No matter what happens the rest of the way, this was a landmark win. The New England Patriots have been the toughest team to beat for the Texans since the start of the franchise. The only previous victory was in Houston and it was 10 years ago.
Sunday night gave the Texans an opportunity to show how far they've come and they seized it convincingly. Yes, New England had a furious rally to come within an onside kick recovery of a serious threat. But Houston put enough of a cushion on the scoreboard to absorb the blow.
There were the Texans, battling with Tom Brady, hitting him, forcing incompletions at key times, getting sacks and stops. The defense allowed over 100 rushing yards but they made sure the passing attack never got clicking until it was just about too late.
Meanwhile, the Texans were playing complementary football. Bradley Roby's early pick set up a short field score. A fourth down stop sparked another relatively short touchdown drive. Deshaun Watson threw three TD passes and actually caught one. The offense was productive and often explosive.
Not only was the spotlight not too big for the Texans, they exceled on the national stage and took control of the situation.
Two weeks ago, Houston was coming off the loss to Baltimore and Bill O'Brien talked about turning the page. He's looking to do the same this week.
As fun and satisfying as beating the Patriots is, it'll lose its shine quickly if things don't go well against Denver next week.
Plus, Tennessee is lurking. After a rare win at Indy, suddenly the Titans have visions of a division title dancing in their heads.
But there's no taking away the magnitude of beating a team that's given the Texans fits over the years. It was a big step forward that could be a springboard to greater things.
Enjoy the ride. The Broncos are next and there's nothing more important than holding serve at home on Sunday.
Houston Texans take on the New England Patriots at NRG Stadium for the twelfth game of the 2019 NFL season.