Colts Defensive Tackle DeForest Buckner Hopes To Break Sack Skid Against Houston Texans

INDIANAPOLIS -- At 6-7, 295 pounds, Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner isn't built like your typical interior lineman. Buckner's ability to translate speed to power makes him a nightmare for offensive guards, and no team knows that better than the Houston Texans. 

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UP NEXT UP NEXT a group of football players on the field: Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner (99) sacks Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, during the regular season opener at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. © RobertScheer, Robert Scheer/IndyStar Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner (99) sacks Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, during the regular season opener at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

While not quite at T.Y. Hilton levels of domination, Buckner had 5 of his 9.5 sacks last season against the Texans, including a 3-sack performance in Week 15. 

Ahead of Sunday's game against the Texans, Buckner said he's yet to play at his 2020 level. The former Oregon star has just one sack and that came all the way back in Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks. 

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Buckner consistently draws double and triple teams, and offenses have utilized running backs to chip him more often, slowing down his rush and keeping him off the quarterback. 

Facing the struggling Texans with a rookie quarterback in Davis Mills and without star left tackle Laremy Tunsil (thumb) and starting right tackle Marcus Cannon (back), this may be week Buckner finally snaps his cold streak. 

"I feel like, at some points throughout the season, I'm maybe just thinking too much or things like that, but eventually I get started," Buckner said. 

Buckner has won at the line of scrimmage using several techniques against Houston. During the teams' first meeting last season, Buckner lined up over right guard Zach Fulton, initiated contact with a bull rush and discarded the blocker with a swim move to get to quarterback Deshaun Watson. 

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On Buckner's second sack, the lengthy defensive end showed his motor, keeping Fulton at bay and biding his time while Watson stayed in the pocket. As soon as Watson broke the pocket, Buckner shot through a gap between the guard and center and sacked Watson again. The Texans didn't double team or chip on either of Buckner's sacks. 

Two plays later, then-Colts defensive end Justin Houston forced a safety, scoring Indy's only points in the fourth quarter. 

"I think it's all of it, scheme (and) matchup," Buckner said of his success against the Texans. "I haven't been playing to where I to want to be playing, on a personal level, and just I feel like this is one of the games I could get it started."

Buckner made his presence felt early against Houston in Indy's second matchup in Week 15. On Houston's opening possession, the Texans tried to double team Buckner with Fulton and center Nick Martin on 3rd-and-2 from the Houston 43. The linemen held off Buckner at first, but once Watson tried to break the pocket, Buckner chased down the quarterback and got just enough of his foot to trip him up. 

On Houston's second possession, Buckner's pass rush generated the big play the Colts defense has sorely lacked through five games this season.

Lined up over left guard Senio Kelemete, Buckner drove his blocker back with a bull rush, knocking him into Watson as he stepped up in the pocket. Watson tripped over the pile and Buckner knocked the ball out of Watson's hands, forcing a fumble recovered by Indy. 

The Texans have allowed just 12 sacks in five games, tied for eighth best in the NFL. While running quarterbacks have a tendency to hold onto the ball longer, the Texans struggled to protect Watson, allowing 50 sacks last season, second only to the Philadelphia Eagles' 65.

Sep 19, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) barely gets a pass off before being tackled by Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner (99) during the second quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports ORG XMIT: IMAGN-451531 ORIG FILE ID: 20210919_neb_lb1_110.JPG © Marc Lebryk, Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports Sep 19, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) barely gets a pass off before being tackled by Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner (99) during the second quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports ORG XMIT: IMAGN-451531 ORIG FILE ID: 20210919_neb_lb1_110.JPG

Having former first-round picks Tytus Howard and Max Scharping start all five games at guard this season after playing 14 and 15, respectively, has shored up the interior of the Texans line. 

Mills showed improvement last week against the Patriots, but the rookie from Stanford is still just two weeks removed from a four-interception game against the Bills. 

The Colts know getting pressure against the Texans is key, especially when facing a quarterback making his fifth NFL start. 

"That pass rush has to be present," Buckner said. "We need to apply pressure constantly, make him uncomfortable in the pocket and force him to make throws that he doesn't want to make. Especially to help out the back end, so that's going to be a big emphasis this week."

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner hopes to break sack skid against Houston Texans

Source : https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nfl/colts-defensive-tackle-deforest-buckner-hopes-to-break-sack-skid-against-houston-texans/ar-AAPvk9a

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Colts vs. Texans: Colts lead Texans in second quarter

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Colts vs. Texans: Colts lead Texans in second quarter