The Texans offense is serving up opposing defenses a much bigger portion of unpredictability each week. With Arian Foster throwing touchdowns and J.J. Watt lining up on offense, O'Brien's creativity definitely puts a wrinkle in game planning against Houston's offense.
"I think when you find out that the team has that personality, it takes away from preparing for everything else, the core plays, because you have to devote time to it," Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley said Wednesday. "Not only devote time to that, but the options that can come off of it."
Coming off a big 25-13 win against a Ravens team fighting for a wild card berth, the Texans now find themselves in a playoff hunt in Week 17.
O'Brien has done so with the fourth quarterback of the season and his peers have definitely taken notice.
"You know what? It's tough," Bradley said Wednesday. "It was impressive now just to see him last week and to see how they competed. You could tell the team was fired up; they rallied around it. And Coach O'Brien does a great job now. He used some creative things, some wildcat. If anything else, it sends a message to the team just that we're going to continue to compete and we're going for it. I thought it was pretty good effort."
O'Brien knows firsthand the type of success a team with some creativity and unpredictability can have. In 2008, he first saw the wildcat when the Miami Dolphins ran it against New England in Week 3. The Dolphins ended up winning that game 38-13. Brown set a new franchise record with four touchdowns and rushed for 113 yards. William averaged 6.1 yards per carry and accumulated 98 yards on the ground.
"That was incredible that day," O'Brien said on his Monday show on Texans Radio. "It was 2008 and that was 'Matt Cassel Year.' That was the only year in the last 15 years that somebody other than the Patriots won the AFC East and a lot was because of that. They came into Gillette Stadium and beat us pretty good using the wildcat. That was Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams and that was a hell of a day."
The Texans hope to have similar succes on Sunday when they face Jacksonville. Houston can secure the final wild card playoff berth with a win over the Jaguars and losses by San Diego and Baltimore.
"It's a great atmosphere," Bradley said. "We know what's in store for Houston. We really don't talk too much about the opponent. We watch and go through tape and we do those things, but we feel like the performance is based on us and our approach. With that being said, it's a great opportunity for us because it is a playoff atmosphere. To go into the stadium, it's going to be loud, our players are really, really excited about this. It's important."
The (8-7) Texans will host the (3-12) Jaguars in the final game of the regular season on Sunday. Kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. CT on CBS KHOU-11 and SportsRadio 610.