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Texans break streak with 'Next Man Up' mentality

The Texans finally won in Indianapolis, effectively ending a 13-year losing streak, but it came in an unpredictable fashion.

"For me personally, I've been here eight years and this is my first win here," Duane Brown said. "As far as a team, putting ourselves in first place, there's nothing like it. We've been fighting all year for it. A lot of ups and downs, injuries, things like. For us to find a way to get it done it's very special."

Those injuries included starting quarterback Brian Hoyer, who was ruled out early in the week. Backup T.J. Yates started the game but exited in the first half with a knee injury. He did not return and was replaced by newcomer Brandon Weeden. Weeden, who was claimed off waivers on Nov. 19, completed 11-of-18 for 105 yards, one touchdown, and a 95.8 passer rating.

Exactly how it was drawn up, right? J.J. Watt isn't surprised.

"That's kind of our style," Watt said after the game. "Next Man Up."

Sunday's 16-10 win felt a little too déjà vu for most. Last year, the Texans had to finish the game with rookie Tom Savage when Ryan Fitzpatrick broke his leg after a similar scramble.

It's been a rough few years for Texans quarterbacks.

"We've been through, what, 45 quarterbacks in the last two years?" Watt said, joking.

However, Houston is used to the Next Man Up mentality. When their backs were against the wall, the Texans made plays and the team rallied behind Weeden, Watt said.

"You have 46 guys and if something happens to one guy, regardless of position, that other guy better be prepared," head coach Bill O'Brien said. "You better have prepared that guy to step up and play. I think that's just the mentality and the way it is. These guys are pros. They get paid to do this and they have to be ready to go."

Weeden is the fifth Texan to throw a pass this year, in addition to Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett, T.J. Yates, Cecil Shorts. The Texans have not only become used to the "Next Man Up" mantra, they've thrived.

"I love coaching this team and they work hard," O'Brien said. "We demand a lot of these guys from the meetings to the practice to the post practice meetings to the walk-throughs it's an intense environment. These guys are tough. They are resilient. It hasn't always gone great for us during the year. But overall, they kept fighting. They kept fighting today and very, very proud of this team."

The (7-7) Texans currently hold the top spot in the AFC South and will travel to Tennessee to face the (3-11) Titans in Week 16.

The Texans faced the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Week 15.

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