The first mistake may have been Javon Ringer's. After getting the ball three times in four plays, he may have tapped his helmet to ask for a rest.
I don’t want my second-string running back asking to be taken out so quickly. He should be able to handle more.
Whether it was him asking out or a coach pulling him out, it was the wrong move and it got the anemic Chris Johnson back in the game just before the Titans got their long touchdown of the day.
If you want a snapshot of Johnson and his questionable effort, it comes shortly after that at 7:07 of the third quarter.
Johnson lined up to the left of Matt Hasselbeck, who was in a shotgun formation. The Titans had a tight end and two receivers to the right and one receiver to the left.
Texans outside linebacker Connor Barwin timed up the snap nicely and got the corner on Titans left tackle Michael Roos. Johnson was in the area, hesitated and didn’t appear certain about whether he was supposed to help on Barwin or slip into the flat to be a quick option for his quarterback.
The snap from center Eugene Amano surprised Hasselbeck and seemed too early, and maybe that threw Johnson off as well. But his effort after the snap was insufficient. He stuck his hand right hand out and touched Barwin to no effect, stepping back a yard and then backpedalling a bit toward the flat. It amounted to standing around.
Even if he was completely surprised by a premature snap, instincts should tell him to either invest in blocking Barwin or quickly get into space.
He did neither, as Hasselbeck threw quickly to Lavelle Hawkins on the other side for no gain.
Maybe that amounts to a tough review of Johnson on one snap. But based on how unproductive he’s been, he’s got to know we’re watching every move at this point. And he didn’t make an effective move there at all.