4 things to know about Houston’s undefeated preseason

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 14: Davis Mills #10 of the Houston Texans throw a pass against the Green Bay Packers in the first half during the preseason game at Lambeau Field on August 14, 2021 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) (Patrick McDermott, 2021 Getty Images)

HOUSTON – The Houston Texans are 2-0 in preseason play, looking better than every prediction has expected.

The offense is still a work in progress, but Houston’s totally remade defense has held its ground.

Turnovers improving

Houston had just nine takeaways in 2020. This was not only ranked worst in the NFL but has ranked among the worst defensive performances in recent years.

So far through two preseason games, the Texans have seven takeaways. In Saturday’s 20-14 win over Dallas, Houston picked up three interceptions and forced a fumble that they recovered early in the game.

Lonnie Johnson returned an interception for a touchdown in the third quarter to tie the game.

Pass rush active

The pass rush was a struggle last season, even with future Hall of Famer J.J. Watt on the line. Watt had his worst full season, with only five sacks. Whitney Mercilus had a down year and not many on the defensive line made a huge impact.

Watt is gone. Mercilus is still around, but last year’s rotational players like Charles Omenihu are making a bigger impact. Omenihu had two sacks and a fumble recovery Saturday night and was able to win almost every matchup with a tackle or tight end.

Jacob Martin had an early strip-sack, leading to Omenihu’s fumble recovery. Both are set to be big parts of Houston’s defensive line.

In the interior, Maliek Collins played a strong game and should be an upgrade over Brandon Dunn. Sixth-round pick Roy Lopez, Jr. had a sack Saturday, as well.

Offense still struggling in key moments

The Texans went 0-10 on third down. And other than scoring early with a short field to work with, Houston wasn’t able to get much going on offense. Davis Mills was fine but uninspiring.

Jeff Driskel came in late to put a bow on the game. The Texans only had two pass plays for more than 20 yards and one run for more than 10. The run was by Driskel. While the defense outwardly looks to be much improved, the offense is still a work in progress.

What’s next

The Texans come home for their final preseason game and their first home preseason game against the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Saturday at 7 p.m. at NRG Stadium.

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