Nick’s Notes: Week 4, Texans vs. Steelers

Notes worth noting as the Texans (2-1) prepare to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1) in Week 4 at Reliant Stadium – streaks, milestones within reach and other tidbits about the team and its players.

Kudos to the Texans’ communications staff for providing much of the information.

Team
The Texans trail the Steelers 2-1 in the all-time series. They won 24-6 win at Heinz Field in 2002, lost 27-7 at Reliant Stadium in 2005 and lost 38-14 at Heinz Field in 2008.

Offense
Quarterback is 8-2 as a starter in the month of October since 2008, including a 6-1 record at home. Since joining the Texans in 2007, he is 17-10 overall at Reliant Stadium with a passer rating of 94.3.

Schaub can throw a touchdown pass in his 12th consecutive game on Sunday, which would match the longest streak team history. Schaub also had a touchdown in 12 consecutive games from 11/8/09-10/3/10.

Schaub has averaged 7.95 yards per attempt since 2007, sixth-highest in the NFL. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger ranks one spot ahead of him in that span with 7.96 yards per pass attempt.

Wide receiver needs 20 receiving yards to reach 9,500 in his career. He needs six catches for 700 in his career, which would make him the second-fastest player in history to reach the milestone. Johnson will play his 119th game on Sunday; Marvin Harrison reached 700 receptions in his 114th game, and Torry Holt did it in 125 games.

Running back needs one rushing touchdown to reach 20 for his career and 94 rushing yards to reach 2,000 for his career.

Tight end needs one touchdown reception to reach 20 in his career. He would be the third player in team history to do so.

Defense
The Texans have allowed an average of 20.0 points per game this season and are 2 in turnover differential. Of the 132 teams that made the playoffs from 20-2010, 105 held their opponents under 21 points per game, while 104 had positive turnover ratios in the regular season. Last season, when they went 6-10, the Texans allowed 26.7 points per game and were even in turnover margin.

If the Texans hold the Steelers to less than 24 points, it will be the third time they’ve kept an opponent under that threshold this season. They accomplished the feat only twice all of last season.

The Texans have six takeaways through three games in 2011. They had 18 total takeaways in 2010, which tied for 32nd in the league. They have two takeaways in all three games this season, putting them on pace for a franchise-record 32.

The Texans need two fumble recoveries to match their total from 2010. They have three fumble recoveries in 2011 after recording five in 2010.

Defensive end can record a sack in four consecutive games for the first time in his career. He previously recorded sacks in three straight games in 2007 from 9/16/07-9/30/07 while playing for the Arizona Cardinals.

Smith leads the Texans with 3.0 sacks, a pace of 16.0 in a full season. His career high is 5.5 sacks, set in 2007 with the Cardinals.

Rookie defensive end is looking to extend a streak of big-play games. The first-round pick from Wisconsin had a fumble recovery in Week 1, a blocked field goal in Week 2 and a sack in Week 3.

The only previous time linebacker faced the Steelers, he recorded six solo tackles, 2.0 sacks and one forced fumble on opening day in 2008. Williams has 2.0 sacks through three games this season.

Cornerback played against the Steelers eight times from 2006-10 while with the Cincinnati Bengals. He had an interception in two of the last five meetings, including one that he returned for a 30-yard touchdown in 2009.

Joseph can record an interception in three consecutive games for the second time in his career. He previously intercepted passes in three straight games from 9/27/09-10/11/09.

Free safety can record an interception in consecutive games for the first time in his career.

Special teams
Free safety Danieal Manning has averaged 34.3 yards on six kickoff returns this season, which ranks fourth in the league. Manning has the highest kickoff return average in the NFL (27.3) since his rookie season in 2006.

Wide receiver has averaged 18.9 yards per punt return this season, which ranks third in the NFL. He has the fifth-highest punt return average in the AFC (10.5) since his rookie season in 2007.

Jones has 132 punt return yards this season on just seven returns. He had 204 yards all of last season on 29 returns. He leads the AFC in punt return yards (1,434) since 2007.

Kicker has made his last 62 field goal attempts of 45 yards or less, including nine in 2011. His last miss from within 45 yards came with the Arizona Cardinals on Sept. 28, 2008, when he had a 37-yard attempt blocked.

Punter Brett “The Hitman” Hartmann needs two touchbacks on kickoffs to set the franchise single-season record. Neil Rackers set the current record last season with 13.

Hartmann has picked up where Rackers left off in kickoff coverage. Rackers is the NFL’s all-time leader in tackles by a kicker with 45. Hartmann had three special teams tackles at New Orleans in Week 3, tying him with Rackers and four others for most in a game by a punter or kicker since the stat was first tracked by STATS, LLC, in 1994.

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