I put together a committee (okay, it's just me) to thoroughly (off the top of my head) examine what are the top 10 plays in the history of the franchise.
Undoubtedly, some people will be upset. I took into account the magnitude of the moment, combined with what really pops in my memory. There are countless other tremendous plays. Some even in losses, of course.
And some all-time-great Texans players, like Arian Foster and Brian Cushing, didn't make plays that made the list. This doesn't mean they weren't phenomenal players. They are clearly in the top 10 in franchise history. T.J. Yates is on this list twice and he's not a top 10 franchise player. This list is about the big moments - the most excellent, most memorable plays we will always talk about.
10. Deshaun Watson TD run - Houston at Cincinnati – Sept. 14, 2017
Watson was making his first start. It was a Thursday night game, four days after a blowout loss in the opener. There was very little time to prepare and all of Houston's tight ends were hurt. The game was trudging along when Watson broke free from a collapsing pocket, sprinted up the middle, and weaved his way to the end zone. It was smooth and savvy. It was his coming-out play. He did what he needed to do on a night when the deck was heavily stacked against a victory. Yes he would throw the ball like a wizard in the coming weeks, but this run will go down as the greatest play of his first year.
9. Kris Brown FG - Houston vs Indianapolis – Dec. 24, 2006
The Texans had never beaten the Colts. Peyton Manning owned Houston with nine straight victories and a gazillion yards to start the Houston-Indy series. But on this day, Ron Dayne's 153 yards and two touchdowns kept things close. And Brown's tough 48-yarder as time expired sent the crowd and players into delirium as the Texans took down Goliath on Christmas Eve. People don't talk about this one as much as they should.
8. J.J. Watt fumble recovery for a TD - Houston vs Indianapolis – Oct. 9, 2014
I know what you're thinking, "they lost that game!" Yes, they did. But this was an unbelievable Watt moment that came in the wake of the long pick-6 two weeks earlier vs Buffalo and the start of the Watt offensive touchdown campaign that began four weeks earlier at Oakland. It seemed there was nothing he couldn't do. The Texans were down 24-0 at one point and pulled within five after J.J.'s play. No one there will forget that moment. It was certainly top three in volume decibel level at NRG Stadium.
7. Andre Johnson TD reception - Houston vs. Jacksonville - Nov. 18, 2012
It was a wild thriller, including Matt Schaub throwing for the second most passing yards in a game (527), Houston coming back from a 14-point deficit and both kickers making field goals in overtime to send the game deep into the extra session. Johnson took a receiver screen and ran it 48 yards for the game-winner. An epic ending to a stress-filled afternoon.
6. Andre Johnson reception - Houston vs Miami - Oct. 12, 2008
The Texans were about to go 0-5. Hurricane Ike hit after Week 1 and the Texans couldn't get on track. They had losses at Tennessee, in overtime at Jacksonville and the infamous 'Rosencopter' game against the Colts. Now the Dolphins were about to beat them. On 4th-and-10, