After giving up 29 points in their opening game against Jacksonville, the Texans defense bounced back with a resounding win in Cincinnati just four days later.
“Tonight we came out here and we settled down,” J.J. Watt said. “We played with our technique with our fundamentals. We just came out and we were physical and tough and that’s what we want to do. It wasn’t pretty. It had its ups and downs but at the end of the day we came out with a win and that’s all we want.”
Houston’s defense recorded three sacks, one turnover and did not allow a touchdown in the Thursday night win over the Bengals. Kareem Jackson forced a fumble that was returned 49 yards by Jadeveon Clowney. The Texans also wanted improve against the run after allowing 155 yards rushing in Week 1. They did, allowing just 82 net yards rushing by the Bengals.
“We had a plan going into the game and the defense executed it to a T,” Christian Covington said. “When you hold an offense to more field goal attempts, that’s something to be proud of. That’s definitely something we want to build on.”
Injuries continued to mount for the defense, when Johnathan Joseph and Kevin Johnson exited the game following injuries in the second and third quarter, respectively. Jackson stepped up, leading the team with seven tackles, five solo, two tackles for loss, one quarterback hit, in addition to the sack and forced fumble.
After losing Brian Cushing to a ten-game suspension that went into effect Thursday, rookies Zach Cunningham and Dylan Cole stepped up while Benardrick McKinney had his first multi-sack game with two sacks on Andy Dalton.
“I saw Cunningham in on a lot of plays," O'Brien said. "Dylan Cole’s been making plays since he got in here. Somebody has to step up when somebody goes down and I thought those guys did that. We had a few guys that went down in the secondary and guys stepped up and made plays there too. So it was good to see.”