I asked Andre Ware after the Texans blowout win what level of surprised he was. He said the score and margin were the surprise, not that the Texans were dominant. After all, the offense showed plenty of signs it was ready to explode. And the defense, which got a truckload of pressure on Tom Brady, just needed a fresh start and things might take care of themselves.
The day couldn't have started any better. Andre Hal had the first of his two picks off a third down pass by Marcus Mariota and the Texans started the game on a short field at the Tennessee 43-yard line. Moments later, Deshaun Watson who threw four TD passes, pitched the ball to Lamar Miller for a touchdown run to get the party started.
Houston layered two more Titan three-and-outs with consecutive 76-yard drives. Watson found DeAndre Hopkins for one and Will Fuller for the next one. Fuller had two TD catches and looked as polished and dangerous as you could possibly hope, coming off his preseason injury. And Hopkins shined overall with 10 catches, including a grab on 4th and one when Bill O'Brien spread the field out and trusted Watson to make a good decision.
Watching Watson, you never get a vibe that he's a rookie. His command, confidence and execution scream of a quarterback with experience way beyond his years. The fact that he put up one of the greatest QB performances in franchise history in his first home start is mind boggling. But maybe we shouldn't be surprised. He's a born winner who keeps working to get better with each snap.
Knowing that the Titans were going to try to run, the Texans dug in on stopping Mike Mularkey's 'exotic smashmouth' offense. They did just that, to a total of 86 rushing yards allowed. Demarco Murray and Derrick Henry each came in averaging over five yards per carry. They combined to go under three yards per carry against the Texans.
And Titans QBs combined for four interceptions, including a pick six by Dylan Cole, who also had a sack. This was nothing short of a stellar day for Mike Vrabel's side of the ball. Houston has been terrific against the run since the opening day setback to Jacksonville.
Special teams helped make the afternoon a three phase success, getting a 3-for-3 performance from Ka'imi Fairbairn, who is perfect on nine field goal attempts this season. Rookie receiver Chris Thompson was active and had a 42-yard kickoff return. While Houston kept dangerous return man Adoree Jackson under control for most of the day.
This was one for the ages. The highest point total ever for the Texans while registering the biggest margin of victory. We're only one quarter of the way through the season but the Texans are starting to click and look to keep the momentum going as Kansas City visits Sunday night.
Check out the best photos as the Texans took on the Titans at NRG Stadium.