The running game clicked again. The defense scored again. Special teams shined again. The passing game produced again. And the Texans won again.
Instead of immediately focusing on the longest current winning streak in the NFL, at nine in a row, let’s just look at the last three games at NRG Stadium. In those contests, Deshaun Watson has completed 76 percent of his passes for eight touchdowns and no interceptions. The defense has held opponents to 17 points per game.
The home cooking is tasty and Houston needs to keep it going when the Colts visit next week. The latest win began about as well as it could. The offense scored on the opening two drives, sandwiching a three and out by the Browns. Then the fun started on defense. Houston racked up three picks, including Zach Cunningham’s interception returned for a touchdown.
Cleveland never got anything productive going until the third quarter when Baker Mayfield led them on a touchdown drive to show that the Browns were still a concern. On the follow up possession, Justin Reid forced a fumble as Antonio Callaway was on his way into the end zone. Had Reid not made the play, things could have tightened up considerably.
The Texans are opportunistic but hardly perfect. Even up 23-0 at the half, Bill O’Brien told John Harris “We can play better.”
He’s right. There’s still another level out there for this squad. The offense ‘only’ scored one touchdown. But they weren’t in an urgent situation to take a lot of risks. Not with the defense dealing and Ka’imi Fairbairn going 5-for5 in field goals. Still, the quest and drive for improvement will serve the Texans well.
Four games remain in the regular season. And while the division is within immediate reach, there are even bigger fish out there, like a week off in January. But you won’t hear O’Brien or any of the players discuss that. They know that if you focus on what’s down the road you possibly risk driving into a ditch.
What’s important now is critical attention to getting and keeping everyone healthy for the battle with the Colts. Don’t even think about Indy getting blanked by Jacksonville. This is the NFL, where strange things happen every week.
Andrew Luck will be back in his home town and the Colts know this is their last shot to make a bid for the division crown. For the Texans, it’s another gigantic building block in their quest to continue an unforgettable run.
Game Photos: Texans vs. Browns
The Houston Texans defeated the Cleveland Browns in Week 13 of the NFL season.