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Houston Texans defense has a chance to set new NFL record, in a bad way

Andrew Buller-Russ

We’re heading into Week 11, and once again, the Houston Texans have one of the worst records in the NFL. Houston has finished well below .500 the past two seasons and is well on its way to doing so again in 2022.

The franchise started by trading Deshaun Watson this past offseason while making the coaching change from David Culley to Lovie Smith, who spent last year with the team as their assistant head coach/defensive coordinator.

While the Watson trade didn’t do much to help Houston compete right away, as the bulk of the trade compensation (multiple draft picks) has yet to convey. Either way, it was a new year, and there was at least some hope the team could take a step forward with a new coach trying his approach.

No one anticipated the Texans to suddenly be a playoff team or anything close. This season was all about trying to see what they had in Davis Mills and trying to determine if he could be a franchise solution at QB. We haven’t seen it.

What hasn’t helped Mills, or anyone else on the Texans, is a very bad defense. Just how bad has this unit been? Texans fans already know, but for those who don’t watch a non-competitive Houston team each week, let’s dive in.

Related: 2023 NFL mock draft: Houston Texans land Bryce Young, 3 QBs land in Round 1

Houston Texans could become record holders in 2022

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Houston Texans
Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Even coming into the year, the Texans had to know their defense could be a big problem, once again. Their new head coach, Lovie Smith, is a defensive specialist. Maybe that’s what convinced the front office he was the right man for the job.

A year ago, the Texans finished with the second-worst run defense in football. They allowed a total of 2,418 rushing yards or 142 per game. The 2022 version of the Texans saw that effort and said, “hold my beer.”

This year’s squad has already given up 1,636 rushing yards through just nine games. They’ve allowed more than any other team in football, yet several squads have played 10 games. Houston is allowing an average of 181 rushing yards per game in 2022. The next closest team, the Detroit Lions, are allowing a full 20 yards fewer per game at 160.9.

If these numbers seem outrageous, it’s because they are.

As Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk noted, it’s been 42 years since an NFL defense allowed 3,000 or more rushing yards in a single season, but the Texans are on pace to do just that.

The 2022 Texans are currently on track to allow 3,090 rushing yards this season. It’s not quite an NFL record, that honor belongs to the 1978 Buffalo Bills, who were mauled for 3,228 yards on the ground. In 1980, the New Orleans Saints allowed 3,106 yards, but it hasn’t been done since.

So what about Houston? While not currently on pace to break the all-time mark, the Texans might just pull it off. Still on their schedule are teams such as the Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Tennessee Titans, and Indianapolis Colts.

If each of the eight remaining teams on Houston’s schedule hits their own current by-game average against the Texans, they will have allowed 2,620 yards on the season. But if their first nine games are any indication, it’s that the Texans aren’t your average defense. They’re much, much worse.