After a rough first month, the Texans running game seems to be picking up steam as the team kicks off the second half of the season against the Jaguars on Sunday.
“We know it’s not going to get any easier,” left tackle Duane Brown said. “We know Jacksonville brings a great challenge for us upfront. But we just know what we can get accomplished.”
Coming into the season, the team knew running the ball could be difficult if with the addition of Lamar Miller in the off-season. The offensive line had several new faces and they were without Duane Brown.
Those factors and more contributed to a slow start. In 3 games in September, the Texans were only averaging 3.5 yards per carry on 335 yards rushing with no touchdowns.
In the 5 games after, that per carry averaged jumped up to 4.7 including an impressive closing performance against Detroit which saw the offense rack up 79 yards on the ground to seal a big victory at home.
“Just straining and finishing our blocks. Not really feeling our way through the beginning of the game,” Brown said. “I think myself and some of us have gotten accustomed to feeling our way through the game and then once you get used to it, then we pick it up. But we have to come out not really putting our foot in the water, but just jumping in.”
While the big results weren’t there early, running back Lamar Miller has been big in keep the momentum moving forward. Coming into this week’s game, Miller has 153 carries which ranks 7th in the NFL.
The workload is a change for the running back who saw the bye come at the right time.
“It felt good. I got away. I was getting treatment here and in Miami and just spending time with my family,” Miller said. “I think it’s good to get away from football for a little bit. That’s the most important part. Just spending that time with your family.”
Miller has totaled 637 yards on the year and has scored 2 touchdowns on the ground.
“I think that just factors in just taking care of your body, you know, getting massages, staying in the training room, just doing all the little things. I think that helped a lot,” Miller said.
Alfred Blue has also seen is touches increase in the last few weeks. The friendly competition between the two has made the whole offense even better.
“Yeah. It’s that competition like, man, you get in there, do what you do, when I get in there, I’m going to do what I’m going to do, and we’re just going to keep pounding down their throats,” Blue said Wednesday. “The coaches rotate us in and out, and that’s how the O-line - they get a feel with a different guy in there. It’s hard for the defense to account for different people that come in the game.”
In the 5 victories this season, the Texans are averaging just over 120 yards per game. In the losses, they are barely getting over 100.