After trailing Jacksonville going into the fourth quarter, the Texans put together two touchdown drives and a defensive score with their season on the line. That clutch fourth frame might be something they can truly build on as they embark on the final ten games of the season.
It really didn't matter how the Texans 'looked' against the Jaguars. All that mattered was they won. But they did show signs that they could be over their early season struggles in a couple of key areas.
They came into the game with only two takeaways on the season and earned three on their way to the victory. Andre Hal had two interceptions including a 'pick-6.' And A.J. Bouye's interception sealed the win.
They also needed pass rush out of someone other than J.J. Watt. Well, Whitney Mercilus had two sacks and John Simon netted one. Not that Watt wasn't a factor, he helped pressure Blake Bortles all day long. And even though Bortles put up some nice numbers, the three picks put a huge stain on his day and helped the Texans pull out the win.
Houston also needed one of its quarterbacks to really grab a hold of the starting job. Brian Hoyer threw for three touchdowns and nearly three hundred yards in a gritty performance that saw him exit the game for a play after a taking an illegal shot then later throwing the first of two touchdowns to DeAndre Hopkins.
Speaking of 'DHop', we were treated with the fine work of Andre Johnson for over a decade and now we have someone who has stepped right into the 'one-of-the-best-in-the-NFL' spotlight. What a treat. Hopkins went for over 100 yards again (4th straight, tying Johnson's team record) and, as the great ones often do, made it look easy. Houston is privileged to have him.
There's still plenty to improve. Penalties hit double figures again and the Texans had issues with their second fourth down attempt and their four-minute offense. But no one should complain about a quantum leap in improvement over the first five games of the year.
Miami is up next and they won't go down easy after handily defeating Tennessee. But the Texans took a gigantic step toward playing the kind of football they envisioned in the offseason. They need to take another in South Florida next Sunday.
Check out these game photos from the Texans' Week 6 matchup with the Jaguars at EverBank Field.