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Defense Led the Way for Texans
Although Houston didn't register any sacks, the Texans pressured the Browns duo of young quarterbacks into numerous incompletions and three interceptions. Cleveland quarterbacks combined for just 13 completions in 32 passing attempts for only 145 yards.
"Well, what we did was we said – I think I kind of said this earlier, but we've been making mistakes, but we have been lacking some aggression through mistakes," Kubiak explained. "And what we needed to do, regardless of making them, we needed to be aggressive and make plays. So, we stayed aggressive defensively; we did. We went after them. And we're going to look at our share of mistakes along the way, but we're going to see a great deal of plays. And if you get five turnovers in a game, you are going to find a way to win even if you are struggling on offense in the second half."
The Texans coaching staff has been under fire this season for the way the disappointing season has gone, but Coach Kubiak gave his defensive coordinator, Richard Smith a vote of confidence after Sunday's win—
"I respect Richard and how he works. I watch a guy – I mean, he never goes home. He's doing everything he can to make this thing work. The whole defensive side of the ball is working their tail off. It's really not, like a said, a matter of who's doing it. It's a matter of how we are doing it, and (we will) continue to work at it. I never give the sense that we can't get it done. So, we've kept working. Our confidence has stayed high and everybody's kept a positive attitude, and it showed today."
Whereas the Texans defense laid back quite a bit in coverage against Indianapolis last week, trying not to get beat by the deep ball, they were picked apart by the great Peyton Manning. This week, the philosophy was different, as they decided to go after the inexperienced Cleveland signal callers.
"We have kind of been full circle with this," Kubiak explained. "We hit a point in the season where we were making too many mistakes and we need to settle down. We are playing some young kids; we need to get simpler and be more aggressive. I think we did that for a period of time, but you know that starts to run out. When you are playing Peyton Manning last week and you're not showing him enough looks and you are simple before the day's over, he's going to get after you. So, we kind of went back the other way today and said, ‘Let's be more aggressive. Regardless of if we give up some plays, we need to be more aggressive in what we are doing."
Kubiak went into some more detail about the aggressiveness—
"I can't give you a count, but we had a lot of pressures that we called. We went after them on some third-and 10s. We went after them on fourth-and-10 and gave up a slant route right for a big first down there in the fourth quarter. But we preached aggression. Our players, what we tried to do was let them know that if we are wrong and get one up, they come on back and make the next one. We're not going to won't let that play get us down, and it kind of showed today."
Texans cornerback Jacques Reeves has had a rough season after signing a wealthy free agent deal this spring. Reeves rebounded on Sunday with six tackles, one forced fumble, and his third interception of the season, which sealed the deal for Houston.
Reeves spoke about the interception. "It means we got a chance to get off the field. Kind of guaranteed the win for us. I guess it was a big deal. That's it; guaranteed a win for us."
Reeves also spoke of his team's motivation entering Sunday, despite having not much to play for.
"We had to get the win, man," Reeves explained. "We've been preaching it all week. We wanted to come out and play hard, play fast, play with a little intensity – a little more intensity, rather – and I think we did that today. We got five turnovers, and we also preached that all week. That was huge for us."
The formula for victory was different for the Texans on Sunday, as they used physical play and tough defense to win on the road in the cold, instead of trying to get into a shootout. Perhaps Texans fans will see this formula and this result a little bit more this year.
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