Nine weeks of off season conditioning and OTAs and 5 weeks of training camp and preseason games have come to an end. Preseason game four was an after dinner mint to a busy eight months that have formed the 2018 Texans.
Sure, the starters didn't play Thursday night but four things stood out that Bill O'Brien will want to carry over into the regular season.
1. The Texans ran the ball well
Houston racked up a healthy 142 yards on the ground. Every player who had four or more carries averaged over four yards per attempt. And don't talk to me about how Joe Webb accounted for 28 yards of the total. It was on five attempts and I'm thinking that's right around where you'll see Deshaun Watson's average carry number during the campaign.
2. They played good defense
Dallas was held to 253 total yards, just 31 percent on third down and threw two picks. They gained only 52 yards on the ground. And this level of the Cowboys' offense had gotten plenty of in-game reps coming in. This was a solid performance by the Houston reserves, many of whom will be heard from throughout the regular season.
3. They shook off a sub-par first half to take control of the game
After committing 11 penalties in the first half the Texans had only one yellow flag thrown their way in the second. Webb went 6-8 and the team yards per rush held at four per carry. It wasn't exactly the greatest show on turf but the job got done.
4. They won
The last thing you want to see is reserves and hopefuls slog their way through a game and ultimately yield to the opponent. You get the feeling that it's bad for the culture. The better second half enabled the Texans finish the game and the preseason on a good note.
Now, it's time for the regular season to blast off. The Texans end this phase as healthy as you could expect with a complete arsenal of weaponry available on both sides of the ball. It'll be an intense week of preparation as the team readies for the Patriots in Week 1.
A loss hardly means they can't have a great season. But a win could be a huge springboard for a franchise that's hungry to get back to the top of the AFC South and beyond.
See photos of Texans players arriving at NRG Stadium for tonight's game against the Dallas Cowboys. Arrival photos are presented by Palais Royal.