Lovie Smith says Texans defense must tackle better

Lovie Smith expected the Houston Texans to play better in Week 17 than they did.

The Texans, who have been kicked around throughout 2022, sought to extend their win streak over the Jacksonville Jaguars to 10. Houston’s AFC South rivals finally struck back with a 31-3 beatdown Sunday afternoon at NRG Stadium.

“The plan was for us to play a lot better than we did today,” Smith said. “We’ve been playing better football than we played today, all three phases. Defensively, we got to tackle better. That’s been a tough spot for us a lot of the year. We had opportunities.”

Houston entered Week 17 tied with the Jaguars for the fifth-most missed tackles in the league with 77. The Texans may have broken the tie with their missed tackles against Jacksonville.

A blatant example was on Jaguars running back Travis Etienne’s 62-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Not only were the Texans out of their run fits on the play, but rookie safety Jalen Pitre bounced off of Etienne at the second level.

“These explosive runs, we had been playing them better, but today we didn’t,” said Smith. “Too many missed tackles which lead to big plays like that.”

The Texans failed to earn a victory at NRG Stadium in 2022. The only game wherein Houston avoided a home loss was Week 1 when they tied with the Indianapolis Colts.

Smith acknowledged the ignominious distinction of Houston failing to get a home win for the first time in team history — on Fan Appreciation Day no less — and moved on.

Said: “Whenever you talk about a first-time, something that’s never been done, you know, as I said, the plan, of course, was to play a lot better. When you play like that, it’s not going to happen. We’re not going to win one, so there’s nothing else to really say on that.”

Houston closes out the regular season in Week 18 against the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.

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Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: Everything we know about Week 17

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Story originally appeared on Texans Wire