Don’t look now but the Texans are rolling.
After a disastrous start to the season — the team that many predicted would be a Super Bowl contender lost their first four games, fired its head coach / general manager and seemed destined to start selling off valuable players in hopes of rebuilding – is suddenly stringing together wins and looking like a team. The Texans went into Detroit and feasted on the Lions to the tune of a 41-25 Thanksgiving Day win for their first back-to-back wins of the season.
“I mean, it’s a different energy,” said Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, who completed 17 of 28 passes for 318 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions to finish with a near flawless 150.4 rating. “These guys are just being free, guys having fun. Guys focusing on their job and controlling where they can control. That’s the biggest thing. And if we can just continue to focus on that, we’ve been winning, so the winning energy is definitely different than the losing energy. And we are taking care of the details and putting games away when we needed to, so that’s a big thing.”
Much of the credit belongs to interim coach Romeo Crennel, who has been a stabilizing presence for the Texans since Bill O’Brien was fired earlier in the season. The 4-7 Texans have won three of their last four games under Crennel and are looking at a strong December finish with an outside shot at the postseason.
“Well that’s good, but we haven’t won enough,” Crennel said of the three wins in the last four games. “So as a coach, you always think about – many times I think about the negatives rather than the positives. In thinking about the negatives, there are things that we can do better, and we need to do better if we’re going to be strong in the last month of the season.”
The Texans certainly have the momentum after a convincing team win on Thursday. The offense was clicking with Will Fuller and Watson connecting for two big touchdowns, including a 34-yard flea-flicker play early in the fourth quarter in which Watson caught a lateral from running back Duke Johnson and then found Fuller all alone on the opposite end of the field for an easy touchdown that closed the door on the Lions.
Fuller finished with six catches for 171 yards to go along with the pair of touchdown receptions.
Defensive end J.J. Watt also turned back the hands of time early in the game when he had a pick-six play he had been known for early in his career to get the Texans on the board in the first quarter.
“That was dope,” Watson said of Watt’s spectacular play. “It brought me back to the old days. He’s not getting old as we look at it. He’s still got some athletic ability. I knew sooner or later, especially after last week’s game, he was going to get one of them. So, it was good.”