Houston Texans: Three elements that make the defense the NFL’s best

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 02: J.J. Watt #99 of the Houston Texans (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 02: J.J. Watt #99 of the Houston Texans (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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Houston Texans Mercilus and Watt
HOUSTON, TX – DECEMBER 02: Mercilus and Watt of the Houston Texans (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

The ability to generate a consistent pass rush without blitzing

One of the things that makes the Houston Texans so dominant is their defensive front/line. Watt and Clowney lead a talented group of players that can consistently get into the backfield despite being outnumbered by one or more players.

The guys that get the pressure have been interchangeable from week to week. Whitney Mercilus has come on hot recently in spite of having a terrible first half of the season. Christian Covington got in on the action a few weeks ago and recorded a three-sack game. Then there is also the contributions from DJ Reader, Angelo Blackson, and Brandon Dunn.

The Texans have sacked the opposing quarterback 36 times so far this season, that’s an average of three sacks per game. Three of those sacks are from Tyrann Mathieu and one other is from Kareem Jackson. That means 32 of the team’s sacks have come from guys that play along the line of scrimmage.

Read. Hopkins leads the AFC in this important stat. light

The Texans have become masters at getting into the opponent’s backfield with four or fewer lineman. Any time a team can do this, it opens up the opportunity to drop one more man into coverage and thus making it harder to on opponents to pass the ball effectively.

While this most obviously displays itself in pass defense, it also benefits the team when it comes to their run defense. According to Football Outsiders, the Texans run defense has been outstanding this year. They stuff opposing offense’s rush attempts over 20% of the time.

Getting into the backfield to stop the run without blitzing also the defense to do many more things than they normally would. It also the second and third level guys to fill gaps more effectively and allow the overall run defense to improve. So, the Texans utilizing the football math, four is greater than five, is one of the things that allows them to be one of the league’s elite defenses.