The New York Giants got back to their winning ways on Sunday as they defeated the Houston Texans 24-16 at MetLife Stadium.
New York, who lost to the Seahawks before the bye week, improved to 7-2, their best nine-game record since they were 8-1 in 2008.
The Giants gave the Texans a heavy dose of Saquon Barkley, who finished with a career-high 35 carries for 152 yards, including a two-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Barkley’s 152 rushing yards are his second-highest total of the season. The 35 carries are the most by a Giants back since 1999.
“It’s really fun, to be honest,” Barkley said about the 35 carries after the win. “At the end of the day, like I said, just want to a find a way to win games, and today that was the mindset that we needed to get the job done, and we were able to get it done.”
According to reports, Barkley’s agent and the Giants discussed a new contract during the bye week as he can become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
“We got into a little bit of conversation,’ Barkley said. ‘At the end of the day, I put that in the past. That was the Bye Week. Obviously, we weren’t able to come to an agreement during the bye week, and my mindset is just focus on the rest of the season. Next week going against Detroit and knowing when that opportunity comes up again, focus on it then.”
Despite the two sides not coming together on an agreement, Barkley is happy that both sides were able to discuss a new contract.
“I’m just happy that we were able to at least have a conversation,” he said. “I know how they feel about me. They spoke very highly of me, but like I said, we weren’t able to get anything done during the bye week, and I agree with (general manager) Joe (Schoen), just lock it up and worry for the rest of the season and make sure no distractions come out of it.”
As he said in the past, Barkley wants to be in New York for his whole career.
“I think I’ve kind of been vocal before contracts were even brought up about how I feel about this place,” he said. “What I want my legacy to be in this place, and I want to be Giant for life. Like I said, I’ve been vocal about that, so if the conversation gets brought up again, we’ll go from there.”
After nine games, Barkley leads the NFL in rushing(931 yards) and is second in yards from scrimmage(1148). He is playing like the guy New York saw before the injuries, so whether it’s New York or elsewhere, Barkley will get his money.
It had been rumored all week that Texans WR Will Fuller V was being shopped around the league before the trade deadline, but the deadline passed, and ultimately, Fuller remained in Houston.
Well, fortunately for the Texans, Fuller was on the field against the Jaguars on Sunday. The fifth-year wide receiver caught five balls for 100 yards, including a 77-yard touchdown reception, as the Texans(2-6) defeated Jacksonville(1-7) 27-25 at TIAA Bank Field.
After the game, Fuller reacted to being shopped around the league before the trade deadline.
“To be honest, it really sucked being shopped around like that,” Fuller said. “Giving this organization my all and coming to work every day, I’m a very unselfish player and do everything they asked. To be shopped around, I did feel a certain type of way. Like I said, I am happy to be here and to play with DeShaun(Watson) and to continue to try to get wins with this organization”
Texans QB Deshaun Watson added on Fuller: “Ain’t nobody going to do that. Would ‘ve been hell if they would ‘ve did that, for sure, honestly. But no, I ‘mm glad to continue to play with Will [Fuller V]. We’ve been making a lot of big, big plays since I came in this league together and are going to continue to do that as we continue to go the rest of this year and hopefully the rest of our career.”
Watson lost a marquee wide receiver in DeAndre Hopkins, who was traded away to the Cardinals in the offseason, so obviously, he does not want to lose Fuller.
The 26-year-old Fuller, who is having a productive season for Houston, is in the final year of his contract and can become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. In eight games this season, Fuller has 36 receptions for 590 yards and six touchdowns. It should be interesting to see if Fuller does have a future in Houston beyond this season.
It was an interesting week for the Houston Texans. On Monday, the team fired its head coach Bill O’Brien after the team started the season 0-4, but with interim head coach Romeo Crennel at the helm, who at 73 years old is the oldest coach in NFL history, Houston’s fortunes changed on Sunday at NRG Stadium.
Behind Deshaun Watson’s 359 yards passing and three touchdowns and WR Brandin Cook’s eight catches for 161 yards and one touchdown, the Texans(1-4) defeated the Jaguars(1-4) 30-14 to get their first win of the season.
“That was huge. The win was huge,” Crennel said after the game. “You know, particularly the way that we started the season, not winning a game out of four, and then being able to come here at home and play a tough game, hang in there. All phases made a contribution to the victory, and then we had several players who stepped up and did very well. The quarterback played well. The receivers played well. The runners were able to run. The line blocked defensively. I think we were under 100 yards rushing for the first time this season and got some turnovers, which we hadn’t been getting. So all of those things combined help us win the game.”
Texans DE J.J. Watt added: “We had a lot of fun today. We had a lot of fun on offense, defense, special teams. Everybody pitching in. Whenever something went wrong, the other group was ready to step up and make a play to make it right. Nobody hung their heads. Everybody was ready to roll, had great energy. I thought the fans were great, had a great vibe from the fans. It was just a lot of fun. For Romeo (Crennel), seeing his dance moves in the locker room after the game were a real treat, so that was enjoyable.”
