The Houston Texans battled tough enough to gain their sixth straight win of the season on Sunday, but more is needed on third down.
Six consecutive wins is a tough feat to achieve in the NFL today, no matter who teams are facing. For the Houston Texans, they started off the season 0-3 and now sit at 6-3, leading the AFC South after nine weeks of football.
Houston had some nice numbers on Sunday, with the bets being 19 as that was enough points scored to win on the road at Mile High Stadium against the Denver Broncos, who scored 17 points.
What really could have used some work for the Texans that would have made the game less intense late in the fourth quarter was the Texans’ third down conversion rate in the two-point win over Denver.
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Houston was just 4-of-13 on third down at 31 percent, and that was worse than what the Broncos had at 5-of-14 for 36 percent. One of the four third down conversions came on the first try of the game when on third-and-1 from their own 34-yard line, it was Alfred Blue with a two-yard rush.
Houston’s third conversion on third down was a touchdown in the second quarter, when Watson found DeAndre Hopkins for a 16-yard touchdown pass on a third-and-4 play.
The fourth and final third down conversion came in the second quarter with 4:22 left on the clock as Watson found Hopkins once again for a 4-yard reception.
Other than that, the Texans had no third down conversions in the second half, though once in the second half the Texans settled for a field goal in the fourth quarter. Late in the fourth quarter, on Houston’s final drive on third-and-5, the Texans had a penalty, resulting in not converting the third-and-10 play, which eventually went to a fourth down punt.
Not converting the third down play eventually allowed the Broncos to have a chance for a game-winning 51-yard field goal, which went wide right.
This season in nine games the Texans are 46-of-119 on third down at 37.8 percent, putting them at 18th in the league, but in the past three games the Texans have converted 43.9 percent of third down chances. In comparison, the Atlanta Falcons (53.3 percent) and Indianapolis Colts (52.17) have the best third down conversion percentage, while the Kansas City Chiefs are third at 48.2 percent, according to TeamRankings.com.
The Texans were lucky their lack of production on third down on Sunday didn’t hurt them in the win column, but moving forward, for a team that leads the AFC South, they might want to have better production on third down from here on out because eventually we all know it will haunt them in an important game.