About two weeks ago, in this column Iexamined the peculiarities of the Houston Texans’ then seven-game winning streak. Basically, the point of it was not to get too excited about the Texans yet because, pretty remarkably, they didn’t have a truly impressive win in the entire winning streak.
That discrepancy ended last week, when the Texans rallied from a slow start to wallop Tennessee, and they continued to prove they are the real deal in Sunday’s 29-13 dispatching of the Cleveland Browns at NRG Stadium.
With their ninth win in a row secured, go ahead and get a little excited about the Texans because Sunday’s win over Cleveland, even more than the win over the Titans, legitimized the Texans as one of the best teams in the NFL this season.
Yes, the Texans were highly impressive against Tennessee, but if players couldn’t get fired up for that game (one against a division rival made even more emotional by the recent death of owner and team founder Bob McNair), they ought to have been checked for a pulse.
The Texans could have easily overlooked Sunday’s matchup and taken it a little easier against a Cleveland team that, while improved, is out of the playoff picture. Look no further than the Indianapolis Colts’ surprising 6-0 loss in Jacksonville for evidence of what can happen when decent teams aren’t spinning on all cylinders.
The Colts had been riding a five-game winning streak and had a chance to push the Texans for the AFC South crown when they came to NRG Stadium next week, but instead were tripped up against a Jaguars team that appeared to be in free-fall mode heading into the contest.
“It’s the NFL, you can’t look at a team and think it’s just an easy win,” Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins said. “Jacksonville beat the Colts, who would’ve thought that? I don’t know what happened in the game or know how it went, but it’s another NFL team against another NFL team”
Conversely, the Texans were laser-focused right from the outset of their win.
The Texans possessed the ball for 12:26 of the first quarter on their first two drives of the game, resulting in an early 10-0 lead. Then, the defense took over, forcing four turnovers in the game — including a pair of back-breaking plays with a pick-6 by linebacker Zach Cunningham and a fumble forced on what was looking like a sure 77-yard Browns touchdown pass.
On Sunday, the Texans did what good teams do — they took care of business from jump street to get the win.