Sacks in Review – An investigation of the Texans 2019 season & the most over publicised stat in the game. 

2019 – SAXTRAX
An Idea Spawned:

The idea of SAXTRAX was born out of the idea of a rare piece of consistency returning in 2020 – the offensive line. Tim Kelly, will have all 5 starters returning for the first time since the O’Brien regime began. Despite losing their best receiver, could the Texans offence actually be better without such a vital cog.

Sacks are in many ways overrated stat, as much can happen on any given play before the player credited with the hallowed box score, makes the final tackle. But they may have not be the root cause of the play but receive the full credit. Further, there seems to be a far greater emphasis placed on that compare to TFL’s (tackle for loss) when the net result is exactly the same.

For commentators and spectators, “sacks” have been a key metric to gain a universal understanding of defensive players production and Offensive units ability to protect their passer. But could such a set of plays, defined by a single stat, be used as a sample to help further understand the Texans offence?

After tracking all 61 plays across the 2019 season to build a sample size to help to identify the route causes and any commonalities across these failed passing plays.

WATCH THE TAPE – 2019 Sacks Cut Ups

SAXTRAX – attributes the sack based on the origin of the plays disruption rather than the final tackle to give a more accurate understanding of where the offensive flaws exist.


Setting – Road/Home/Down/Distance/Game Time
Sack Type:
Man – protection beaten by power/talent from the rusher
Stunt – missed handling of a twist from blockers Miss – either incorrect protection set or unaccounted for rusher
Coverage – where receiving option wasn’t found Snap Error – resulting in a fumble

Offence: Personnel Grouping, Formation & Play Call, No. of Pass Blockers
Error by Position – Pass Blocking or QB Set Up Defence: Coverage Type; Formation; No of Rusher, Line Technique, Play side Pressure
Open Man – where QB didn’t find/see
Failed Scramble – escaping for the pocket finished behind the LOS
Free Blitzer – which level of the defence

A lot hinges on this unit in 2020, if there is a method proven, in all madness endured this offseason then success is mandatory. As most would be hard pressed to claim the investment into Tunsil, Stills, Howard & Sharping necessarily helped their quarterback reach new heights in 2019.

This series of article will attempt to understand the offence its quarterback’s direction in 2020 through three areas:

PART 1: The Offensive Line – Building on 2019
PART 2: The Quarterback – Watson entering year 4
PART 3: The Offensive Scheme – Finding Consistency

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