There’s much to ponder over the future of Texans’ defense

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And the second was the fact Colts running back Marlon Mack did what no other back did this season against the Texans, including Mack himself in one previous try in 2018.

“We just dug a hole for ourselves. … Any time you dig a hole like that against a great quarterback it’s tough, in the playoffs it’s hard to come out of a hole like that,” Texans cornerback Kareem Jackson said. “The better team won today.”

In the end, the Colts piled up 422 yards against the Houston defense, went 9-of-14 on third down (that included 6-of-6 in the first half) and Indianapolis scored all three of its touchdowns over its first four possessions.

But it was Mack that may have bruised the Texans’ collective pride the most, and it will likely be Mack who has the team’s decision-makers shaking their heads a bit as they head into the offseason. That’s because Mack was the first running back this season to rush for at least 100 yards against the Texans’ defense as he finished with 148 yards on 24 carries to go with a touchdown as the Colts pounded out 200 yards rushing overall.

“Any time you rush for 200 yards you can pretty much do what you want as a playcaller,” Texans safety Tyrann Mathieu said. “… We just couldn’t get off the field.”7

And when all was said and done, the two defensive players the Texans had chosen for the Pro Bowl, defensive end J.J. Watt and linebacker Benardrick McKinney, had combined for no sacks, one tackle for loss and had not forced a turnover. Couple that with the fact the Colts also stifled Jadeveon Clowney — no sacks, no quarterback hits, no tackles for loss — and Luck closed out the seventh game this season when he wasn’t sacked and the 12th game this season when he was sacked one or fewer times.

It was a significantly bitter pill for Watt, who just completed his eighth season and a highly productive return (16 sacks, 18 tackles for loss and seven forced fumbles) from the gruesome leg fracture that ended his 2017 season.

“I mean it sucks, I told the boys in there in sucks,” Watt said. “There’s no such thing as a moral victory. None of it really matters right now.”

For the Texans, it means they do face some high-profile decisions on defense as their cornerstone player — Watt, a two-tine defensive player of the year — turns 30 in March. Three of Saturday’s defensive starters will be unrestricted free agents this spring, led by Clowney, who was selected No. 1 overall by the Texans in the 2014 draft.

Clowney carried the team’s third-highest salary-cap figure this season at $12.306 million, behind only Watt and quarterback Deshaun nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Jackson and long-snapper Jon Weeks are the longest-tenured Texans on the team’s current roster. The 30-year-old cornerback has started 124 regular-season and eight playoff games for the team in his nine seasons including Saturday’s, is an unrestricted free agent in March as is Mathieu.