Vandermeer's View: Mission accomplished


This was a memorable one.

In one of the most inspiring performances in franchise history the Texans took down the Cincinnati Bengals with a stifling defense, clutch special teams and a quarterback who was a distant memory just three weeks ago.

Holding a high octane offense like the Bengals to six points was nothing short of amazing. Andy Dalton had been enjoying the finest season of his career as Cincinnati was off to a team record 8-0 start.

But, the Texans neutralized the Bengals weaponry, holding the offense below 260 yards and forcing two turnovers including the game-sealing fumble with 40 seconds left.

Shane Lechler constantly forced the Bengals into poor field position while the defense (number one in the NFL in third downs) consistently found ways to get off the field. Houston had three sacks and plenty of overall pressure while the defensive backs made big play after big play.

When Brian Hoyer had to go to the locker room in the second half with a concussion, T.J. Yates came in. Houston was down three and with only three weeks of prep we wondered if Yates could execute the passing game well enough to get the lead. He did.

What followed was a 79-yard drive including two big throws for first downs to Ryan Griffin. Then Yates found DeAndre Hopkins in the same end zone where he hit Kevin Walter for the biggest touchdown pass in team history four years ago.

With NFL unemployment probably a fresher memory than his rookie heroics, Yates found his old magic and helped Houston save its season.

This was a total franchise effort. From the defense to special teams to the offense getting just enough. And to the fans. The hundreds who traveled to see their Texans play and to those who watched at home, so deserving of seeing their team have a moment like this.

We don't know what it will lead to. There are major hurdles ahead. But for this night the Texans shined brightly. On a national stage they played clutch football and sent Cincinnati to the loss column for the first time.

This was one of the biggest upsets we've seen with this franchise. Certainly reminiscent of the win over Baltimore last year. It jolts the Texans back into a first place tie in the AFC South and a game out of a wild card spot. There's plenty of drama with a lot of intriguing possibilities in the final seven weeks of the regular season.

Check out the action from the Texans at Bengals Monday Night Football matchup.

Game on.

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