ARLINGTON – Looping around the edge on a wide pass rush, Texans defensive end Jacob Martin closed ground quickly on Dallas Cowboys quarterback quarterback Garrett Gilbert and ripped the football out of his right hand.
The pathway Martin traveled to sack the quarterback and force a fumble recovered by defensive end Charles Omenihu led to a Mark Ingram touchdown run Saturday night at AT&T Stadium.
Martin had plenty of company in the Cowboys’ backfield.
The Texans recorded five sacks, two by Omenihu, 10 tackles for losses and eight quarterback hits during a 20-14 preseason victory. Besides Martin and Omenihu, rookie defensive tackle Roy Lopez notched his second sack of the preseason and DeMarcus Walker recorded his first. Defensive end Jordan Jenkins had two quarterback hits.
“It’s a race to the quarterback,” Martin said. “It’s who can get there first. It’s a competition. ..
“That’s one of our mottos: cause havoc in the backfield and get turnovers. We try to finish .Being around the ball is how you create turnovers.”
Martin had three sacks and one forced fumble last season while playing 34 percent of the overall defensive snaps. Martin has frequently displayed speed as an edge rusher, including his sack of Kansas City Chiefs star quarterback Patrick Mahomes last season.
Acquired in a trade involving former Texans pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney, the former Seattle Seahawks sixth-round draft pick from Temple has 9 ½ career sacks, four forced fumbles and 18 quarterback hits.
The hit on Gilbert was Martin’s latest big play.
“It was a good play, a good opportunity,” Martin said. “We had great coverage on the back end. I applaud those guys. I just got there clean. It was a great team effort.
“It’s a great way to start it off. If they’re keeping score, you try to win. We’re not where we want to be yet, but we’re making the right steps.”
Martin was seen vocally cheering on teammates on both sides of the football throughout the game.
“We talked about energy,” he said. “I’m a guy who’s high-energy. I think that’s a critical part of the game is creating that energy. That’s the fun part of it.”
Aaron Wilson has covered the NFL for 20 seasons, including the Texans, Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars. He has previously written for The Houston Chronicle and The Baltimore Sun. He’s on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL and Instagram: @aaronwilson7128.