There are many season-shaping wins Texans fans and media talk about through the years. There are underrated ones that occasionally get their due. But here is the list of the unsung, under the radar triumphs that seldom seem to get brought up in these conversations. If these were songs they might not make a Spotify play list. But they deserve your attention.
The committee (that's a committee of one, me) has compiled these from the last decade. The under-the-radar wins from the first decade will be for another column. And you can bet I'll be including the fact that the team beat two playoff squads in year one. That the Texans knocked off a Super Bowl team in year two. That….
Editor's Note: Stop right there, Vandermeer! You're going off on a tangent again. Just get to the under-the-radar wins of the last decade.
OK, let's count these down –
5. Texans 30 Jaguars 16 – December 19, 2021
Hear me out on this one. This is Davis Mills' first win. And he was squaring off against and beating number one overall pick Trevor Lawrence. People talk about the victory over the Chargers a week later. But this one was in the division against a refreshed Jacksonville team, newly free of Urban Meyer. And the Texans took it to them. This might be the start of a long time series of very interesting match ups between these two QBs.
4. Texans 24 New Orleans 6 – November 29, 2015
This ditty was on the comeback trail from a 2-5 start to a division title. J.J. Watt sacked Drew Brees twice as the Sean Payton-Brees combination was held without a TD for the first time ever. The '15 Houston D would finish 3rd in the league as the first three years of the O'Brien era yielded some excellent defensive performances under coordinator Romeo Crennel, including our number one selection here.
3. Texans 29 Colts 17 December 16, 2012
This was the season with the Texans best record, 12-4. The wins everyone talks about are Week 3 at Denver, the Week 5 MNF win at the Jets and the two game marathon overtime victories against Jacksonville and Detroit, four days apart. But I'm here to tell you that as disappointing as it was that the Texans didn't clinch homefield by losing at Indy two weeks later, there's no telling what might have happened if they didn't get this one.
Indy would eventually finish 11-5 and was piping hot, having won three in a row and seven of eight. Houston was soul-searching, coming off the Monday Night meltdown in Foxborough. Rookie Andrew Luck threw two TD passes including one to Texans villain T.Y. Hilton. But the Texans clinched the division for only the second time ever, with a rousing performance.
2. Texans 20 Indy 17 – November 19, 2019
It was another situation of the Texans hosting the Colts, coming off a blowout loss. This time it was a 41-7 stunner at Baltimore that you were concerned might leave a mark. To make matters worse, there were only three days to get ready for this TNF battle.
The Colts had won four of six and were very much alive for the division. Brennan Scarlett's stop of Jacoby Brissett on a 4th down scramble at the Houston 40 with three minutes left gave the Texans the ball back and they drained the clock. This is the only time the Texans have beaten Brissett, who is 5-1 against Houston with three different teams.
1. Texans 19 Kansas City 12 – September 18, 2016
There were some big wins in '15 and '16 that had scores like this (10-6 over Cincy on MNF, 16-10 at Indy in '15) We were still feeling the hurt of the opening day loss to K.C. in '15 and the playoff horror of 30-0. Houston opened with a win over the Bears. Then it was time to take on a terrific Chiefs team that would eventually finish 12-4. A.J. Bouye helped hold Travis Kelce to 34 yards receiving. Then-rookie Tyreek Hill had two catches. The offensive numbers weren't pretty but this was a blood-and-guts battle that the Texans wanted badly. NRG was rocking.