Defensive turnaround has helped key win streak

The Texans are a long way from 2-5.

On October 25th, the players and coaches walked off the field at Miami's Sun Life Stadium after a demoralizing loss to the Dolphins. They surrendered 41 first half points, and scored none of their own before the intermission. After the break, the defense allowed a Miami field goal, and the offense mustered 26 points of its own.

At the time, it didn't seem like much, but in a way it was a turning point.

Houston's now 5-5, and tied with the Colts for first place in the AFC South. In yesterday's win over the Jets, New York found the end zone in the third quarter, and they were the first team to do in a span of 12 quarters…dating back to that loss at Miami.

A home win over the Titans followed, and then came the week off.

"I think the bye came at a good time for us," head coach Bill O'Brien said. "We came in here and we just reevaluated, coaches players, everybody, basically said, 'Hey look, it's a new season'. Thankfully we were still in it at that point."

They were still in it, and believed that to be the case, even if it wasn't a shared sentiment outside of team headquarters.

"A lot of people wrote us off at 2-5," defensive end J.J. Watt said. "A lot of people wrote us off, so you're always playing with a chip on your shoulder."

 

Watt and the Texans defense has given up an average of 9.7 points per contest in the three-game win streak. In the seven games prior, they were blasted for just over 28 per. The turnaround defensively, though, hasn't been a surprise to linebacker Brian Cushing.

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"I was not amazed because I knew we had the potential," Cushing said. "I knew we had it in us and we just had to get it done and we finally are."

Safety Andre Hal agreed, and pointed out an improvement in tackling as one of the keys.

"We came together and we put together and we're winning now," Hal said. "Everybody's running to the ball, everybody's playing great defense."

Drew Brees and the Saints come to NRG Stadium this Sunday. O'Brien was quick to point out that a "good" New Orleans team heads to town coming off a bye week, with a "great" coaching staff.

The players are off on Tuesday, and will return to practice at the Houston Methodist Training Center on Wednesday.

Check out some of the best action shots from Sunday's game against the Jets.

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