DENVER -- With their first-ever road victory over longtime nemesis Peyton Manning, the Texans are now 3-0 for the first time in team history.
“It’s a big win,” said Texans coach Gary Kubiak, who earned his 50th career victory. “It’s a tough place to play, a big road game early in the season… We had the character to still find the way to get out of here and finish with a win. Got a lot of respect for that organization, that team, but really proud of our guys today. They hung in there and found a way to get it done.”
The Texans are the only undefeated team in the AFC. They are one of three 3-0 teams in the NFL along with the Atlanta Falcons and Arizona Cardinals.
“It feels good,” said wide receiver
Schaub got the game ball from Kubiak after completing 17-of-30 passes for 290 yards. Johnson, wide receiver
Schaub brushed off two consecutive illegal hits in the third quarter, including one that left him missing a small part of his left ear, and sat out for only one play before returning to the game.
“He was a warrior out there,” Daniels said. “He’s one of the toughest guys I know.”
The Texans led 31-11 early in the fourth quarter. They were seemingly cruising to an easy victory until a fumble by
The fumble sparked a late rally by Manning, who was 16-2 against the Texans with the Indianapolis Colts from 2002-10. The four-time NFL MVP threw two touchdown passes in the next seven minutes to make it a one-score game with three minutes remaining.
“It’s the NFL,” Texans safety
The Texans ran out all but the final 20 seconds of the remaining game clock thanks to a crucial catch by Johnson on third-and-five with 2:49 remaining. Johnson beat Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey with an out route for a 12-yard catch near the left sideline, which all but wrapped up the victory.
“It was huge,” Kubiak said of Johnson’s catch. “We needed to throw the ball. We had to force the issue… It doesn’t surprise you when it’s (Johnson) when the money’s on the line.”
The Broncos took a 2-0 lead two minutes into the game when defensive end Elvis Dumervil sacked Schaub for a safety on the Texans’ first play. The Texans found themselves in a 5-0 hole with 8:41 left in the first quarter after a 32-yard field goal by Broncos kicker Matt Prater.
The Texans took the lead on their next possession with a 60-yard touchdown bomb from Schaub to Johnson. On a play-action fake, Johnson beat cornerback Tracy Porter with a double move and got behind the defense for the score.
“We had the perfect coverage, and wasn’t nobody on the other side of the field,” Johnson said. “It was a play we put in earlier this week, and it worked out for us.”
Watt and linebacker
Less than two minutes later, Schaub hit Walter over the middle for a 52-yard touchdown pass. It was another play-action fake and another double move, with Porter once again in coverage.
“We practiced that many, many times,” Walter said. “It’s just a matter of going out there and executing, a matter of getting the right coverage, and we did. I tell you what, that throw that Matt made was unbelievable. That ball was perfect.”
The Broncos put two more field goals on the board before halftime to make the score 21-11. Schaub was picked off in Broncos territory by linebacker Wesley Woodyard in the final minute of the half to set up the second field goal, a 53-yarder by Prater.
Later in the quarter, wide receiver
The Texans appeared to have the game well in hand until Tate’s fumble with 10:28 remaining. Two plays after the turnover, Manning hit wide receiver Brandon Stokley for a 38-yard touchdown pass. The Texans went three-and-out, and the Broncos drove for another touchdown – a six-yard catch by former Texans tight end Joel Dreessen off a richochet – to make the score 31-25.
It was all for naught as the Texans held on for the victory.
“Man – finally,” Texans defensive end
Up next for the Texans is a home game against the Tennessee Titans (1-2) at Reliant Stadium next Sunday at noon CT.