Carlos Hyde thrives for Texans after joining team in August
HOUSTON (AP) — Carlos Hyde had a season-high 116 yards rushing with a touchdown this weekend against his former team and the Houston Texans took advantage of Kansas City’s porous run defense to pile up 192 yards rushing in the 31-24 win.
Hyde’s big day was the latest in a solid start to the season that has helped Houston absorb the loss of Lamar Miller, who sustained a season-ending knee injury in a preseason game. Hyde ranks 10th in the NFL with 426 yards rushing and has three touchdowns this season.
Hyde is one of two running backs the Texans (4-2) acquired in August trades after they got Duke Johnson from Cleveland early in the month following D’Onta Foreman’s release.
Sunday was the fifth 100-yard rushing game of Hyde’s career and the first since he ran for 124 yards against Seattle in Week 2 of the 2017 season.
“He runs hard,” coach Bill O’Brien said. “He is a good guy. He has learned well, good teammate, tough guy ... he gets his pads down. He gets behind his pads. He wants to do well. It is very important to him.”
Hyde played for both Cleveland and Jacksonville last season before the Jaguars cut him in March. He was picked up by Kansas City in the offseason, but never appeared in a game for the Chiefs after being traded to Houston on Aug. 31.
Hyde, who was a second-round pick in 2014, ran for a career-high 988 yards for the 49ers in 2016 and had 938 yards rushing for them in 2017 before managing just 571 yards rushing last year with the Browns and Jaguars.
After not being as productive as he’d like while bouncing around last season, he’s thankful to have found a new home in Houston and is embracing his opportunity.
“They just let me be myself, let me play my game, let me get downhill, do what I do best,” he said. “You can’t just focus on me ... there are so many other guys on this team that are a threat and can take over the game at any moment. The focus is not just on me. I can just go play my game, play free and just be me.”
Houston’s offensive line gave up 18 sacks combined in the first four games but has improved and Deshaun Watson hasn’t been sacked in the past two games. It’s the first time the Texans haven’t allowed a sack in consecutive weeks since the first two games of the 2014 season. Watson continues to show elite playmaking ability and threw for 280 yards and a touchdown and added two rushing scores on Sunday to set the franchise record for most rushing TDs by a quarterback in franchise history.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The Texans need to work on ball security after getting the win on Sunday despite turning the ball over three times. Watson, who had just one interception in the first five games, threw two on Sunday and Hyde lost a fumble on Houston’s first offensive play.
This comes a week after they fumbled five times but recovered all but one of them.
Receiver DeAndre Hopkins hasn’t put up the gaudy numbers he has in past seasons, but he’s been valuable to the team for his knack for making plays in big moments. On Sunday he had nine receptions for 55 yards. But seven of those catches were for first downs, including an 8-yard reception on fourth-and-3 with two minutes left that allowed Houston to run out the clock and secure the victory.
Kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn continued to struggle on Sunday. Fairbairn missed an extra point for his fourth miss in the past three games. He made a 44-yard field goal against Kansas City, but missed from 46 yards.
“We’ve got to improve,” O’Brien said. “We’ve got to look at the whole operation technique-wise. We’ve got to make those kicks ... Ka’imi knows that so we’re going to work hard to get better this week.”
CB Johnathan Joseph (hamstring) sat out Sunday. WR Kenny Stills missed his second straight game with a hamstring injury. RT Tytus Howard (knee), CB Bradley Roby (hamstring) and LB Zach Cunningham (knee) left during Sunday’s game and O’Brien said he didn’t have any updates their conditions.
29 — Watson surpassed 7,500 yards passing (7,508) on Sunday in his 29th game. Only Hall of Famer Kurt Warner reached the mark in fewer games, doing it in the 27th game of his career.
O’Brien was quick to point out that his team has plenty of things to clean up with a trip to AFC South foe Indianapolis coming up this weekend.
“You really just have to take the approach that you have to improve,” he said. “It’s an improvement league and I think the teams that improve the most over a 16-game season are the ones that end up being where they want to be. If you don’t continue with that theme ... then you’re going to be in a bind.”