Even without three-time NFL defensive player of the year J.J. Watt for most of last year, the Texans still led the league in total defense. Houston, in fact, ranked in the top 10 in total defense five of the past six seasons, with Watt the face of the franchise.
Scoring was the Texans’ problem, as they ranked no better than 14th in points the previous four seasons.
Amazing how a franchise quarterback can change the identity of a team overnight.
“Everything has flipped, turned 180 degrees from last season,” owner Bob McNair said, via John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. “We knew our defense was good last year, and we would keep teams from scoring a lot of points. If the offense just didn’t turn the ball over and could score a few points, we could win the game. This season, we know we’re going to score a lot of points. If our defense keeps teams from scoring too much, we can win.”
The Texans have lost defensive end J.J. Watt and outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus to season-ending injuries, and inside linebacker Brian Cushing is serving a 10-game suspension.
But rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson gives the Texans hope.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that he’s the franchise quarterback, the present and the future,” McNair said. “He means everything to our offense.”
The Texans are averaging 29.5 points, 11.5 more than they did through six games last season. They have averaged 34 points in the five games Watson has started.
Watson has 15 touchdown passes and two rushing touchdowns, the same numbers Brock Osweiler in his one season in Houston.