I wrote in the quick recap that the defense "looked lost again" on Sunday, and that Chuck Cecil's days as the coordinator are probably numbered. While the part about Cecil might be still be true, the defense actually played pretty well on Sunday. Third down was still a problem, the Texans converted 9 of 18 third downs, but overall giving up 20 points to an offense that is as good as the Texans is good. It might even be considered really good when you look at the fact that the offense couldn't stay on the field on third down, converting just 3 of 11, so the defense was on the field the whole game.
Third down has been a real problem for this defense in the last month. The Chargers were 12 of 18 (67%) on third down, the Dolphins were 9 of 17 (53%), the Redskins were 8 of 16 (50%), and the Texans were 9 of 18 (50%) as mentioned above. So it is no coincidence that they have given up 24.5 points per game over that stretch and are now 31st in the league in time of possession having the ball just 26:01 minutes per game. Over the last 3 games they have averaged just 24:05. To put this in a little bit of perspective they averaged 28:33 in 2009. Now obviously the offensive struggles on third down play into the equation here as well, but the inability of the defense to get off the field on third down has been a huge problem.
I don't know what the answer here is. It starts up front. The pass rush hasn't been nearly as good over the last month, but the biggest problem has been the linebackers in coverage. A dynamic linebacker has to be near the top of the list of draft needs for next year because these defensive numbers aren't going to get any better as long as tight ends aren't being covered down the middle of the field. In the mean time Cecil and Jeff Fisher have to figure something out to fix this or Jacob Tamme is going to have 8 TDs in the two games against the Colts.