Bengals vs. Texans: Will there be more sacks than points?
Teams allowed 15 sacks in openers
12:34 PM, Sep 14, 2017
12:45 PM, Sep 14, 2017
CINCINNATI - Judging by the performances of their blockers in the opening week of the season, it's fair to wonder if there will be more sacks than points in Thursday night's game between the Texans and Bengals.
The two teams combined for seven points last week - all by the Texans. Conversely, they allowed 15 sacks - 10 through the Texans.
Cincinnati allowed Andy Dalton to be trapped five times in its 20-0 loss to Baltimore, half as much as Houston yielded in its 29-7 loss to Jacksonville.
Part of the reason Texans coach Bill O'Brien is expected to start rookie QB Deshaun Watson is his ability to run and escape the rush. He's not the Statue of Liberty Tom Savage is. And Watson provided a spark when he started the second half, leading the Texans to their only TD.
"The decision to go with Deshaun had more to do with could we find a spark, could we find somebody that maybe could make a play, that could escape the pocket," O'Brien said. "I thought that Tom hung in there and played very tough. But we had a hard time protecting him so I made the decision to go with Deshaun."
Texans QBs coach Sean Ryan said his message in practice this week was to get rid of the ball faster.
"What we talk to quarterbacks about all the time is put us in the play that you can," Ryan said. "We preach that all the time to those guys. They always do their best to see what's going on defensively and get that done for us.
"And then the next thing for the quarterbacks is let's have that clock in your head. Know when it's time to get the ball out of your hands or know when it's time to tuck and go. It's something that you're constantly working with the quarterbacks on and we still work on it and always will."
Still, offensive line woes are not something either team is likely to solve in a short week.
The Bengals knew heading into the season that their fate would rest largely with an inexperienced offensive line. They lost left tackle Andrew Whitworth and right guard Kevin Zeitler — their best linemen — in free agency and decided to replace them with unproven, young players.
Houston has a similar problem. Veteran left tackle Duane Brown is holding out, and center Nick Martin was playing in his first game last week after missing his rookie season in 2016 with an injury.
The Vegas over-under is 38, which means bettors can put their money on whether both teams together will score more than 38 points or less. That's the lowest over-under in the NFL in Week 2, showing that Vegas - and the bettors - don't have much confidence in either offense.