For the third week in a row, the Texans have improved their turnover differential to plus-four on the season, forcing takeaways without offering any in return. On Sunday at Denver, Houston converted an early fumble into a touchdown while not turning the ball over in the 19-7 win against the Broncos.
“Yeah, tough place to win,” head coach Bill O’Brien said. “I’ve been out here several times. It’s a really difficult place to win. They’ve got great fans and a great football team. Very well-coached team. I’m very proud of our guys. They didn’t do everything right, but didn’t turn the ball over, which was big. Obviously, the defense came up big at the end. I thought our special teams played pretty well all day too, so we did a good job in those areas.”
Early in the second quarter, defensive lineman Brandon Dunn forced a fumble on running back Devontae Booker on Denver’s third offensive series of the game. Rookie safety Justin Reid then recovered the fumble to give Houston possession at the Broncos 22-yard line. Three plays later, Deshaun Watson connected with DeAndre Hopkins on a 16-yard touchdown pass. Hopkins also caught a nine-yard pass on the previous play. The Texans, after a missed extra point attempt, took a 13-3 lead with 11:10 left in the second quarter.
The fumble recovery was Houston’s 15th takeaway of the season. Reid has two interceptions and one fumble recovery through his first nine NFL games.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Texans have not committed a turnover in 13 quarters. Deshaun Watson has thrown eight touchdowns and zero interceptions in the last three games against Jacksonville, Miami and Denver.
“It is always big on every level,” Deshaun Watson said. “A turnover is giving a possession to the opposing team and seeing how they can capitalize with it. We do not want them to have it. We play complimentary football and try to fit the field and drive 80 to 90 yards to score. (We are trying to) take care of the football and making sure we do that. If we do that, the chances of us winning are very high.”
The Texans improved their record to 17-1 when winning the turnover battle under O’Brien (2014-18). Houston’s 94.44 winning percentage is tied for second-best in the NFL over that span.
With their sixth consecutive win, the Texans improve to 6-3 on the season heading into the bye week.