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Monday, October 12, 2009
Third-down offense a big issue for Texans

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com


Posted by ESPN.com’s Paul Kuharsky


Heading into their fifth game, Houston had shown a significant drop off from 2008 in a very important offensive category -- third down.

Tenth in the league last season at 42.1 percent they are now 25th at 29.2.

And it killed them Sunday in Arizona.

Marty Callinan of ESPN Stats & information broke down the game and said Matt Schaub threw eight incomplete passes in 41 first- and second-down chances and seven incompletions in nine third- and fourth-down attempts.
Matt Schaub passing by down, Week 5 vs. Cardinals
1st/2nd --- 3rd/4th
33-41 Comp.-Att. 2-9
80.5 Comp. Pct. 22.2
344 Pass yards 27
8.4 Yards per attempt 3.0
2-0 TD-INT 0-1
117.9 Passer rating 0.0

That interception, of course, decided the game. Arizona’s Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie jumped a third-and-8 pass from Schaub intended for Kevin Walter and took it 49 yards to a touchdown with 2:20 left in the game.

From there, the Texans hit on another issue: rushing TDs from close range.

Entering Week 5, the Texans were one of four teams without a rushing touchdown in the red zone.

Chris Brown finally scored the Texans’ first red zone rushing touchdown late in the third quarter Sunday with a 1-yard rush. But he failed to score on two attempts with under a minute to play that would have tied the game.

The Rams, Chiefs and Bills still don’t have a red zone rush TD. They are a combined 1-14.