Johnathan Joseph won the Week 6 AFC player of the week award during the 2017 regular season for his two interceptions, three pass deflections, one touchdown and three combined tackles against the Cleveland Browns.
It was one of the few highlights for the Texans defense that ranked 29th in opponent passer rating (99.5), had a pass defense DVOA of 19.2% (25th) and a run defense DVOA of -9.9% (12th).
Here’s a clip of Joseph’s second interception against Kevin Hogan during this game.
The Browns are driving the field and attempting to get into field goal position before halftime.
Joseph is in off-man coverage, he’ll be reacting to Sammie Coates route and likely giving up any underneath routes.
Coates runs a comeback, hoping to get the Browns a first down on third-and-11, and get out of bounds to stop the clock.
Joseph reads the situation and jumps the route. Coates doesn’t make Joseph backpedal enough to create separation, instead he extends his arm and tries to push off. The ball is thrown slightly later than Coates would have needed it to get out of bounds, allowing Joseph to read the route, make the interception and end the Browns’ drive.
In the first quarter, Browns receiver Bryce Treggs runs an out route that Joseph easily swats down.
Just a few plays previous to the interception, Browns receiver Rashad Higgins runs a comeback route similar to Coates’. Higgins does a better job of creating separation but it also wasn’t a third down situation.
The Browns were in no-huddle for most of this drive so that explains the unimaginative routes called for the receivers. If you run a comeback route enough times in a game, especially when it’s third-and-10, it’s only a matter of time before a cornerback with as much experience as Joseph, will jump the route and pick it off.
Joseph had his first interception of the game early in the second quarter.
Hogan overthrows his underneath route and Joseph is able to take it the distance.
Below, is the play previous to the interception and provides insight as to why Joseph was in the right place at the right time for the interception.
Hogan tried to go to the exact same underneath option and ended up overthrowing him. Joseph jumps the route and makes contact with the receiver before he could bring it in, but the ball flew out of bounds anyways.
The next play, Joseph was more prepared to jump the route and get the pick six.
It was Cleveland’s poor play calling and Hogan’s predictability that Joseph was able to exploit for his best game of the season.
Unfortunately, these were the only two interceptions for Joseph on the year. He finished the season with 37 tackles and nine pass deflections.
The 34-year-old cornerback is returning next year after signing a two-year 10-million dollar contract extension.
Joining him in the secondary will be Kareem Jackson and Kevin Jackson as well as new members Aaron Colvin and Tyrann Matheiu.
The Texans secondary got butchered last year, but Joseph did have an average PFF grade of 75.7.
Bill O’Brien still sees Joesph as a staple of the Texans defense
“He’s one of the leaders of the locker room, been that way since we got here,” O’Brien said last season to ESPN. “He’s asked to do a lot on our defense relative to covering top guys. He’s been doing that since we arrived here, but he’s a team guy.”
As Joseph turns the page on his 12th season, it’ll be worth keeping an eye on how he meshes with the new members of the secondary and how much is still left in his tank.