JJ Watt: 'Sacks are huge. Strip sacks are even better'

Brandon Scott
October 02, 2019 - 6:46 pm

HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610) -- The matchup seems perfect for the Texans. 

Atlanta comes into NRG Stadium with a minus-5 in turnover differential -- only the Miami Dolphins are worse. 

The Texans had three strip sacks against the Carolina Panthers and recovered them all. 

Whitney Mercilus, who leads the Texans with five sacks and four forced fumbles, told Payne & Pendergast earlier this week the defense isn’t putting extra emphasis on turning the other team over. 

JJ Watt, who has three sacks on the season, said the same Wednesday.

They’ve always emphasized getting to the ball. But it is coming together this season.

Falcons head coach Dan Quinn has noticed.

“We’re actually sitting at -5 (in turnover differential) and that’s a big factor in our record (1-3)," Quinn said. "For us to make sure they don’t (force turnovers), especially with the rushers, I think Mercilus might have four (forced turnovers) already. So that’s a big number to start off. If you have seven or eight in a year, that’s a helluva year. … 

“They do a good job of using different guys in different roles. We have been impressed by them for sure.”

The Texans and Falcons are both coming off disappointing losses. 

Tennessee was able to run and pass the ball effectively to beat Atlanta 24-10, while Houston’s offense struggled against Carolina losing 16-10.

Houston’s defense, however, ranks sixth in the league in sacks. And it was a turnover-inducing machine in the Carolina game.

“We’ve done a good job of that this year," Texans head coach Bill O'Brien said. "Obviously, in the last game we did a really good job of that. Hopefully, that continues. I think our guys do a really good job, whether it’s rushing the passer or trying to get the ball out … I think everybody tries to do that in this league. And just have to keep working on that in practice and hopefully we can keep it going with that department because it’s been good for us.”

The Texans only scored a touchdown on one of those strip sacks against Carolina. 

If Houston is able to get Matt Ryan to throw his seventh interception, or sack him for an 11th time and knock away the football, they have to capitalize 

“That’s our goal every game,” Watt said. “The more turnovers and takeaways you get as a defense, the better position you put your offense in, the better position you put your team in. We got three last game. We want to continue to get those and the more we can get, whether it’s putting up points, whether it’s giving the ball back to our offense so they can put up points. However we can help contribute to winning the game, that’s our goal. …

“Sacks are huge. Strip sacks are even better.”

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