The winding football journey of Tyrell Adams took another twist on Thanksgiving Day in Detoit.
The Texans linebacker rang up 17 tackles, defended a pass and forced a pair of fumbles in Houston's 41-25 triumph over the Lions. Interim head coach Romeo Crennel described Adams' performance as "tremendous", and said he's teamed up well with Zach Cunningham in the middle of the defense.
For a guy who didn't play a snap on defense in the season's first two games, then was in a combined 22 snaps for Weeks 3 and 4, Adams has started on the inside since Week 5.
And he's definitely made the most of it.
"It's undescribable," Adams said. "Just thinking of my journey. High school, college, professional. I always kind of got my success on the back end. I've always had to keep working to get to where I wanted to be. And I'm nowhere near where I want to be yet."
The 17 tackles tied Jamie Sharper (twice in 2003) and Brian Cushing (once in 2014) for the franchise record in a single game. When asked if he'd ever had that many in a game before, Adams alluded to his career at Atlanta's Mays High School, where he might've "peeled off like a 20-piece" once.
After Mays, Adams headed to West Georgia for college. A splendid four years there earned him a shot as an undrafted free agent with Seattle in 2015. He made it through training camp, but was let go after the final cuts that early September.
From Seattle, Adams ping-ponged to Kansas City, back to Seattle, to the Chiefs again, and then on to the Raiders. His NFL debut came that November in Oakland, and then in the years to come he would be a part of the Colts, Texans and 49ers for varying lengths of time.
His insertion to the starting lineup came this October after Benardrick McKinney was lost to injury for the season. Since then, Adams has logged at least six tackles per game in all seven contests. He has 60 in 2020. His heroics have been noted, and appreciated by defensive end J.J. Watt.
"T.A.'s been playing very well," Watt said. "Brings a lot of energy, a lot of juice. Comes to practice every day ready to work. It's great to see him playing so well."
After Watt's pick-6 in the first quarter of Thursday's win, Adams stripped the ball loose from Jonathan Williams, and cornerback Bradley Roby pounced on it at the Detroit 30-yard line. Deshaun Watson, C.J. Prosise and the offense turned it into points three plays later.
In the second quarter, he dislodged the ball from Kerryon Johnson at the Texans' 21-yard line, and defensive lineman Brandon Dunn fell on it. Adams said the work in practice on ratcheting up takeaways paid off in the game.
"Coach has been preaching 'Go for the ball'," Adams said. "We've been doing tallies of turnovers through the week of practice. But it's just a testament to the coaches and the players. We are fighting for the most turnovers in practice during the week. It's just something that came to fruition from practicing during the week."
Adams has repeatedly said his opportunity to play has been "a blessing", and he doesn't take it lightly.
He and the Texans will face the Colts at NRG Stadium on Sunday, December 6 at Noon CT.