In a week that was topsy-turvy for Demaryius Thomas, it was only fitting that his first game as a Texan was a roller-coaster as well.
The veteran receiver, acquired in a Tuesday trade between the franchises, started against his former club and helped them get a 19-17 victory. In a contest where he was the focus leading up to it, Thomas quickly deflected in the aftermath and talked about the joy he had with his new teammates.
"I think it's great," Thomas said. "The Houston Texans got a win."
Just before the coin toss, the video boards inside Broncos Stadium at Mile High in Denver played a 30-second tribute to the Pro Bowler who helped Denver win a Super Bowl. As the video concluded, the cameras cut to Thomas on the Texans sideline. He was greeted with a grateful roar from Denver fans. Thomas then walked out with the Texans team captains for the toss.
"We wanted him to walk out there as a captain tonight, and walk off the field as a winner." defensive end and captain J.J. Watt said.
Thomas then went out on the first series as a starter, and keyed the Texans offense to an opening score. He caught a short pass from Deshaun Watson and turned it into a 31-yard gain, then hauled in a throw over the middle on the next play for 18 more. A few plays after that, the Texans were in the end zone and staked to a 7-0 lead after the game's opening series.
"It helped," receiver DeAndre Hopkins said of Thomas' presence. "Obviously we won the game. We started off pretty fast by getting him the ball early."
When the day ended, Thomas finished with three catches for 61 yards, and the utmost respect from his new coaches and teammates.
"I cannot say enough about Demaryius Thomas," head coach Bill O'Brien said. "You talk about a pro."
O'Brien also said Thomas was welcomed into the locker room with open arms by his new teammates.
When the Broncos missed a 50-yard field goal as time expired, Thomas sprinted off the field to the Texans locker room, ecstatic with the win. He joked "it was the fastest I ran all day".
Thomas and the Texans are now 6-3, and have next weekend off with the bye. They'll return to action two weeks from today in Washington.