J.J. Watt said he was surprised he got some of those.
I just ran through the Texans’ seven sacks, and in almost every instance the guy who got Zach Mettenberger to the ground didn’t have to beat more than one person to get there.
Mettenberger frequently held the ball too long, partly because the routes his guys were running were too deep down the field and hadn’t developed. Craig Stevens, the Titans' top blocking tight end, played 23 of 59 offensive snaps.
I am no blocking scheme or offensive line expert by any means. But most of these seem pretty straight forward to me. The Titans expected to slow Watt, Whitney Mercilus and the rest of the rush largely one-on-one.
That is a huge fail in strategy.
The seven sacks:
1. First-and-10 from the Houston 28, 1:50 in the second quarter.
2. Third-and-8 from the Tennessee 47, 12:19 in the third quarter.
Mercilus takes a hop right, Lewan buys it, then the outside backer heads left, slices through a hole in the middle with Byron Bell occupied on his left and gets to Mettenberger easily. Loss of seven yards.
3. Second-and-2 from the Houston 42, :18 in the third quarter.
Right tackle Jamon Meridith is concerned with Mercilus wide, but Stevens actually handled him. Right guard Chance Warmack has two arms out, fully extended. But neither lineman appears to be primarily concerned with Watt; Meredith back-pedals and is off balance as Watt bursts through and faces running back Antonio Andrews, who goes low and tries to cut him. Watt plows over him and gets to Mettenberger. Loss of eight yards.
4. First-and-10 from the Tennessee 11, 13:57 in the fourth quarter.
Watt on the left squeezes between Warmack and center Joe Looney, gets well past the play, then comes back from behind on Mettenberger, stripping the ball as he sacks the QB. Jared Crick recovers the fumble. Loss of four yards and Texans ball at the Tennessee 10.
5. First-and-10 from the Tennessee 46, 12:08 in the fourth quarter.
Mettenberger holds the ball too long and had room to step up or run. Mercilus pushes Lewan back, goes inside him and gets his third sack.
6. Third-and-8 from the Tennessee 48, 10:38 in the fourth quarter.
With Dorial Green-Beckham running a deep route and Delanie Walker and Justin Hunter running intermediate routes that cross in the middle of the field, things develop too slowly for Mettenberger under pressure. Crick pushes Meredith inside and Meredith has to come off to chase Watt, who’s looped around out to his right. Crick passes Warmack by the time he looks up and can react. Loss of nine yards.
7. Second-and-10 from the Houston 49, 5:41 in the fourth quarter.
Mercilus beats Lewan on the left, Watt beats an early bump from Andrews and then Meredith. The two close on Mettenberger for quarterback sandwich and a split sack. Loss of nine yards.