An early turnover, a 75-yard drive surrendered, an injury to a key leader... it was hardly perfect in the first half. But the Texans navigated their way out of a couple of deficits, eventually stuffing the Bears 23-14 in the opener.
The pass rush heated up as the game progressed. Whitney Mericulus started with a bang, generating two sacks. Jadeveon Clowney got the start you wanted him to with a sack and a lot of time spent in the opposing backfield. And John Simon kept the momentum going from his ultra-productive preseason with a sack. JJ Watt got close a couple of times and looked like he's certainly on the right track in his return from back surgery.
The big loss of the day was Brian Cushing, who had to leave early with a knee injury.
Lamar Miller was outstanding with over 100 yards. Brock Osweiler had a nice Texans debut, with two touchdowns, as he spread the ball around to a host of new weapons, including Will Fuller V who shook off a key drop, eventually becoming the first Texans receiver to rack up over 100 yards in his first game.
Osweiler looked sharp enough on the first series then threw a pick to Tracy Porter on a contested ball intended for DeAndre Hopkins. The Bears then drove right down the field and grabbed a 7-0 lead. It was the opposite of what Bill O'Brien is talking about when he mentions complementary football.
Then things got going. A field goal drive was later followed by a Mercilus sack on third down, a nifty little return by Tyler Ervin and a short drive that ended with Hopkins' first touchdown catch of the season. Houston led. But not for long.
Jay Cutler, who was on target for much of the first half, threw a long ball to Alshon Jeffery late in the first half. Seconds later, Eddie Royal caught a 19-yard TD pass and the Bears were in front again, creating an uneasy halftime for the hometown fans.
However, that was all the scoring the Bears would put up for the day as an Andre Hal pick to open the third set the tone for the decisive derailment of the Chicago offense. Many of the first half struggles were self-inflicted. But, the Texans found their way out of the woods and constructed a win that would put them all alone in first in the AFC South.
Is it too early for that? Never. Enjoy this one as the stakes go up in week two with a Kansas City team coming off its biggest comeback win in team history.
Check out the best photos throughout the Texans first regular season game vs. the Bears.