Texans Special Teams: 8 Negative Plays That Lost the Colts Game
Among the numerous statistical conundrums that define the 2013 Houston Texans, perhaps the one most often mentioned is the fact that the Texans' defense somehow ranks first in the NFL in fewest yards allowed per game.
Photos by Groovehouse A special-teams hug.
Out of respect before each game and then perhaps to inflate their own accomplishment of defeating the Texans after the game, the Texans' opponents will often construe that stat to mean the Texans have the "best defense in football."
We -- me, you and even said opponents -- know that's not the case. For a variety of reasons, there exists a stark dichotomy between the Texans' yardage defense (1st in the league) and their points allowed defense (27th in the league).
Reasons abound. There are the slew of pick-sixes thrown by the offense slightly inflating the points-allowed numbers, there is the awful red zone defense that allows touchdowns at an alarming rate, and there is the fact that in the blowout losses, opponents have essentially volunteered to go three and out just to finish the game and go home.
And then there's special teams. The "empty" yards, the silent killer of every seemingly benign box score.
The Texans' special teams are horrific. They've failed the rest of the team in some way in every game this season, and several games the past few seasons. Sunday's game against the Colts was true to this form.
On Sunday night, the Texans rushed for more than twice the yardage that the Colts did, threw for nearly 100 yards more, didn't turn the ball over once, gave up only one sack and won the time-of-possession battle by a 36:12 to 23:48 count.
And still they lost 27-24. Why?
Well, for a handful of reasons, some tactical and some likely emotional, but probably the biggest on-field reason was the continued fatal performance of the special teams units. And it wasn't just one component of special teams; there were leaks springing everywhere. Kickoff coverage, kickoff return, punt team, punt return, placekicking.
How bad was it? Well, by my count there were 31 total special teams plays. Four of those were PAT kicks, so since those are virtually never botched, we will remove those from the mix. So 27 special teams plays altogether. The breakdown goes like this: