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Vandermeer's View: Living on the edge

Through six weeks of the season the Texans have played all one score games, all pressure cookers. The last three weeks have had enough stress and drama to fill an entire season. But here they are back at .500, in the thick of the division chase without having played their best football yet.

The latest outing saw the Texans blow a 10-0 lead, forcing them to make several clutch plays to pull out the win. And that’s the key difference during this streak; the team is hardly perfect through the course of the game but ultimately makes big plays to get the victory.

Deshaun Watson and the offense had difficulty with the Bills’ stout defense. Buffalo is not only hard to move the ball on (6th in the NFL coming into the day) but the Bills take the ball away, forcing and recovering seven fumbles on the year, tying them for the league lead.

Today was another lesson in why having a top-flight quarterback is crucial in this league. Watson’s three turnovers were very costly. And when the Texans had the ball at their eight-yard line, down three, Buffalo clearly had the upper hand.

That’s when the franchise quarterback went to work. He found Will Fuller on the right sideline for a huge first down. Then DeAndre Hopkins caught a pass and got the Texans closer to midfield with yet another spin move. Then Watson passed to Alfred Blue for another first down at the Buffalo 41.

The deep throw to Will Fuller was just about perfect. It produced a pass interference call that put the ball at the one-yard line. Yes, the Texans couldn’t punch it in, but the drive enabled Houston to tie the game and forced Buffalo to need to move the ball late in regulation.

Johnathan Joseph has thrived for 13 years in this league not just because he’s a great athlete. He’s smart and studies tendencies so he can put himself in position to make plays. J-Joe knew that the Bills would come back to a pass attempt to Kelvin Benjamin that they missed on moments earlier. When they did, Joseph picked it off and took it to the house.

Seeing his buddy Kareem Jackson snag an interception right after seemed like the perfect end to a day dominated by defense.

Watching Watson in the early going it was easy to forget that he was limited in practice and questionable for the game. He gutted out a win on a day when the Texans were facing a stampede of pressure and he didn’t ‘have his best stuff.’ This is what winners do. You have one at quarterback and need to enjoy the results.

The fact is, the Texans survived a huge challenge by a team that had knocked off a couple of division leaders and gave them all they could handle. Now, at 3-3, they need to recover and prep for a battle with Jacksonville that could go a long way toward determining the eventual AFC South winner.

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