Since I arrived at work Monday morning, I've thought time and time again about the enormous gulf between how we're feeling now versus how we felt this time last year.
The Texans left Indianapolis as winners to close out both regular seasons. But in 2022, the victory over the Colts was just the third one in that campaign. In the waning hours of Saturday night, they'd just logged their 10th W of the 2023 season and punched a ticket to the playoffs as a Wild Card entrant at minimum.
Then the Jaguars lost in Nashville on Sunday afternoon, which meant the Texans won the AFC South and would get to host a playoff game.
The injection of life DeMeco Ryans brought to the franchise was immediate. Since returning home late last January, the good times have rolled. Then, the NFL Draft brought quarterback C.J. Stroud and defensive end Will Anderson, Jr. and receiver Tank Dell to town, and the team as a whole exceeded every expectation, finishing with a 10-5 mark after stumbling out of the gate with losses the first two weeks of the season.
They've blown out the playoff-bound Steelers. They've come back on offense in the final minute to stun the Buccaneers and Bengals, among others. Their defense has held its own and turned back late comeback bids at Indy, most recently.
The Texans have trotted out a new offensive line combination nearly every week. They relied on some Case Keenum magic to turn back the Titans in Nashville. After spending the previous four years near the bottom of the NFL, the defense has stiffened up and become one of the top 5 units in the league against the run.
It's been a wild ride, and a thrilling one.
Now we get another spin against the Browns at NRG Stadium, and I'm thankful.
The Texans are good again. And fun. And ready for a whole lot more.