In search of back-to-back wins for the first time since 2004 and a season-ending win for the first time in franchise history, the Texans delivered a 14-6 win over the visiting Cleveland Browns Sunday at Reliant Stadium.
Not surprisingly, the Texans offense was a bit shell shocked to start the game and it showed. The Texans managed just three first downs in the first quarter and 46 yards of total offense.
was shutout in the first half for just the second time this season.
"I've been doing this a long time and I've never seen anything like that happen before," head coach Gary Kubiak said of the pregame events.
Chris Taylor was scheduled to see action Sunday, but no one envisioned
's only offensive score of the game.
"He's got some big time ability," Kubiak said of Taylor, who began the season on the practice squad. "He need's some more experience, another training camp and another preseason but I think he's going to be a fine player."
As strong as
's offense still struggled most of the day, but the defense rose to the occasion. And like the offense, the defensive star was a player who wasn't even dressed for the Texans first game of the season.
Defensive tackle Anthony Maddox was plucked off the Jaguars practice squad midseason and Sunday he made the biggest play of his brief Texans career with a forced fumble that he returned 47 yards for a touchdown.
Maddox's big play proved to be the difference and the Texans will enter the 2007 season on a two-game winning streak.
"It's a good step forward, but we want to take that next big step," Kubiak said.
The Browns won the toss and elected to receive taking over at their own 27-yard line after a 25-yard return from Joshua Cribbs.
territory using both the run and the pass. Frye, who was ruled out earlier in the week, looked extremely sharp on his first crack at the
defense, but made a critical mistake on a second-and-eight play from the Texans' 18-yard line.
Looking for Braylon Edwards in the endzone, Frye was instead intercepted by C.C. Brown in the endzone. Brown's second career interception gave
the ball at its own 20 to start its first possession.
Trying to take the Browns defense off guard, Houston came out throwing. David Carr was off target on his first attempt of the game and after a sack on second down,
took possession at the Texans' 48-yard line after a short punt. After one first down, the Browns could draw no closer than the
Phil Dawson attempted a 48-yard field goal after the drive stalled, but failed giving the Texans the ball back at their own 38-yard line.
The Texans offense got in gear on the ensuing drive. Mixing the run and the pass, the drive was highlighted by 23 rushing yards from Chris Taylor and a Carr pass for 16 yards to Vonta Leach.
But on the following play, Carr was intercepted by Daven Holly, who returned it 41 yards to the Browns' 41-yard line.
The Texans defense rose to the occasion and forced a three-and-out and after
's punt, the Texans took over at their own 14-yard line.
deeper into its own end.
A solid screen play to
took over on its own 34.
territory. But Reuben Droughns fumbled at the Texans' 23-yard line and C.C. Brown recovered giving
new life at their own 21.
The Texans were stopped just short on the ensuing drive and even after reviewing
the spot of a
was faced with fourth-and-inches and elected to punt from their own 30.
After a fair catch,
began its next drive on its own 23-yard line. A tipped Frye pass on third down still found Kellen Winslow to extend the drive.
With new life, the Browns were able to hold the ball for the remainder of the half, but failed to come close to the endzone, settling instead for a 43-yard
field goal to give them a 3-0 lead at halftime.
started its first drive of the second half on its own 30-yard line after a 27-yard return by Dexter Wynn.
The Texans quickly took control with Taylor adding to his career high with 40 yards on a Houston drive that lasted 4:41 to open the second half, giving the Texans a 7-3 lead with 10:19 remaining in the third quarter.
Cleveland looked ready to score again on their next possession, moving into Houston territory, but when Frye dropped back to pass from his own 47-yard line, it was instead the Texans who point points on the board.
Maddox forced a Fry fumble, collecting his second sack of the season and then picked up the fumble and rumbled 47 yards for a touchdown, putting Houston on top 14-3 with 6:43 remaining in the third quarter, the decisive score in the game.
A Browns offense still reeling from a costly turnover, couldn't mount much offensively on its next possession. After forcing the Browns to punt before Cleveland could even get one more set of downs, the Texans took over on their own eight-yard line after a holding penalty on the Browns punt.
Pinned deep in its own end, Houston could mount little offense and was quickly forced to punt and the Browns took over in Texans' territory at the 47-yard line.
The Browns continued the offensive stalemate and after punting, pinning Houston deep in its own end. The Texans failed to move the chains either, but Stanley unleashed a 62-yard punt to at least reverse field position.
After Stanley's kick, Cleveland took over at its own 22-yard line with 11:58 remaining in the game.
Cleveland finally got on the board on their next possession. A costly holding penalty kept Cleveland out of the endzone, but Dawson did manage to make a 36-yard field to draw the Browns within one score at 14-6 Houston, with 7:08 remaining in the game.
Holding an eight point lead, Houston's offense went to work on the clock. Starting at their own 26-yard line, Houston moved methodically down the field riding the legs of Taylor and an offensive line buoyed by a month of strong rushing performances.
The Texans killed over five minutes, but were forced to punt from the Cleveland 42-yard line following the two minute warning.
After a 36-yard punt, Cleveland was faced with 94 yards to travel for a game-tying score.
That quest took a huge hit on second down when Mario Williams forced an intentional grounding penalty.
The Browns never recovered and after Houston took possession back, Carr took
two knees and the game was over.