A once-promising season for the Raiders is over, and a much-maligned Texans playoff team has advanced to the next round.
Oakland went to Houston and took a serious beating today, with third-string quarterback Connor Cook simply unable to do anything offensively as the Texans won 27-14. Starting quarterback Derek Carr, an MVP candidate, was out with a broken leg, and second-string quarterback Matt McGloin couldn’t go because of a shoulder injury. That meant the job was Cook’s and Cook was simply not up to the task.
But credit the Texans’ defense as well: With Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus leading the way up front, Houston made life miserable for Cook. This Houston defense, which led the league in yards allowed over the course of the 2016 season, is playing well.
The Texans weren’t exactly a great team over the course of the regular season, getting outscored by a total of 49 points in 16 games. But today they won by double digits for the first time and earned the right to show they can compete with the best in the AFC next weekend, either at Kansas City or at New England.
The biggest question facing the Texans is who their quarterback will be next week. Tom Savage was out today with a concussion, and Brock Osweiler stepped in and was competent but far from spectacular. Will Bill O’Brien figure he should stick with Osweiler after getting his first playoff win? Or will he turn back to Savage, who took the starting job away from Osweiler last month? Or will Savage fail to get cleared from the league’s concussion protocol and make the discussion moot?
The Texans’ offense will need to do more next weekend than it did today if the Texans are going to pull an upset and get to the AFC Championship Game. But at least Houston knows it can win games with either Savage or Osweiler. The Raiders were down to a quarterback they simply couldn’t win with today, and that ended their season.