Whitney Mercilus starts 2016 the way he ended 2015

Whitney Mercilus picked up right where he left off in 2015.

The outside linebacker finished Sunday's win over Chicago with a pair of sacks, a forced fumble, a tackle for loss and four total tackles. But he was very modest in describing how he did it.

"Yeah man, just a couple one-on-ones, and the help of my teammates to make it happen," Mercilus said. "So I just went out there and rushed as hard as I could. I ended up with two sacks."

His first sack of Jay Cutler came in the second quarter on a third down play when he dropped the quarterback for a 7-yard loss. In the final quarter, he strip-sacked Cutler. Including the postseason, it was the third straight game Mercilus tallied multiple sacks in a contest. Such a performance was no suprise to fellow defender Jadeveon Clowney.

 

"That was great, we expect that out of him," Clowney said. "We came into the game with a game plan, run everything and try to get to the quarterback. We were all racing to get to the quarterback. He got there tonight."

Mercilus has flourished, according to head coach Bill O'Brien, in large part to the guidance he's received from his position coach.

"He's a guy that has really improved every single year," O'Brien said. "He's coached really well by Mike Vrabel. They have a great relationship. Mike drives him very hard and I think he really likes that. He's ended up adding moves to his pass rush repertoire, I think he's done a good job against the run and he's a team guy. He's just a really good team guy."

Mercilus and the defense tallied five sacks on the day, and held the Bears scoreless in the second half. Additionally, they limited Chicago to just 31 percent on third down. He said it's all about the rest of the defense knowing the scheme and their roles within it. 

"More chemistry," Mercilus said. "Guys know the ability of each other. We just trust each other. We know if somebody has a job to do, we trust that he's going to do his job which is to go out there and make plays. That's exactly what happened."

Mercilus and the Texans will host the Chiefs next Sunday at NRG Stadium.

Check out the best photos throughout the Texans first regular season game vs. the Bears.

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