At 1-4, the Texans have some work to do if they want to get back into contention, but according to Watson, the Texans can build on this win against Jacksonville.
“We’ve just got to continue to have fun and continue to build the momentum, continue to keep guys healthy, continue to prepare and just be loose,” Watson said. “Not too loose, but at the same time, just have fun. Regardless of what happens, good or bad, because each team is very, very good, and each team is going to make plays. It’s hard to score points in this league.
“It’s hard to stop people in this league. For us, just to keep building and just take it one week at a time, that’s our mentality. We’re not looking four to six weeks down the road or anything. We expect to win each and every week, and we’re going to go into each game, and you’re going to get our best, and you’re going to get everything we got. We have nothing to lose. That’s the mentality we have to have, and just keep stacking them each and every week. We’ve got to continue to ride this wave and build on it, you know.”
When you’re winless, any win is good. Now, with a new voice, maybe the Texans can find a way to turn things around in 2020.
The first time Jaguars QB Gardner Minshew played the Houston Texans, many were not sure what they were going to see out of the sixth-round pick in this year’s draft. It was Minshew’s first career start, and for most of the game, the Jaguars’ offense struggled. Then, the fourth quarter came along, and Minshew was able to lead Jacksonville on two scoring drives. However, with an opportunity to take the lead on a two-point conversion late in the game, Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette was stopped short of the goal line, and the Jaguars would lose to the Texans 13-12 in Week 2.
On Sunday in London, Minshew will get another opportunity to beat the Texans, as the Jaguars face Houston for the second and final time this season.
“I think you get confidence from playing a team and seeing them before,” Minshew said on Wednesday. “You get a little understanding. But we also know it’s going to be a different challenge, they have a lot of things different, as do we.”
This is a big game as far as the AFC South is concerned. Right now, the Texans(5-3), who are in second place behind the Colts(6-2) in the division, are one game up on the Jaguars(4-4), and If Jacksonville loses on Sunday, the Texans would essentially be three games up on the Jaguars because they would have swept the season series. Therefore, the Jaguars have to beat Houston on Sunday.
“I think this is too big of a game to really think about anything else,” Minshew said. “We’re sitting at a pivotal point, 4-4, playing a divisional opponent. This will be the last time we get to play them, so it’s definitely a big one.”
The Jaguars have eight games left, and the next three games for Jacksonville are against division opponents, so this stretch will probably determine whether the Jaguars make the playoffs in 2019, and a win against the Texans would be a great way to start this pivotal stretch for Jacksonville.
Texans QB Deshaun Watson has rebounded nicely after tearing his ACL last season. The second-year quarterback has the Texans one game away from clinching the AFC South, and if few things work in their favor, Watson and the Texans could clinch a first-round bye on Sunday as they battle the Jacksonville Jaguars.
In 2018, Watson has proven that he can do things with his arm(3931, 26 TD, 9 INT), and with his legs(485 yards, 4 TD), and he has also proven that he’s more than a runner, something that Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey has noticed.
“People try to pigeon-hole some guys in the league who are mobile quarterbacks, and they try to lean on that all the time, but he is not one of those guys who can only run and not really pass like some other guys,” Ramsey said on Thursday. “He’s a guy who can truly pass the ball very well. He has good connections with not only D-Hop but his tight ends, his [running] backs and other receivers. He’s a really good quarterback before he’s an athlete.”
Watson is a proven winner. He won a National Championship in college at Clemson, and he is 13-8 as a starter in the NFL. At this point, I think it’s safe to say that Watson is a good quarterback before he’s an athlete.
Houston Texans owner Bob McNair died today, the team announced. He was 81. McNair brought football back to Houston after the Oilers left for Tennessee in 1996. The Texans played their first game in 2002.
Here is a statement from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on the passing of McNair:
“During his nearly two decades as an NFL owner, Bob McNair left a lasting mark on his city and our league. His leadership and determination brought the NFL back to Houston, built a magnificent stadium that hosted two Super Bowls, and his beloved Texans are in the midst of another successful season and are again contending for a place in the postseason. Off the field, Bob served with distinction as the chairman of the Finance Committee and was recognized in his native South Carolina, his adopted home of Houston, and elsewhere for his extraordinary philanthropic and community development work. He cared deeply about the league and was generous with his time and willingness to share his insights as an exceptional businessman. But above all, Bob was a family man. I extend my heartfelt condolences to Janice, their family, the Texans, and the entire Houston community.”
The NFL Foundation will match Mr. McNair and the Houston Texans’ $1 million contribution to the United Way Relief Fund to address the immediate needs of those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The total $2 million contribution will support first response efforts by the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and the United Way of Greater Houston. Our thoughts are with the Houston community during this difficult time and we encourage fans to text HARVEY to 90999 to donate $10 to American Red Cross Hurricane Harvey relief.