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D.J. Reader played while sick, gets game ball

"Excuses and responsibility can't co-exist."

Those were D.J. Reader's words following Sunday's 33-17 victory over Cleveland. The second-year nose tackle was actually referring to the defense performing without J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus.

"Somebody has always got to step up and we always got to go out there and play," Readers said. "Nobody is going to feel sorry for us when we lose somebody, or anybody so we got to go out there and we've got to step up every time."

Reader could have said the same about himself. Even though he was sick, Reader did not want to leave his teammates without yet another starter in the front seven in Week 6. 

"D.J. Reader was sick as a dog and played the game really battling flu-like symptoms," head coach Bill O'Brien said Monday. "Played a hell of a game. So, those type of guys are always going to step up and that's what happens in these situations. That's the nature of the deal in the NFL and that's what has to continue."

Reader, despite being very ill on Sunday, came up big for the Texans defense. In the second quarter, he sacked Kevin Hogan for a loss of two yards for his first sack of the season. Reader finished tied for second on the team with five tackles (three solo), two quarterback hits, two tackles for loss and 1.0 sack.

Reader earned a game ball for his performance, along with Johnathan Joseph who caught two interceptions and returned one 82 yards for a touchdown.

Check out the best photos as the Texans took on the Browns at NRG Stadium.

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