The Houston Texans’ latest loss reveals the underlying issue in their defense.
The Houston Texans dropped a winnable game against the Denver Broncos that entered Week 14 with a 4-8 record. The game quickly went out of hand with missed tackles in the defense that allowed Denver’s offense to get down the field early in the first half. The Broncos ended putting up 31 points against the Texans before the half and never panicked in the second half as they safely led to close the game.
Texans are now 8-5 after allowing Drew Lock to put up a passing clinic against the defense. The rookie pocket passer completed 22 of his 27 passes attempted for 309 passing yards, and three touchdown passes to only one interception.
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The secondary looked in shambles after being heroes in the previous week against the New England Patriots. The cornerbacks were rotated throughout the game, and it didn’t help the defense get in its rhythm despite only allowing a touchdown in the second half.
There was very little urgency for the Broncos offense to score with the game already out of reach for Houston at the half. However, the biggest issue for the Texans remains to be their pass rush or their lack thereof.
Its well documented the Texans are without two of their pass rushers after boasting a talented trio last season in J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, and Whitney Mercilus. Clowney took his talents to Seattle to begin the season while Watt is on the IR after suffering a pectoral injury in Week 8.
Texans are relying heavily on Mercilus to pick up where they left off, but the opposing offenses are keying on him to protect their quarterbacks. He has five quarterback hits in the last five games, but he hasn’t recorded a sack since Week 7.
Mercilus has 5.5 sacks for the season and is currently leading the active roster in that respective category. However, Texans need more from him and the other pass rushers in Watt’s absence to keep opposing quarterbacks in check.
Texans could benefit from playing Jacob Martin more in passing situations to get after the quarterback. Martin has 3.5 sacks, five quarterback hits, one forced fumble, and a fumble recovery in the five games that have been played since Watt’s injury.
With the lack of pass rush that is evident on the field, the defense could benefit in playing him to improve their issue.