Bill O'Brien likes to say he wants to win every game, preseason or not. Well, mission accomplished so far with a 4-0 sweep of the August (and early September) slate as the Texans gave us plenty to look forward to once the regular season gets rolling.
The preseason capper was a 28-17 dismantling of Dallas that saw a little bit of everything. The opening drive, with O'Brien calling the plays, was going swimmingly with runs by Kenny Hilliard and Tom Savage going 3-for-3 on third down until a fumble stopped the music inside the 20-yard line. Moments later, the Cowboys were in the endzone.
But the defense later forced a turnover enabling Houston to score on a short field with Akeem Hunt finding paydirt on a three yard run. Hunt would later add a TD catch to put together a nice piece of work on video in his bid to make the roster.
He's got company though. Despite Hilliard's fumble he looked sharp on his way to an 86 yard night on a whopping 29 carries.
And it'll be interesting to see how many wide receivers O'Brien keeps. Keith Mumphery made a terrific catch and run for the go-ahead touchdown in the second quarter and Cecil Shorts showed up well with four grabs.
Dallas quarterback Jameill Showers never sustained rhythm against a defensive effort that featured two sacks and a pick-six thanks to relentless effort from men fighting for NFL jobs.
Nick Novak closed out a perfect preseason, going 11-for-11 in extra points and 5-for-5 in field goals.
Now come the cuts. O'Brien has said this is the hardest the decisions have been since he's been here, and he likes that. The themes of the preseason were defensive scores – they got two touchdowns from John Simon and the interception returned for a TD by Antonio Allen. And long throws – seeing Brock Osweiler connect with Will Fuller a couple of times whet the appetite for exciting possibilities in the regular season. It was good to see a bomb executed in the finale to keep the fire burning.
Questions remain about how good the running game can be because it's only happened in spurts. But as Derek Newton gets back, then Duane Brown, it's bound to take a step forward with the spry legs of Lamar Miller ready to lead the way. It was a fun preseason. It gave us a glimpse of what to anticipate when the games count. Sure there are many unknowns but it's apparent that the Texans are new and improved for 2016.
Check out some photos as the Texans close out the preseason against the Cowboys.