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Vandermeer's View: Texans prevail in Lone Star pressure cooker

In an atmosphere as wild as any we’ve ever seen at NRG Stadium, the Texans clawed their way to their second straight win by beating Dallas in overtime.

Despite the low score, there were some huge plays on offense, most notably Deshaun Watson connecting with DeAndre Hopkins, who ran, spun and willed his way for a 49-yard gain that set up the winning field goal.

There were plenty of mistakes and missed opportunities. The goal-to-go struggles were back. There was a fumble that led to the Cowboys’ only touchdown and an interception late in regulation. But what counts is that the Texans would not be denied a win they had to have to stay in the chase for bigger possibilities down the stretch.

Watson continues to play valiantly. He’s taken numerous hits but keeps picking himself up, throwing for gobs of yards and putting his team in position to win. He’s passed for over three hundred yards for four consecutive weeks and is as resilient as any young quarterback in the league. 

His main weapon continues to amaze. Hopkins has caught passes to tee up game winning field goals in back-to-back weeks. He’s, of course, had big seasons before. He now has an elite talent throwing him the rock and it’s going to be fun to continue to watch their collaborative magic.

The stadium was buzzing from the get-go. There were plenty of Dallas fans trying to make noise and throw off the Texans attack. But the Houston faithful brought the volume like it was September 8, 2002. 

The defense built a wall that held Ezekiel Elliott, the NFL's leading rusher, to 54 yards on an anemic 2.7 yards per carry. This was no small feat. The performance is certainly something to build on.

Of course the game wouldn’t have been as close if the Texans could have capitalized on their close range opportunities. But credit is due for the team’s ability to gut out a win when they clearly were having issues finishing drives. 

With the events of the day in the AFC, the Texans somehow find themselves a game out of first in the division. This was almost unthinkable two weeks ago. But Bill O’Brien pointed out last week to a doubting media that “nothing has been determined.” He was right. 

Everything the Texans wanted in the preseason is still out there for them. They just need to continue to find a way to improve week to week. Buffalo is next and they’ve shown they can beat anybody. It’s another week of healing and honing. And another chance to take a step forward.

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