The Texans can only cling to control of their own destiny after starting the season 0-4. Defensive end J.J. Watt is feeling a bit helpless himself over Houston's fortunes.
"All I can do is control what I can control," Watt said after a 31-23 home loss to the Vikings on Sunday. "I'm gonna come in, I'm gonna work hard. I'm gonna try and find a way. Do whatever possible this week to find a way to get a win. I mean this is terrible. It's brutal. I mean, it's depressing. It sucks. This sucks. I don't know any other way to put it. I don't know any other way than to work harder."
The aging star was held to a mere three tackles and without a sack for the third time this season. That's just one issue for a Texans defense that has yet to force a turnover in 2020. It's also allowing 181.7 rushing yards per game, which is why it found itself on the field for more than 36 minutes against Minnesota.
"The story of us is we've got to stop the run," Watt surmised. "That's what we have to do. We have to stop the run, and we have to prevent passing situations. We have yet to put ourselves in a situation where we have a lead almost at any point, so that we put them in tough situations."
As it concerns the offense, Bill O'Brien assumed more control this week by getting more involved in play-calling and game-planning, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. It was a quick change of course (but also a return to norm) after BOB turned over much of those responsibilities to offensive coordinator Tim Kelly before the season.
The shift produced 16 yards of offense and three punts in the first quarter before the Texans finally got into a rhythm and nearly rallied from a pair of double-digit deficits.
O'Brien took the brunt of the blame upon his shoulders, NFL Network's Mike Silver reported late Sunday night.
"He told the team after the game, 'I've done a terrible job of coaching this team, but I will be here tomorrow morning working hard to dig ourselves out of this,'" Silver said on GameDay Final.
The Texans defense surrendering consecutive touchdowns in the second half ultimately proved to be too much to overcome. It all left Houston winless a quarter through the season for the first time in Watt's 10-year career.
"We obviously have to do something different, we're 0-4, whatever we're doing isn't working," the three-time Defensive Player of the Year said. "Something needs to change, something needs to be different."
So, what exactly needs to change?
"I control what I can control, like I said," Watt said. "I've got to play my gap better, I've got to make better tackles, I've got to get to the quarterback and get the ball out, I've got to get strip sacks. I can control what I can control."
That would help, but it isn't even the half of it for the Texans.