Texans coach David Culley pleased with the defensive line pressure

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Houston Texans coach David Culley doesn’t believe the defensive line had any issues against the Carolina Panthers.

Quarterback Sam Darnold was able to completed 23 passes on 34 attempts for 304 yards, but the Texans were able to drop him for three sacks, including two forced fumbles.

“We did a good job of that [Thursday] night,” said Culley. “I go back to what I said about obviously our defensive line has been playing very, very hard. We play a bunch of guys in there. They put some pressure. As a matter of fact, they put so much pressure on him that we end up having a couple of fumbles there last night that they created.”

Culley says that if the Texans would have been able to get on top of any one of those fumbles, Houston’s fortunes may have changed.

“Had we been able to get those – obviously we didn’t have any turnovers, neither one of us did – but those could have been game-changers,” Culley said. “It just didn’t happen or us and that’s football.”

The first forced fumble was caused by defensive end Jonathan Greenard on a first-and-10 from the Carolina 29-yard line. Center Matt Paradis fell on the football for a 5-yard loss. Ultimately, Houston was able to force Carolina to punt.

The second forced fumble may not have done Houston any good. On the last play of the first half, with 19 seconds to go, defensive tackle Ross Blacklock punched the ball out of Darnold’s grasp, but center Matt Paradis recovered for a 7-yard loss. Had Houston recovered, even at Paradis’ spot of the 29-yard line, the Texans could have only reasonably attempted a Joey Slye field goal.

Culley says the Texans’ problem was they let Carolina off the mat on third down.

Said Culley: “I thought that defensively, the one thing that we didn’t do in this ballgame that we have to do a better job of, is we got them in some second-and-longs, we got them in a third-and-long one time, and they ended up getting explosive plays off those. We can’t have that. Their football team had about eight explosive plays, we had three. That’s tough sledding when that happens.”

The Panthers were 5-of-11 on third down and 3-of-6 on third downs with eight yards or more to go.

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