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Saturday, November 7, 2009
Texans' D league's best at three-and-outs

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com’s Paul Kuharsky

Failed third downs frustrate any offense. But nothing’s worse for a team trying to establish an offensive rhythm than repeated three-and-outs.

And no defense in the league has done better at forcing three-and-outs than the Houston Texans.

Houston’s not allowed a first down on 47.9 percent of its opponents' drives, a strong number that leads the league with New England second at 44.2 percent and is 13 percent better than any other team in the AFC South.

“That’s really big for us. I think that’s setting a tone to let teams know we’re going to be in the right places,” strong safety Bernard Pollard said. “We’re not going to stop everything. These guys get paid a lot of money to make first downs …. It’s just been great for us that we’ve been getting them off the field and we’ve got to continue to do that if we want to win.”

But the Texans meet the Colts Sunday. And on the other side of the ball, Indianapolis is fourth-best at avoiding three-and-outs. The Colts' offense goes three-and-out only 28.4 percent of the time.

If the Texans can force the Colts to punt after only three snaps a couple of times at Lucas Oil Stadium it will do a lot to bolster their chances at an upset.

But you know how it goes. They can force three in a row and Peyton Manning can wash them all away with one huge play on the fourth series.
Offenses ranked by % of drives without a first down
Team Pct.
Dallas 20.3
Green Bay 28.0
N.Y. Giants 28.1
Indianapolis 28.4
Pittsburgh 30.7
New England 30.8
Denver 31.2
Baltimore 32.0
San Diego 32.0
Jacksonville 32.5
Atlanta 32.5
Miami 32.9
Washington 32.9
Houston 33.3
New Orleans 34.1
Arizona 36.3
Detroit 36.4
Minnesota 36.6
Buffalo 36.8
Philadelphia 36.8
Seattle 37.3
Carolina 38.1
Kansas City 38.8
St. Louis 39.5
Chicago 39.5
N.Y. Jets 40.8
Tennessee 41.6
Cincinnati 41.8
Cleveland 44.0
San Francisco 48.8
Oakland 50.5
Tampa Bay 51.2
Defenses ranked by % of drives without a first down
Team Pct.
Houston 47.9
New England 44.2
Arizona 42.9
Philadelphia 42.9
N.Y. Giants 42.1
Chicago 42.0
Seattle 41.5
Green Bay 40.5
Minnesota 40.4
Kansas City 40.0
New Orleans 39.8
N.Y. Jets 39.3
Washington 37.2
Baltimore 36.7
Dallas 36.1
San Francisco 36.0
Buffalo 35.6
San Diego 35.5
Denver 34.2
Indianapolis 34.2
Cincinnati 34.1
Cleveland 33.3
Miami 33.3
Pittsburgh 32.9
Tennessee 32.2
Jacksonville 31.6
Atlanta 31.1
Carolina 30.4
Oakland 29.8
St. Louis 28.7
Tampa Bay 26.3
Detroit 24.4