The Houston Texans celebrated their Thanksgiving with a 41-25 win over the Detroit Lions in the nationally-televised game from Ford Field.
Much like the 2012 Texans-Lions game that ended in overtime, the first half featured ample portions of drama with three lead changes, four turnovers and an early pick-six by J.J. Watt. In the second half, Deshaun Watson and the offense feasted, scoring 17 unanswered points. Will Fuller caught a pair of touchdown passes in the fourth quarter.
"In the first half the defense got some turnovers and I think that helped in the game," interim head coach Romeo Crennel said. "And then in in the second half, I think that we played a more consistent game in the second half overall, and that allowed us to win."
Watson completed 17-of-25 for 318 yards, and tossed four touchdowns, including two to running backs Duke Johnson and C.J. Prosise. He finished with a 150.4 passer rating and added 24 yards rushing on eight carries. Fuller led the team with six catches for 171 yards and two touchdowns.
"Deshaun is a tremendous athlete, good leader, got good weapons that he can use that whenever he chooses to, and he spreads the ball around many times," Crennel said. "And then you've got to give some credit to the guys up front here again. Those guys, if they give him time, he's able to make plays. Guys can get open and he can hit them. He has that kind of accuracy. So overall, he does a great job because of his ability and his leadership, but with the help of those guys up front, with the help of those receivers and tight ends, running backs, it all kind of goes hand in hand. It's a team thing."
The Texans defense forced two fumbles, one interception and sacked Matthew Stafford four times. Stafford was 28-of-42 for 295 yards, one touchdown, one interception and an 84.9 passer rating. Tyrell Adams led the defense with 17 tackles, one pass defensed and two forced fumbles.
The Lions scored on their opening drive to get an early 7-0 lead. Stafford's 51-yard pass to tight end T.J. Hockenson on a trick play moved the Lions down the field and set up a one-yard touchdown run by Adrian Peterson.
Houston's defense force three turnovers on the Lions' next three offensive series. Watt picked off Stafford's pass and returned it 19 yards for a touchdown. Watt became just the third player in NFL history behind Jason Taylor and Julius Peppers with at least 100.0 sacks and six touchdowns in their careers.
"In the game we want to get takeaways," Watt said. "We've got a few of them there in the first quarter. But any time you have a chance to stop the offense and score points at the exact same time, it's huge."
Adams forced a fumble on the next two Lions' possessions. The Texans converted the first into a touchdown with a two-yard touchdown run by Prosise. However, after the second fumble recovery, Prosise fumbled and the Lions recovered. Four plays later, Peterson scored on his second touchdown of the game. The Lions regained their lead, up 14-13 early in the second quarter.
The lead wouldn't last long. Watson then led the offense on a five-play, 60-yard scoring drive. Johnson scored on a 33-yard touchdown catch and Houston led 20-14 with 10:18 left in the second quarter.
Kai'mi Fairbairn added a 42-yard field goal and the Texans headed into halftime with a 23-14 lead.
Both teams added a field goal in the third quarter. The Lions' opening drive of the second half lasted 7:36 and started with 10 consecutive running plays. Ultimately, the Lions had to settle for a field goal.
Watson threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to Fuller. Watson found Brandin Cooks for two deep passes and capped off the series with a 40-yard touchdown pass to Fuller and a successful two-point conversion to Keke Coutee.
After the defense stopped the Lions offense on fourth down, Watson connected with Fuller on a flea flicker play for a 34-yard touchdown. The Texans pulled away with their biggest lead of the day, 41-17.
Stafford threw his first touchdown pass of the game with 6:32 left in the fourth quarter. Mohamed Sanu scored on a 14-yard pass and also made the two-point conversion play. The Lions trailed 41-25 but were unable to put together another scoring drive.
The Texans improved to 4-7 on the season after winning three of their last four games. Houston will next host the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, December 6.