The Texans were staring down the barrel of a potential 20-0 deficit on Saturday against Buffalo.
Then, J.J. Watt happened.
It was 13-0 with just under seven minutes left in the third quarter, and the Bills were facing a 3rd-and-8 at the Houston 12-yard line. With ease, quarterback Josh Allen guided Buffalo 50 yards downfield on the previous six plays. A touchdown at that juncture might have put the game out of reach.
But Watt helped change that.
The 3-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year dropped Allen for a sack and loss of eight yards, igniting his team and the NRG Stadium crowd, and the Texans went on a roll.
"J.J. got the crowd going," head coach Bill O'Brien said. "The Houston fans, they're great because they're going to let you know when you're not playing well, and they're going to let you know when you are playing well. When we were playing well there, they were a big factor in the game, and I thought that was a big part of the game, our home fans."
The Bills kicked a field goal to go up 16-0, but the offense marched down the field and scored a touchdown and two-point conversion. The defense forced a fumble on the next Buffalo possession, and Houston tacked on a field goal. Watt and company responded with a 3-and-out, and Houston took the lead with another touchdown and two points after.
"We just knew it was a matter of time that he was going to make a play," quarterback Deshaun Watson said. "It's J.J. Watt, Hall of Famer, the best guy to do it, and eventually he was going to get his opportunity, and that's what he did. He made a heck of a play, and it just turned the whole momentum and the whole stadium to our sideline, and we just took it over."
Watt was lost to injured reserve after suffering a Week 8 pectoral injury in the win over the Raiders. He was brought on to the 53-man roster on Tuesday, and finished Saturday with the sack, a tackle for loss and a pair of quarterback hits.
A grueling comeback since late October began right after his surgery, and Watt said it was 7-days a week process for the last two months. Saturday's excitement made it all worth it, and more.
"That's why you do the rehab," Watt said. "That's why you do all of it. For those moments, to be out there with the guys, to be a part of the team, to try and help the team win, to try and bring that spark."
Watt's heroics during the game were one thing. But his impact before it started was another, according to running back Carlos Hyde.
"For him to come back in and have an impact on the game, it was huge," Hyde said. "He had guys motivated before the game and guys were feeding off his energy, so that sack definitely brought some energy to us."
The Texans look to maintain that energy next weekend in the Divisional Round playoff.
Houston Texans take on the Buffalo Bills at NRG Stadium for the first game of the 2019 NFL postseason.