Grinding through some demons and perhaps getting inspiration on Andre Johnson day, the Texans broke a three game slide and beat Arizona 31-21.
Tom Savage was under pressure (aren't all quarterbacks, all the time?) to get off to a strong start. He responded by throwing two touchdown passes and making several key third down throws on the way to the victory.
The day had its struggles. Savage had to shake off a strip sack and a deflected pick. Both turnovers led to points. But Houston got a little juice with a field goal going into the half. And after Andre Johnson was inducted into the Ring of Honor at the break, the Texans marched 74 yards to retake the lead.
DeAndre Hopkins snared a touchdown pass to cap the drive. It felt significant that right after the Texans immortalized one great receiver, another gave them the lead.
The Cards bounced back with a short TD drive after Houston had to punt from deep in its end following a fruitless possession, somewhat because of poor field position. But the offense bounced back as D'Onta Foreman rushed for the first of two TDs on the day. It was sad and felt like more horrible luck for this team, watching him get injured in the end zone after a sensational 34-yard scoring run.
Overall, the defense played a terrific game despite the two short-field TDs Arizona got because of the Houston turnovers. Jadeveon Clowney had a monster game and continued to show that he's at least among the top three defensive players in the game. The fact that he's creating such chaos considering Houston's injury situation is commendable.
This win keeps the Texans alive. They have plenty of work ahead of them but there is an opportunity to catch up in the race if they can clean up the turnovers and Savage can continue to improve. He made some terrific throws, including two on the run, that show he's benefitting from the reps. The key now is to play clean and hope that they can somehow make some noise in the next two road games.
Jacksonville is three games ahead in the division. Tennessee is two in front. A wild card is in play. A lot can happen with six games left. But Bill O'Brien will be the first to point out that the Texans focusing on themselves and improving their performance is what matters most.
Otherwise there's no sense in scoreboard watching.
Check out photos as the Houston Texans took on the Arizona Cardinals at NRG Stadium.