Texans’ offense should be better vs. Lions

James Hawkins
The Detroit News

Allen Park — The Texans were one the NFL’s early surprises this season, and for a good reason.

Houston revamped its offense by signing running back Lamar Miller to a four-year, $26 million contract and quarterback Brock Osweiler to a four-year, $72 million deal. It drafted speedy Will Fuller to compliment receiver DeAndre Hopkins on the outside.

The result? The Texans were one of two teams (Steelers) to win their first two games by at least a touchdown.

But after being held to 13 points or less in three of their past five games, including last week’s 27-9 beatdown by the Broncos, the Texans are surprising for all the wrong reasons.

Despite its offensive firepower, Houston is 29th in total offense (319.6 yards), 30th in passing offense (204.3 yards), 31st in scoring (16.7 points) and last in red-zone efficiency (37.5 percent).

Miller has been as good as advertised, averaging 99.6 yards offense and leading the 11th-ranked rushing attack. Osweiler, however, has underwhelmed and ranks near the bottom of the league in passer rating (71.9) and completion percentage (58.2 percent).

“Overall, we just all have to do a better job,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said during a teleconference Thursday. “We have to be more consistent. At times it has looked OK, but most of the time it hasn’t been very good. I think our running game has been decent, but our passing game needs a lot of improvement, so we’re working hard to improve it.”

After a monstrous 2015 that featured 111 receptions, 1,521 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns, Hopkins hasn’t been able to produce at the same level. He has 36 catches for 390 yards and three TDs in seven games, one game where he’s eclipsed 100 yards.

“He’s a patient guy, but you know he wants the ball,” O’Brien said. “He can do some things better. But overall we need to do a better job of getting him the ball.

“He’s the type of guy that wants the ball, but he’s a great teammate and all he cares about is winning.”

Hopkins said he doesn’t worry about judging his individual performance but is confident Osweiler will rebound.

Returning home — where the Texans are 4-0 — to face a Lions defense that ranks 23rd in passing (273 yards) and 25th in total (385 yards) and could be without top cornerback Darius Slay, could provide a jump-start.

“That’s part of the scouting report, look at what they average and what they do,” Hopkins said. “But every week a team is going to battle, so you can’t go off what they’ve done in the past. Hope to capitalize every week and my mindset is to have a big game.

“We’re 4-3, so nobody’s hanging their head.”