CLEVELAND -- In a game where the Houston Texans could not follow their usual game plan -- lean on superstar quarterback Deshaun Watson -- because of heavy rain and winds in their 10-7 loss to the Cleveland Browns, the team found that it is not built to win by relying on its ground game.
The Texans have both of their running backs under contract next season, but might have to start over at the position this offseason. Starting running back David Johnson, who is on injured reserve with a concussion and will miss at least two more games, is owed $9 million next season, but the Texans could save $6.9 million by cutting him. Duke Johnson, who ran for 54 games on 14 carries on Sunday, is owed $5.1 million in 2021.
The Texans acquired David Johnson in the trade that sent All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals. In eight games this season, Johnson has 408 yards and three touchdowns on 103 carries. During the offseason, the Texans opted not to re-sign Carlos Hyde, who ran for more than 1,000 yards playing on a one-year deal in 2019.
Duke Johnson, who replaced David Johnson in Week 9, had a career-high 20 touches in that game. Despite being the starter all game against the Browns, Johnson had just 14 touches against the Browns.
Troubling trend: The Texans again struggled getting to the quarterback, only sacking Baker Mayfield once. Defensive end J.J. Watt, who got his 100th career sack in Week 9 against the Jaguars, did not have a quarterback hit or sack on Sunday. He had one tackle for a loss.
QB breakdown: In a game greatly affected by the weather in Cleveland, Watson completed 20 of 30 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown. He spread the ball around, completing passes to eight different receivers. Wide receiver Will Fuller, who caught five passes for 38 yards, ended his streak of touchdown receptions.
Eye-popping stat: Entering Sunday, the fewest combined points in the first half of a game this season was nine, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The Texans and Browns shattered that season-low, combining for three points at halftime.