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 LB
Houston Texans LB /

The Texans excel at generating takeaways

The key piece to every great defense is the ability to generate takeaways. However, generating takeaways is never a guarantee and something that can come and go depending on the season and the opponent. There is some combination of luck and skill that plays into taking the ball away from the offense.

That being said, the Houston Texans have done a phenomenal job at generating takeaways this season. So far this season, the Texans have picked off 12 passes. The big four in the secondary (Mathieu, Joseph, Jackson, and Reid) all have multiple interceptions with Reid leading the team with three.

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The Texans have also done a great job attacking the football once it is in the opponent’s possession. They have forced 15 fumbles so far this season with JJ leading the way (duh) with five of them. Ten of those fumbles have been recovered by the defense.

Houston ranks in the top five in interceptions, fumbles forced, fumbles recovered, and total number of takeaways so far this season. Beyond that, they’re also tied for second in the league in number of defensive touchdowns. Joseph, Cunningham, and Reid have all returned interceptions for touchdowns while Clowney has returned a fumble for a touchdown.

Some of these takeaways were made off of luck and bad decisions by the opposition. However, a lot of these, like Reid’s 100+ yard touchdown and Cunningham’s touchdown against Cleveland were made with a ton of skill and athleticism. The team has done a terrific job of filling the defense with playmakers who can affect the game in this way.

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No matter the metric, advanced or not, the Houston Texans defense will rank either near or at the top of every category. They have tried playmakers at all three levels that should give opponents nightmares leading up to the game. This defense is truly special.