Texans pass rush stuck in neutral vs Chargers

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Matt Patterson/AP/Shutterstock (13095653ao) Houston Texans defensive lineman Thomas Booker (56) during pregame warmups before an NFL preseason game against the New Orleans Saints, in Houston Saints Texans Football, Houston, United States – 13 Aug 2022

Texans pass rush stuck in neutral vs Chargers

It was the first time this year they failed to generate pressure.

It was a part of the game the Texans hoped to capitalize on. Getting their hands on a banged-up Justin Herbert, with the Chargers’ quarterback dealing with fractured rib cartilage. It’s an injury that can be very painful for a quarterback, especially one who is getting hit a lot. A painful core injury that can make it hard to get off strong throws under duress.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t something the Texans could exploit.

For the first time in four games this season, the Texans failed to generate any kind of consistent pressure on the quarterback. Houston was only able to sack Herbert one time and managed only two hits on him the entire game, a game he dropped back to pass 40 times.

Week 1 against the Colts, facing Matt Ryan, the Texans recorded two sacks and seven quarterback hits. The Colts have a good offensive line and Ryan is a savvy quarterback who knows how to stare down a rush and get rid of the ball just in time.

Week 2, facing the mobile Russell Wilson, the Texans took him down three times and hit him seven more times. They kept Wilson under duress for most of three quarters.

In Week 3, facing a Bears team with an inexperienced quarterback who doesn’t have many weapons in the pass game, they sacked Justin Fields five times, with nine quarterback hits. Fields only threw 17 passes.

On Sunday, Justin Herbert had all the time he wanted to throw, and it allowed him to pick the Texans pass coverage apart at will. Herbert threw for 340 yards, connecting on passes to eight different receivers. Three different receivers had at least five receptions.

While the Texans secondary may be more athletic than it was a year ago, it is still young and mostly inexperienced. They are still having communication issues, as evidenced on the 50 yard pass play to Mike Williams when Stingley handed him off to apparently no one, and the two Austin Ekeler receptions on the Chargers final touchdown drive where he caught passes to convert a 4th & 2 and a touchdown on the exact same play. Ekeler was wide open both times.

If the Texans are going to have any success this season, it is imperative the pass rush show up consistently. They aren’t good enough to cover, particularly over the middle and in the flats, and their run defense is the worst in the NFL. Their failures to get pressure made a huge negative impact against the Chargers this afternoon.

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