Houston aims to be NFL's top defense

    2012-11-14 17:49

(Eds: Adds details; quotes. With AP Photos.)
AP Sports Writer

HOUSTON (AP) - Just before the season, Houston defensive coordinator Wade Phillips was asked what he wanted from his defense in 2012 after the unit made a remarkable turnaround to finish second in the NFL in yards allowed last season.

Phillips didn't say a word. He simply raised one index finger.

The Texans haven't reached that mark yet, and they remain No. 2. That, they say, gives them something to work toward.

``We're working extremely hard to make that happen,'' defensive end J.J. Watt said. ``We attack every day with that intensity and that mentality.''

That was clear in Sunday night's 13-6 win over Chicago when Houston forced four turnovers.

The Texans are allowing 281.6 yards a game, behind only Pittsburgh. They are also among the top teams in several other defensive categories. Houston is third in scoring (15.9), tied for fourth in interceptions (11) and have allowed the third fewest touchdowns (15).

Houston has rebounded from its only loss - a 42-24 defeat by Green Bay - with three straight dominant defensive outings. They've allowed just one touchdown since the loss.

``It's important that we play well every week,'' nose tackle Shaun Cody said. ``We know we want to put our offense in a good position to get the ball a lot, and it's going to lead to some good things.''

Watt has emerged as one of the top defenders in the league. He leads the NFL in sacks with 10 1/2 and has knocked down 10 passes. The constant attention he receives has given other Texans chances to make plays. Outside linebacker Connor Barwin has come on lately, piling up 13 tackles and two sacks in the last three games.

The Texans have come a long, long way from the days when there were concerns about Phillips changing the alignment, and then in the offseason, Mario Williams and DeMeco Ryans left for other teams. More questions came when star linebacker Brian Cushing was lost for the season with a knee injury in Week 5 and the loss to the Packers came the next week.

The defense has been great since then, and Barwin said they are driven by the thought of becoming the best in the league.

``That's something that we've all thought about all year long,'' Barwin said. ``We pay attention to where we're at. At the end of the year is what matters. So hopefully at the end of the year we'll be No. 1.''

Houston's secondary has been helped by the solid play up front. Phillips inherited a pass defense that allowed an NFL-worst 267.5 yards passing per game in 2010. Last year, the group gave up the third fewest at just 189.7 yards a game.

They're currently in third again by allowing 196 yards passing a game.

Cornerback Johnathan Joseph, who along with Phillips sparked the transformation of the secondary last season, is focused on being the best defense. But he noted that the statistics aren't the top priority.

``We always want to be known as the best defense and the best team,'' he said. ``But in our minds it's all about helping the team win games by playing dominate defense and being the top defense. What's most important is winning ball games.''

The Texans have done a lot of that this season. They're off to the best start in franchise history and tied for the NFL's best record at 8-1. Joseph has been impressed that they've been able to remain one of the top defenses for a second straight season.

``Going out and doing it every week (is) probably the hardest part about having a great defense,'' he said. ``You see teams like Pittsburgh and Baltimore that did it for five, 10 years-plus. To go out and do it this last year and this year and keep up the same style of defense is something that you can build on and look toward the future.''

Houston plays Jacksonville on Sunday in a rematch of a Week 2 win by the Texans. Houston's defense starred in that 27-7 victory by allowing Jacksonville to gain just nine first downs and 117 yards.

The Texans are guarding against a letdown this week against the Jaguars (1-8).

``There's always room for improvement, but right now it's just about going out and being better than we were the week before,'' Joseph said.


Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Sean LeeOct 5 06:42p

Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee (concussion) is feeling better but will have to pass all of his concussion tests before he is cleared to play again, according to head coach Jason Garrett.

Lance DunbarOct 5 06:42p

Dallas Cowboys RB Lance Dunbar (knee) will miss the rest of the 2015 season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered in Week 4. He scheduled [ More ]

Ronnie BrownOct 5 05:32p

Free-agent RB Ronnie Brown (Chargers) re-signed with the San Diego Chargers Monday, Oct. 5, according to a source. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Andrew LuckOct 5 05:12p

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (shoulder) is expected to play in the Week 5 game against the Houston Texans Thursday, Oct. 8. Luck has a slightly separated throwing shoulder [ More ]

Sammy WatkinsOct 5 04:42p

Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins' (calf) status for the Week 5 game against the Tennessee Titans is uncertain at this point, according to head coach Rex Ryan. 'He looked [ More ]

Jordan ReedOct 5 04:42p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed's (concussion, knee, ankle) head injury is a real concern, according to head coach Jay Gruden. Reed has a long history of head injuries dating [ More ]

Daniel FellsOct 5 04:42p

New York Giants TE Daniel Fells (ankle) was placed on the season-ending Reserve/Injured list Monday, Oct. 5, due to a staph infection in his ankle. TE Will Tye was [ More ]

Antonio GatesOct 5 04:22p

San Diego Chargers TE Antonio Gates is in great shape and will be play in the Week 5 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, according to head coach Mike McCoy.

