Whitney Mercilus and Jadeveon Clowney Working
Andrew Luck was under clear duress during the entire game on Sunday, with the attack on Luck stemming primarily from the work of Whitney Mercilus and Jadeveon Clowney. The duo combined for 11.5 quarterback pressures, a sack, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. Clowney had a the game changing play down in Texans territory while Mercilus continued the harassment of Luck with 4.5 hits of his own.
Clowney gets a large amount of criticism due to his injury history but O’Brien is ready to move to the now and appreciate the work he is doing in 2016.
“He’s played hard for us whenever he does play. He’s been disruptive,” said O’Brien. “I think a lot of attention is paid to him because of where he was drafted, and I think we all need to kind of move beyond that.”
“When he has played for us, when he’s been out there, and he’s been out there quite a bit this year, he plays very hard, he’s been disruptive,” continued O’Brien. I know a lot of people talk about that that was the best game and the most important play – and it was a great play that he made on the strip-sack – but there were so many other plays that he made in the game that were good too.”
Clowney and Mercilus are the only teammates in the NFL that each have 40+ tackles, 4.0+ sacks, 11+ tackles for loss, and 1+ pass deflection in 2016.
On the season the two have combined for 33 quarterback hits and 9.5 sacks.
Bill O’Brien Thinks the AFC South is Tougher than Most Believe
A common sentiment is that the AFC South is the weakest division in the NFL. With the Texans set to face the Jacksonville Jaguars, O’Brien made it clear he that thinks that what others say regarding the AFC South is far from true.
"As far as the division, I think it’s a very tough division. I don’t get into whatever the narrators, authors, journalists think about the AFC South. I think it’s a tough division,” explained O’Brien. “I think anyone who writes that, again, you have to grasp how hard it is to win a game in this league. These divisional games are very difficult. Give our players a lot of credit, they’ve played well in the division lately but it needs to continue on Sunday.”
The Texans are one of only three teams that are currently undefeated in their division joining the Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs.
One injury to pay attention to is the concussion of Jeff Allen who is currently in the protocol after suffering his second concussion of the season. Oday Aboushi started at left guard on Sunday but bumped over to right guard after Allen’s concussion.
“We’re going to have to look at that. More than likely, you’d probably go with Xavier (Su’a-Filo) on the left and Oday on the right, but we’ll have to look at that,” O’Brien said. “There’s a lot that goes into that. Some of it’s the type of plays you’re going to run against Jacksonville, some of it’s who’s playing well next to each other, if that makes sense, things like that, as far as the tackles are concerned. We’ll look at that, but that’s probably their natural position.”
The Texans had a season high 41 rushes against the Colts while averaging 4.5 yards per carry.