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Defensive Blast: Rankins scores first scoop-and-score of career | Week 17


Moments after the Texans offense had scored its first touchdown of the day, to take a 10-0 lead, the defense decided it was its turn to join the scoring party on New Years Eve.

With the fans inside NRG Stadium still on their feet from the C.J. Stroud to Brevin Jordan 12-yard passing touchdown just minutes early, the defense came out for its first play of the ensuing Titans drive.

Jerry Hughes broke loose off the left end, stripped the ball out of Titans quarterback Will Levis's hands as he knocked him back onto the ground. With the ball loose on the ground, Sheldon Rankins scooped up the ball and returned it 13 yards for the Texans touchdown. It expanded the Houston lead to 17-0 with 10:02 left in the first half, a 14-point swing in a matter of eight seconds of gameplay.

This is the first fumble recovery for a touchdown in Rankins' NFL career and first-ever defensive score. Sunday marked his 108th game in the NFL.

For the Texans this is the first fumble recovered for a touchdown since Jadeveon Clowney did it on September 30, 2018 against the Indianapolis Colts. It is the first defensive touchdown for the Texans since Jonathan Greenard returned an interception 39 yards last year against Indianapolis on January 8, 2023.

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