Ryan MallettOct 5 02:42p

Houston Texans QB Ryan Mallett will be the starting quarterback for the Week 5 game against the Indianapolis Colts Thursday, Oct. 8, according to head coach Bill O'Brien.

Christine MichaelOct 5 02:42p

Dallas Cowboys RB Christine Michael will have a role in the offense, according to executive vice president Stephen Jones, with RB Lance Dunbar (knee) possibly out for the rest [ More ]

Dez BryantOct 5 02:32p

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (foot) could return after the Cowboys' Week 6 bye, according to executive vice president Stephen Jones. Bryant recently had a positive examination of the [ More ]

Cecil Shorts IIIOct 5 02:12p

Houston Texans WR Cecil Shorts (shoulder) is considered doubtful for the Week 5 game against the Indianapolis Colts because of the dislocated shoulder he suffered in Week 4.

Alec OgletreeOct 5 02:12p

St. Louis Rams LB Alec Ogletree (ankle) will need surgery on his ankle, according to head coach Jeff Fisher. Ogletree is a candidate to be placed on the short-term Reserve/Injured list.

Dan CampbellOct 5 01:52p

Miami Dolphins tight ends coach Dan Campbell was named the team's interim head coach Monday, Oct. 5.

Julius ThomasOct 5 01:52p

Jacksonville Jaguars TE Julius Thomas (hand) is scheduled to meet with a doctor Monday, Oct. 5, and may be cleared for full practice after the meeting. His status for [ More ]

Caleb SturgisOct 5 01:32p

Philadelphia Eagles PK Caleb Sturgis will remain the team's kicker for the time being, according to head coach Chip Kelly.

Will MontgomeryOct 5 01:22p

Chicago Bears C Will Montgomery (leg) will miss the remainder of the 2015 season after he suffered a fractured tibia during the team's Week 4 game. He will need [ More ]

Josh JohnsonOct 5 01:22p

Indianapolis Colts QB Josh Johnson was released Monday, Oct. 5.

Colin KaepernickOct 5 01:02p

San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick was 13-for-25 for just 160 yards and an interception in the Week 4 loss to the Green Bay Packers. He also ran for 57 yards on 10 carries.

Kyle BrindzaOct 5 12:42p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers PK Kyle Brindza was released Monday, Oct. 5, after missing seven kicks in the last two weeks.

Joe PhilbinOct 5 11:52a

Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin was fired Monday, Oct. 5, according to Sun-Sentinel.

Willie SneadOct 5 11:02a

New Orleans Saints WR Willie Snead played 48 snaps (66% of the offense) Sunday, Oct. 4, in Week 4, while WR Brandon Coleman played just 19 for 26% of the offense.

Andrew LuckOct 5 10:12a

Updating an earlier report, Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (shoulder) is expected by the team to be under center Thursday, Oct. 8, against the Houston Texans. His shoulder injury [ More ]

Daniel FellsOct 5 09:52a

New York Giants TE Daniel Fells (foot) had an unexpected foot surgery and is likely headed to Injured Reserve, according to sources.

Jordan ReedOct 5 09:42a

Updating a previous report, Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (concussion) was diagnosed with a concussion Sunday, Oct. 4.

Andrew LuckOct 5 08:52a

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (shoulder) has a short week to prepare for Week 5, but he's trending toward being ready Thursday, Oct. 8, against the Houston Texans. 'He [ More ]

DeMarco MurrayOct 5 08:42a

Philadelphia Eagles RB DeMarco Murray said he's not getting enough touches in the offense Sunday, Oct. 4. 'No, I'm not,' Murray said. 'I don't think I am. It's how [ More ]

C.J. SpillerOct 5 01:42a

New Orleans Saints RB C.J. Spiller carried just twice for 10 yards in the Week 4 game against the Dallas Cowboys, but he had an 80-yard touchdown catch and [ More ]

Willie SneadOct 5 01:42a

New Orleans Saints WR Willie Snead posted six receptions for 89 yards in the Week 4 game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Mark IngramOct 5 01:42a

New Orleans Saints RB Mark Ingram carried 17 times for 77 yards in the Week 4 game against the Dallas Cowboys. He also added six receptions for 51 yards [ More ]

Drew BreesOct 5 01:42a

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees (shoulder) completed 33 of his 41 pass attempts for 359 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. His 80-yard touchdown pass to RB C.J. [ More ]

Brandon WeedenOct 5 01:12a

Dallas Cowboys QB Brandon Weeden completed 16 of his 26 pass attempts for 246 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions in the Week 4 overtime loss against the New [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
Player Notes:
Forum Posts:

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group