If the Texans are ever in a pinch and need an offensive player to get some snaps on defense, Nico Collins is the man for the job.
"You know I can definitely play both sides of the ball," Collins joked after Sunday's win. "I'm not getting beat deep. It's over with."
In the first quarter of Sunday's 20-13 victory over the Saints at NRG Stadium, C.J. Stroud was picked off by New Orleans linebacker Zack Baun. During Baun's 10-yard return, Collins popped the ball loose and offensive lineman Tytus Howard pounced on the fumble.
So the first-ever Stroud pick…resulted in a Texans first down.
"I saw the defender had it and I was like, 'Oh!'," Collins said. "He wasn't even looking my way. He looked at me and then he just cut. I just went and punched it out and I made sure it came out. That was only my focus. Get that ball out."
The ball came out, and after the Howard recovery, the Texans had a fresh set of downs at their own 41-yard line with 5:56 remaining in the opening quarter. Stroud was thankful for the heads-up play from his teammates.
Stroud shared about cornerbacks coach Dino Vasso talking to the team on a weekly basis about what to look out for when a defender comes up with the ball.
"It's kind of crazy because he always shows clips of guys getting interceptions, not protecting the ball," Stroud said.
The rookie quarterback, who's now tossed nine touchdown passes to just the lone interception, also joked about his presence in forcing the defender into Collins' path.
"I think I made him cut and Nico came," Stroud said. "No, I'm playing; it was all Nico. Nico made a good play."
The Texans recouped, Stroud drove them down the field, and hit tight end Dalton Schultz six plays later for a 1-yard touchdown pass.
Veteran safety Jimmie Ward, who was second on the team today with seven tackles, gave Collins an excellent grade for his safety skills on the forced fumble.
"I'm giving him an A-plus because he forced that fumble when we needed it," Ward said. "Playmaker."
Collins also managed to catch four balls for 80 yards, which brought his season totals to 29 receptions for 547 yards. The yardage mark is now a career high for Collins in a season. His first three catches all went for first downs, as he pulled in passes for pickups of 11, 24 and 28 yards. He also drew a pass interference penalty in the end zone that was worth 14 yards and gave Houston a 1st-and-Goal at the 1-yard line.
"We're rolling," Collins said. "But I feel like there are still details we can clean up. That's why we're just going to continue to grow and fix those small details."
Collins and the Texans are now off for the bye week and will travel to Carolina for a matchup with the Panthers in Week 8.