HOUSTON (AP) — A week after vowing to improve their NFL-worst run defense, the Houston Texans had one of the worst performances against the run in franchise history in a loss to Tennessee.
The Texans (1-5-1) allowed a whopping 314 yards rushing behind a 219-yard performance by Derrick Henr y in the 17-10 loss. The 314 yards rushing are the second most the team has allowed in franchise history and most since giving up 320 in a 41-10 loss to Seattle in 2005.
“Defensively we haven’t been able to really stop the run all year, and (Sunday) that definitely showed up,” coach Lovie Smith said.
Ranked 31st in the NFL against the run last season by allowing 142.2 yards a game, Smith focused on improving in that area this year.
So far things have gone the opposite way with the Texans giving up 186 yards rushing a game to again rank last in the league — 30 yards more than the 31st-ranked Bears.
“When you have a hard time getting off of blocks and missed tackles, you have a hard time to getting their big running back down,” Smith said. “That was the day.”
Smith was asked if the team needed to return to fundamentals in practice this week to attempt to shore up its run defense.
“We’ve been getting back to the fundamentals,” he said. “Sometimes it just doesn’t happen, simple as that. We practice each week. Believe it or not, we go over the fundamentals. Some days you miss tackles. (Sunday) was one of those days.”
It’s hard to say anything is working on this team after the Texans gave up more than 300 yards rushing and didn’t crack 100 yards of offense until late in the fourth quarter. They join the Lions as the only teams in the NFL with just one win this season.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
Quarterback Davis Mills continues to play poorly in his second season. He had just 64 yards passing with an interception until Houston’s last drive when he finally moved the offense. He threw for 88 yards on that possession, capped by a 3-yard touchdown pass to Dameon Pierce, but it was too little, too late for the Texans who lost their second straight game since their only win of the season over Jacksonville Oct. 9.
“This week just shot ourselves in the foot too much,” Mills said. “Got in bad situations that are tough to get out of. I felt like that was kind of the story of the game. This was one of those games, can’t do much. Flush it and move on to next week.”
CB Steven Nelson had his first interception this season when he picked off rookie Malik Willis in the second quarter and returned it 33 yards.
Pierce struggled to run the ball after having several strong games that made him the top rookie rusher in the league. He caught the late touchdown, but managed just 35 yards on 15 carries after averaging more than 107 yards over the past three games.
“We’re a running football team and that’s something we pride ourselves on,” he said. “We were unable to do that (Sunday) unfortunately, but we’re going to get some things corrected up front and we’re going to make sure that we get this thing rolling going forward."
WR Nico Collins missed the game with a groin injury and will likely sit out this week. ... Houston DB Grayland Arnold injured a quadriceps in the second half and didn’t return. ... OL Justin McCray sustained a concussion Sunday.
2 — The Texans converted just 2 of 14 third down attempts Sunday.
After playing perhaps their worst game of the season, the Texans have just five days to regroup before a Thursday night visit by the undefeated Eagles.
“It would have been tough any team we play coming in right now,” Smith said. “But a team that hasn’t lost ... it’s going to be really tough. They’re arguably the best football team in our league right now.”
Though he knows Philadelphia will be a huge test for his struggling team, Smith believes the quick turnaround will be good as his team tries to forget about its terrible performance against Tennessee.
“When you play that bad, you can’t wait to get back and get that bad taste out of your mouth,” he said. “That’s the good thing about having a Thursday game.”
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