Did The Texans Defense Overachieve In 2019?

There wasn't a lot of talent and it showed throughout the season

Brandon Scott
January 15, 2020 - 12:51 pm

HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610) -- Most metrics indicate the Texans' defense wasn't very good in 2019.

They gave up the fourth-most opposing passing yards; the fifth-most passing touchdowns; eighth-most pass completions; the fourth-most yards after the catch on completions and the most of any playoff team. 

Despite blitzing almost 33 percent of the time per dropback, which was eighth-most in the league, Houston's defense was next to last in percentage of quarterback hurries per dropback (at 6.8 percent, only the Dolphins were worse). 

There wasn't a lot of talent on defense and it showed throughout the season. 

But you have to give them some credit. The defense had its moments.

Remember Justin Reid's goal line stand on a two-point conversion attempt by Leonard Fournette in Week 2. 

Against the Chargers, they had five sacks and Whitney Mercilus forced a fumble. This was during his hot streak in the first few weeks of the season.

The defense held Carolina to 16 points and had two strip sacks on Kyle Allen, but the offense couldn't do better than 10 points that day.

There were more big plays -- Tashaun Gipson Sr.'s interception against the Chiefs in Week 6; holding the Jaguars to three points in London (the Jags' second home and a place Texans had never played); wins against the Colts and Patriots were solid defensively.

We can also point to those embarrassing performances against the Ravens, Broncos and in the playoffs against Kansas City.

The point is that this defense overachieved in 2019.

They were also banged up, at times missing key players like J.J. Watt, cornerback Bradley Roby, safety Tashaun Gipson Sr., and linebacker Dylan Cole. 

Fans want the Texans' coaches gone after how they went out against the Chiefs, allowing 41 straight points after being spotted a 24-0 lead in the second quarter.

Whether defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, who will be 73 years old next season, returns is still up in the air. 

Bill O'Brien said he expects Crennel back. And Bill O'Brien is expected to be back as well. 

But it's important to recognize that offensively, the Texans' talent couldn't overcome its coaching.

And defensively, the Texans' coaching couldn't overcome its lack of talent and bad injury luck.

"I think Romeo Crennel has done an admirable job this year overcoming the loss of several players, not just superstars and not just at critical positions," Clint Stoerner said Tuesday. "But he’s done an admirable job overcoming games with players missing at all three levels of the defense.

"He deserves to be saluted for the fact that his guys held on to the rope and creatively, schematically, they were able to do some things defensively that allowed the Texans to win 11 football games this year."

Former Texans offensive lineman Wade Smith said he thought the Texans defense overachieved this season. 

"There were multiple times this season where going into ball games, I had no confidence that the defense was going to be able to play at a very high level," Wade said. "I was expecting the offense to be the one to carry the team and the exact opposite thing happened. The defense stepped up and played really good ball games."

ListenThe Future of Romeo Crennel, and the Problems with the Texans Defense

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