020Josh Allen isn’t backing down 😤(via @thecheckdown )— The MMQB (@theMMQB) January 5, 2020As he proved in the regular season, when the Bills were featured in a couple high profile prime-time games, Allen clearly is not bothered by the big stage, yet silly mistakes continue to plague him and the team. The worst Saturday was a fumble early in the fourth quarter that led to a Texans field goal. He also almost threw the game away with an inexplicable lateral, not to mention a handful of dangerous throws.There are enough flashes of greatness for the Bills to think Allen has a chance to rise to the level of Pro Bowler, especially if the coaching continuity around the QB remains intact. Buffalo also needs additional help at wide receiver, a weakness commonly addressed in mock drafts for 2020.Maybe in a year or two Allen will be capable of leading Buffalo to victory in such a pressure-packed playoff game. His performance Saturday proved he’s not there yet. Because Deshaun Watson is a superhero, the Texans are advancing to the divisional round of the 2020 NFL playoffs after beating the Bills 22-19 on Saturday night in an overtime thriller to open wild-card weekend.Watson, whose ridiculous quarterback play in the second half of the game in Houston was the reason the Texans had a chance to beat the Bills in the first place, authored the game-defining moment late in the overtime period. He spun out of a sure sack and delivered a short pass to Taiwan Jones, who ran 34 yards to Buffalo’s 10-yard line and set up Ka’imi Fairbairn’s game-winning field goal.last_img

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