Watt, Texans look to pressure Sanchez

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J.J. Watt and the Texans defense face the New York Jets, who only have two offensive touchdowns in the last three weeks.Monday Night Football (8:30 ET, ESPN) pits the unbeaten Houston Texans, who rank first in the NFL in total defense and scoring defense, against the New York Jets.

The last time they took the field, the Jets gained just 145 yards in a 34-0 home loss against the San Francisco 49ers.

The Jets had four offensive touchdowns in their Week 1 win against the Buffalo Bills, but the offense has found the end zone just two times in three games since then.

Mark Sanchez is the first quarterback since Trent Dilfer in 1996 to complete less than half his passes in three of his team’s first four games (min. 25 attempts per game). He has a 36.5 Total QBR this season, fifth-worst among qualified passers.

Sanchez has either underthrown or overthrown a receiver 35 times this season, or 27.3 percent of his passing attempts. No quarterback has had a higher percentage of passes fall incomplete due to an off-target throw this season.

Lowest Total QBR Allowed
This Season

The Jets lack of success at quarterback plays into the hands of the Texans’ defense. Houston is allowing only 6.0 yards per pass attempt this season, tied for second-lowest in the NFL. Opposing quarterbacks have posted an NFL-low 12.5 QBR against the Texans.

Houston’s defense is led by J.J. Watt, who is the second player since sacks became official in 1982 to have at least 1.5 sacks in each of his team’s first four games. The other was Kevin Greene for the 1998 Carolina Panthers.

Watt has picked up 6.5 of his league-leading 7.5 sacks in situations when the Texans sent four or fewer rushers. Even with most of the league playing one more game, that’s the most sacks without pressure in the NFL this season.

Houston’s offense could also pose problems for the Jets. The Texans are the only team in the NFL that drops back to pass on fewer than half its snaps. The Jets have struggled defending the run, allowing an average of 2.6 yards per rush after first contact this season, the second-highest rate in the NFL.

Texans Worst Records
vs Any Opponent

The Texans will be looking to turn around a couple of negative trends in this game.

The Jets are one of five teams that Houston hasn’t beaten since entering the league in 2002. The Texans’ 0-5 record against the Jets is tied for their most losses without a win against any opponent – they also have lost all five games against the Baltimore Ravens.

Houston is 1-3 all-time on Monday Night Football, the worst winning percentage on the program. They have lost three straight Monday Night games since beating the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2008.