The 2020 season hasn’t taken the shape that many would have predicted at its outset but Sunday provided some future hope. The infamous NRG stadium roof was left ajar above the field, on a day where Texans posed as a team with a new lease of life.
The 27-20 win wasn’t only marked by the sublime passing attack of Watson’s offence, the defence also imposed themselves to seal the third win of the season. Lead by a career-best performance from Justin Reid who dawned every bit of the swashbuckling safety, that the third-year Stanford man is billed to be. His day was highlighted by three TFL’s and career-first sack on Patriots Quarterback Cam Newton. It provided a much welcomed return to form in the midst of a sub-par season to date.
The defence has undoubtedly held the team back from an improved record of 3-7. Though it appeared the vociferous press conference of co-ordinator Anthony Weaver translated to the field. The Texans held a top-three rushing attack to 86 yards which acted as the catalyst for the unit. On a day that was clouded by an uncharacteristic slew of penalties for New England, the Texans bar the two Touchdown drives, held firm.
The day will likely be remembered as Johnathan Greenard’s first sack, the 4 batted passes by JJ Watt or the stop of fourth down as Weaver continued calling double safety blitzes. A call that New England failed to provide an answer for, which ended the game on a fourth down attempt. But the manner of the defences aggression throughout was the biggest positive takeaway, as they held in to give the offence a chance to play with the lead for much of the day.
Sunday wasn’t without its hitches as Randall Cobb appears set to miss time with a toe injury and PJ Hall will miss the remainder of the year with a torn pectoral. The former Sam Houston State DT, will be a candidate for the new coaching staff to bring back, after flashing this year as a waiver pick-up.
Against his mentor, Watson looked imperious in the first half, almost completing 80% of his passing attempts. The acknowledgment of the failing run game was channelled in allowing Deshaun to find 9 different target for 344 yards. Scoring three first half touchdowns, the second of which was a barnstorming run by Watson who dragged two defenders into the endzone with him. That play typified the offence’s intent in the first half. Jordan Atkins would have sealed his 88 yard day, if it weren’t for the missed tripping call as he broke free with no defenders in sight. The Texans were forced to settle for a field goal and the defence duly complimented them with a stop, so Houston could kneel out the contest.
The Texans will now travel to kick-off the Thanksgiving triple-header, in Detroit, a team that is fresh off being shut-out against Carolina’s back-up QB, PJ Walker. Building from this win and delivering another is now the Texans challenge. As the players and coaches can build some additional credibility before the next phase of Houston football in 2021.