The ugly: The Houston Texans were extremely efficient on third downs
The most notable ugly thing that stood out from this win was the fact that the Houston Texans were pretty much able to do whatever they wanted on third down in this game. While there were big plays outside of third-down that are also concerning, it was the Saints’ inability to close a drive for most of the game that hurt them.
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Don’t get me wrong, there were drives in which the defense buckled down and got the stop on third down. But for the most part, the Texans were able to extend drives much longer than they should have.
The Texans converted eight of 14 chances on either third down or fourth down in this game. After two three-and-outs to start the game, the Texans offense really started to get efficient on third down.
The first touchdown of the game came on a 21-yard rush by Deshaun Watson on fourth and one. On the Texans’ next touchdown drive, the Saints defense allowed five third-down conversions. Three of the five were from six yards or further.
Again, on the Texans’ first drive of the second half, they converted on a third and 10 and a third and eight. Then, finally, the Saints’ defense was able to buckle down and force two more punts before letting up the two-play drive touchdown.
The Saints showed some flashes of great defense in this game when the crowd really got behind them, but for the most part, it was the defense’s inconsistency on third down that kept the Texans in this game.