JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — After the Houston Texans’ Zero-Three begin, head coach Invoice O’Brien preached the last word soccer cliché — that if his gamers took it one recreation at at time and continued to point out enchancment, the crew could be the place they needed to be by the top of the season.
It is solely Week 7, however the Texans have actually taken that to coronary heart. On Sunday towards the Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston performed its most full recreation of the season, a 20-7 victory. The Texans lastly performed complementary soccer and dominated an opposing crew for almost all of the sport.
Houston was in final place within the AFC South after three video games, however after their Sunday victory in Jacksonville — their fourth win in a row — the Texans have sole possession of first place within the division.
The Texans are simply the sixth crew within the Tremendous Bowl period to win 4 straight video games after beginning Zero-Three, in keeping with ESPN Stats & Data. Solely a type of groups, the 1998 Buffalo Payments, made the playoffs.
So how have they carried out it?
Throughout the profitable streak, the Texans’ protection has appeared significantly better, particularly within the final three weeks after they have allowed simply 36 complete factors. They allowed 74 factors throughout their Zero-Three begin.
The Texans’ protection has gotten a robust move rush for a lot of the season — led by J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney — however previously 4 video games, the secondary has proven a variety of enchancment as effectively. Within the final two weeks, the Texans have pressured three misplaced fumbles and have intercepted three passes, together with one for a pick-six.
Lamar Miller carried the ball 22 instances for 100 yards and a landing towards the Jaguars. Scott Halleran/Getty ImagesAnd towards the Jaguars, the Texans have been lastly in a position to have success on the bottom. On Sunday, Houston relied closely on the working recreation within the first half, one thing that has not been profitable throughout this profitable streak and one thing O’Brien has stated the crew must get higher at to take some strain off of quarterback Deshaun Watson.
“We all the time should attempt to set up the working recreation. I am undecided if there’s any crew within the league that may simply go on the market and throw,” O’Brien stated on Friday. “I believe being balanced and ensuring that you just’re doing the very best job you’ll be able to to combine it up is the way you wish to begin the sport and hopefully go all through the sport like that.”
Houston did that early, as working again Lamar Miller ran for 75 yards within the first half, probably the most earlier than halftime by a Texans working again since Week 1 of the 2016 season. He completed the sport with 100 yards on 22 carries and a landing.
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Watson did his half to make the most of the success on the bottom, enjoying by way of accidents to his ribs and lung. He accomplished 12 of 24 passes for 139 yards and a landing and didn’t throw an interception for the primary time this season.
Whereas the primary three video games of their profitable streak may have gone both means — wins in Week four towards the Indianapolis Colts and Week 5 towards the Dallas Cowboys got here in extra time by a subject aim — the Texans have been in a position to beat the Jaguars comfortably. This Week 7 victory is the primary recreation the Texans have received this season by greater than a landing.
There is definitely nonetheless loads of season left — and the Texans solely maintain a one-game lead within the division — however Houston has a good schedule the remainder of the way in which. In line with ESPN’s Soccer Energy Index, coming into the sport, Houston has the second-easiest schedule remaining. If the Texans can proceed to play full video games like they did on Sunday towards the Jaguars, Houston ought to have the ability to make the most of the upcoming schedule the remainder of the way in which.