With a depleted lineup on a short week, the Houston Texans defense made plays in Thursday night's game against the Carolina Panthers. The Texans finished with a season-high three sacks, all on consecutive drives to finish the second quarter. They also recorded five quarterback hits, three tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles in the 24-9 loss.
"I felt confident in the defense," Head Coach David Culley said. "I felt good. They played really well in the first half. I think what happened in the second half is the fact that we weren't able to maintain any drives in the second half offensively, and obviously, they were on the field. And now I felt like that there was some big plays that we gave up on defense that normally we haven't been giving up that kept drives alive, but for the most part, I felt like they played very well other than the fact that we gave up some big plays when we felt like we would be able to get them off the field, and we didn't do that."
In his first game this season, Jonathan Greenard had a strip-sack on Sam Darnold for a loss of six. Greenard, now in his second year with the Texans, was inactive for the first two games. He also added four tackles, one tackle for loss, one quarterback hit, and one forced fumble.
"I left some plays out there," said Greenard. "I feel like it was a good game to get my feet back under me in a game situation, fast pace, but definitely always some room for improvement, but it was solid. I know I could do better."
With two minutes remaining in the first half, Whitney Mercilus sacked Darnold for a loss of seven yards. Mercilus now has 2.0 sacks on the season. On the last play of the second quarter, Ross Blacklock strip-sacked the Panthers quarterback for a loss of seven for his first career sack and first career forced fumble. Blacklock finished with two tackles, one quarterback hit, one forced fumble in addition to the sack.
"Pass rush was definitely a little better this week rather than last week," Blacklock said. "Guys got a lot of action, got a couple stripped balls, a sack. We pride ourself in D-line room just to be productive in any way, form, or fashion. So tonight was good, but we can always be better. I know we'll look at the film and we'll learn and we'll get better from there and then we'll just keep moving forward."
The Texans were without Justin Reid, Terrance Mitchell and Jordan Jenkins due to injuries for Thursday's game.
The Texans will next travel to Buffalo to play the Bills on Oct. 3.
See the Texans at home as they host the New England Patriots on October 10th. Kickoff is set for noon CT. Click here for tickets.
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