When Jacob Martin returned to Houston, he felt like he was back home again.
The Texans had just acquired the second-year linebacker, as well as veteran linebacker Barkevious Mingo, in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks on August 31. Martin grew up in the Katy area, until his family moved to Colorado in elementary school.
"I never really got to live in Houston," Martin said. "I never really got to experience Houston, like in your teen years when you are actually going places and exploring the city and things like that. We came back and visited often, quite frequently, but we ended up moving to Colorado and I lived out there for 10 to 13 years."
Now a Houston Texan, Martin has embraced his roots. He's often seen arriving to games wearing a cowboy hat and boots. He transitioned just as seamlessly into the defense and with the linebackers group, who affectionately refer to themselves as 'The Rockboyz.'
"I'd say the energy is just right with those guys, everyone just meshes together really well," Martin said. "Me and Mingo obviously know each other, but I've always watched Whitney Mercilus from afar. And Scar (Brennan Scarlett), that's a great dude, but that's a bad dude, that's a bad dude, man."
Head coach Bill O'Brien once praised Martin for speed off the edge and his ability to get to the quarterback, saying he played "100 miles per hour." Martin also brings a work ethic that has paid off, practicing as hard as he plays. Through 14 games in the regular season, Martin recorded 11 tackles (six solo), three tackles for loss, a single-season high 3.5 sacks for a loss of 27.0 yards, seven quarterback hits, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery on special teams.
"Jacob plays with great effort, plays hard, he plays fast," O'Brien said. "We line him up in different spots, plays on special teams. Jacob's been a really good addition to our team, had a huge fumble recovery, sack. He just does a lot of different things. He plays hard, plays hard and tries to do what we're coaching him to do. He's a smart, tough, dependable guy."
Martin credits his family mantra, 'Nothing beats failure but a try.' He brings an intensity and speed to the game, but also attention to detail.
"I am a big believer that how you do anything is how you do everything," Martin said. "It may seem like I'm going 100 mph all of the time, which might be the case, but it's very controlled, very detail-oriented. Making sure my foot work is right or my hand placement, it's those little aspects of my game. Those little things that you can teach your body to consistently do, it just becomes second nature."
In the Texans 22-19 playoff win against the Buffalo Bills, Martin made two big plays in the fourth quarter. After Whitney Mercilus sacked Josh Allen, Martin scooped up the resulting fumble. The Texans offense took over at mid-field and converted the takeaway into points when Ka'imi Fairbairn kicked a 41-yard field goal six plays later. Then on fourth-and-27 with just 1:41 remaining, Martin sacked Allen for a loss of 19 yards to end Buffalo's drive.
"He goes out there, plays at a really, really intense high level," Mercilus said. "Has a great motor as well too so it's great to have him out there. He's got a repertoire of moves as well too, so it was a great addition to have him in this locker room and the type of chemistry we have between each other and everybody on the line makes for great plays, especially for him."
Martin finished his second-career postseason game with a one solo tackle, 1.0 sack, one fumble recovery, one tackle for loss and two quarterback hits. He also became the first player in Texans history to record a sack and fumble recovery in the same game.
Check out the best Wild Card images from Texans team photographer Zach Tarrant. Presented by Houston Methodist.