At some point, in cue, meaning 'off the air,' John Harris said to me that we need to make this game 'Wilson Proof.'
The Broncos quarterback had broken the hearts of the Texans before. In '17 he led his team to a late win. Last year, he hit now-Texans tight end Eric Saubert for the go-ahead score in the 4th quarter. And in '13, his scrambling and playmaking, combined with a Richard Sherman pick-six, gave the Texans one of the most painful losses in franchise history.
There he was again. This time, with the winners-of-five-in-a-row Broncos, driving late. Time was running out. He converted a 4th and two to keep Denver alive. Then, with a 1st and goal at the eight yard line, Wilson missed on the first two downs. It all came down to two snaps left. On third and eight, Wilson looked for a tight end but Jimmie Ward snared the ball out of the air for Houston's third interception of the afternoon and a Texans victory.
It was another roller coaster ride of emotions. The Texans had built a 22-10 lead, thanks to gigantic plays by C.J. Stroud and Nico Collins, two interceptions by Derek Stingley Jr. and three sacks combined by Jonathan Greenard and Will Anderson Jr. But Denver made a run and gave the Texans fan base more reasons to visit the cardiologist.
Collins had a historic day (9rec-191y, TD) and will look to go over 1,000 yards next week. Stroud 'was held' to 274 yards and was under 300+ for the first time in five weeks. His 10.1 average per attempt was his third best of the season. He now has 20 touchdown passes with five games to go. His 20-5 TD to INT ratio is the best in the NFL. Wilson came into the game at number one but a one TD, 3 pick day knocked him down.
Stingley's two picks gives him four on the campaign, tied for the team lead. He now had five interceptions in 14 games played in his career.
Anderson's two sacks give him five on the year while Greenard has eight.
Desmond King II led the team in tackles with nine and had a strip-and-score taken away by an early whistle. His return has yielded big plays, like his goal line stand hit last week vs. Jacksonville.
Most importantly, the Texans won. They are squarely in the playoff picture. There's a long way to go with five weeks remaining, including three dates on the road. There's a golden opportunity for something great to happen. They lost Tank Dell in this one and will have to find a way to pick up the slack. But no one in the locker room is doubting that they have the horses and the mettle to do what they need to do down the stretch.