We don't have particularly long memories of human beings, but I'm guessing that if you're a Texans fan, the play that is burned into your retinas from last Thursday night is the Eagles converting a Third and 19 in the fourth quarter that led to the game-icing touchdown. It was disgusting, and a sure sign that the Texans zone defense is coordinated by someone who has deserved to be fired for weeks, if not months.â†µ
But let me add this to the conversation: this isn't at all an extraordinary occurrence for the Texans defense. Sixty-one different times, the Texans have, via penalty/sack/tackle for loss or whathaveyou, managed to force the opposing offense into a down and distance situation where the distance to go was over 10. For instance, Second and 14, Third and 19, etc.â†µ
Even when the opposing offense gifts the Texans defense a down with a play like that, they're STILL allowing the offense to convert almost 50% of the time. Sixty-one different drives, 30 first down or touchdown conversions. But wait, context can make this look even worse! Five of the drives that the Texans successfully stopped ended in field goal attempts, meaning that the opposing offense was probably okay with the drive ending prematurely so that they could get a chance for three more points.â†µ
And of course, the most important adjustment: The Rusty Smith adjustment. Take out games in which the opposing offense employed a sub-standard college quarterback, and the numbers drop to 29 for 53. Counting the field goals, the Texans defense is allowing a mind-boggling 64% set of downs in which the opponent has given away a down to be converted for a first down or points.â†µ
But they still have a playoff chance! Feel free to believe! They're totally changing everything!