Plus 1 last week. Victory.
Plus 4 in Week 2. Victory.
It's not an absolute formula, but it's been absolutely nice for the Texans in their first pair of games in 2014. With two fumble recoveries and two interceptions in Sunday's 30-14 drubbing of the Raiders, the Texans won the turnover battle once again.
"Yeah, those are big," head coach Bill O'Brien said. "If you're the team that doesn't turn it over and the other team does turn it over, then you've got a heck of a shot to win and our team is doing a pretty good job of that right now."
So good, in fact, that they've forced six turnovers through the first couple of victories, while committing just one of their own. Aside from losing a fumble at home against Washington, the Texans have been clean in that regard. Interceptions and fumbles were a big part of their undoing in 2013, but so far in 2014, the script has been flipped.
"We do a great job of trying to get in there and trying to get the ball out," defensive end J.J. Watt said. "I think we've had some success. Obviously our defensive backs the last few weeks have done a great job forcing turnovers. Hopefully we can continue that trend."
Watt helped contribute to the final turnover, as he collapsed the pocket and Derek Carr, helping deflect a pass that Brooks Reed plucked from the air. It gave the Texans the ball at Oakland's 11-yard line with 4:09 left in regulation.
Safety Kendrick Lewis had a strip on the game's wackiest play. He forced a fumble on James Jones, but the wide receiver scooped the ball back up and scampered for the end zone. Just before scoring, though, he was stripped again. Cornerback Johnathan Joseph forced that second fumble, and safety D.J. Swearinger recovered it for Houston. According to Lewis, trying to strip the ball has been a common theme under defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel.
"Guys are going after the ball, no matter if it's a running back breaking through, if it's a receiver catching the ball and turning up," Lewis said. "We're stripping at the ball, trying to cause turnovers any way we can."
In 2013, the Texans finished -20 in turnover ratio, with 31 turnovers of their own, and just 11 takeaways.