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Vandermeer's View: Nail biter in New York

If you were thinking that the Jets were going to be gracious hosts and allow the Texans to easily steamroll their way to a 10th win on their weekend in the Big Apple, you were mistaken.

A 13-point first half Houston lead slowly evaporated as the Jets’ offense caught fire and the Texans ground game never got out of the gate.

There was plenty of fight in the men in green, enough to put your Texans in a three-point hole with five minutes to go. This is where you’re once again grateful that Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins wear Deep Steel Blue.

Watson went to work on a 75-yard must have drive, capped by yet another memorable touchdown catch by Hopkins, who had a gigantic day with 170 yards and two TDs on 10 catches.

The defense, which had been having some issues stopping rookie Sam Darnold and his receivers, made two four-down stops after that to cool the Jets for good.

As great as it is to see this squad get to double figures in wins for the first time in six years, no one is planning a banner hanging just yet. The Texans have a list of things they want to improve upon and the first would be to get their running game cranked up again.

Houston rushed for only 47 yards on the game, and 26 of them were from Watson. It didn’t help that Lamar Miller left with an ankle injury. Bill O’Brien knows that this is an area that needs correction down the stretch.

The other most notable need is in timely pass defense. The Texans once again did a great job against the run. But they understand that allowing over 50% in third down conversions is going to make life difficult for themselves moving forward.

Having said that, J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney made huge plays late, with clutch sacks on each of the last two New York possessions. Darnold was tough to bring down, extending multiple plays with his legs, like a lot of the mobile, opportunistic young QBs in the league.

All numbers, corrections and analysis aside, it’s clear that this is a different Texans team than the ones O’Brien coached to winning campaigns and two playoff appearances in his first three years at the helm. This team looks adversity in the eye and responds, more often than not. With Watson, there is not just hope, but expectation that they can get a late score when the need it.

It’s not always pretty but the level of execution has gotten them to ten wins on the season, with two games to go. As dicey as things got at the Meadowlands, the team never quit and found a way to earn another win.

Now it’s back home to heal and prep, then right back to this part of the country for a date with the defending Super Bowl champions. The win over the Jets was another important building block in the season. Construction is far from over.

We can stop and ‘smell the roses’ with ten wins. But O’Brien and his staff will be busy making sure that this team plays better with bigger games in front of them.

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