Head coach Gary Kubiak and the Texans had a frustrating day against the Jets.
The Texans lost to the New York Jets 24-7 in their regular season opener at Reliant Stadium. The offense never got going, and the defense couldn't quite come up with several potential turnovers.
Missed opportunities:Before John Busing's interception in the fourth quarter, the Texans had four near takeaways that could have changed the complexion of the game. All four of the would-be turnovers came on eventual scoring drives for the Jets.
Two came on the same drive in the first quarter. First, Zac Diles got within inches of making a diving interception at the Jets 43-yard line. Mario Williams pressured Mark Sanchez into making a bad pass on the play. Five plays later, Thomas Jones fumbled the ball at the Texans' 26-yard line, but Jones fell on the ball before a diving Nick Ferguson could get to it. The Jets wound up with a 24-yard field goal that put them up 3-0.
In the second quarter, Williams had a potential interception slip through his hands on a second-and-nine play from the Jets 38. He had dropped back into coverage and was in perfect position for the interception, but he couldn't come down with Sanchez's pass after making a leaping attempt. The Jets scored on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Sanchez to Chansi Stuckey seven plays later.
On the first possession of the third quarter, Jones fumbled again deep in Texans territory. Once again, it was recovered by the Jets. Four plays later, Jones scored on a one-yard touchdown to give the Jets a 17-0 lead.
Third down conversions:The Texans were 3-of-10 on third down (30 percent). The Jets were 10-of-18 (56 percent). The Texans' defense consistently forced the Jets into third-and-long situations, and Sanchez continually made plays to move the chains. The rookie often extended plays with his feet by moving around to buy time in the pocket.
"He's a good player," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "We were there making him move, and he made a lot of plays off schedule. He did it preseason, he did it in college, and I told our guys he would come in here and do it here and he did. He did a great job."
Ravens redux:The Jets brought relentless defensive pressure under coach Rex Ryan, evoking memories of when Ryan's Ravens defense caused four turnovers in a 41-13 victory at Reliant Stadium last season.
The Jets had two sacks, eight quarterback hits and six tackles for loss on Sunday with the Texans playing from behind for most of the game.
"We saw the same things that they did when he was at Baltimore," Kubiak said. "Because of the position we had ourselves in, we went against the nickel defense two-and-a-half quarters. By no means did we think we would have ourselves in that position in the football game."
Wide receiver Andre Johnson, who was being covered by Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis, had only four catches for 35 yards.
"They pretty much did some of the same things they did to us last year when (Ryan) was with the Ravens," Johnson said. "I was seeing a lot of double coverage today."
Cushing strong in debut:Rookie Brian Cushing tied DeMeco Ryans for the team lead with eight tackles in his pro debut. Cushing started at strongside linebacker after not playing a down in the preseason because of a sprained left knee.
"He was all over the field making big plays on third-and-short," said Sanchez, Cushing's teammate at USC. "He's a tough player, and I'm sure the O-line can attest to that."
Big play for Busing:Busing provided the biggest spark of the game for the Texans, intercepting Sanchez early in the fourth quarter. Busing fumbled the ball after returning it 15 yards, but safety Dominique Barber bailed him out by scooping it up and running 48 yards for a touchdown.
Busing had a strong preseason, coming up with two takeaways in the Texans' preseason finale at Tampa Bay. He had a chance to get on the field on Sunday because free safety Eugene Wilson was out with a knee injury.
"He keeps doing his job," Kubiak said. "He played a little bit today because we only had three safeties going into the game. Obviously, he makes a big play that after it's all said in done gave us a chance to get back in the ballgame, but they turned around and answered. The kid does some good stuff."
Busing also had three solo tackles and a pass defensed.
"I was just ready when my number was called," he said. "Any time I go in there, I'm going to give it everything I've got and try to make some plays."