Texans are failing on opening drives

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By SportsRadio 610

HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610) -- Slow starts have become synonymous with the Texans’ offense over the past couple of years.

Last season, it was a constant narrative surrounding their inability to score touchdowns on opening drives. When the Texans finally did score an opening drive touchdown, it was in Week 17 and led by backup quarterback A.J. McCarron.

In 33 regular season games since 2018, opening drives led by Deshaun Watson have resulted in just one touchdown.

On the 32 non-touchdown drives, the Texans punted 19 times, with 10 of those being three-and-outs. Seven of the drives resulted in field goals, four ended with fumbles and there’s a missed field goal and an interception. The drives yield just 3.25 yards per play.

Why is this?

Texans head coach Bill O’Brien said Monday he does not have a great answer, because this is something they spend a lot of time on.

Still, they open the Chiefs game moving the ball, but a false start penalty ruins their down-and-distance and the drive stalls.

Against the Ravens, it’s 4th-and-1 for the Texans from their own 34-yard line, so O’Brien elects to punt.

“Look, I just think we’ve got to keep working at,” O’Brien said Monday. “I just think it’s something that we definitely know that we have to do better. We’ve got to start faster.”

Watson was asked after Sunday’s game about the difficulty of playing behind so often, and he mentioned their slow starts.

“We just got to start faster and continue to start faster,” he said.

Wide receiver Randall Cobb, a Texans newcomer, also mentioned the slow start when asked about the pace and urgency in which the offense moved.

“We start off slow, put yourself in a hole and try to dig our way out,” Cobb said.

“At the end of the day, it's about what we do and it's all about us and, again, we got to start faster. We can't start a game with a three-and-out.”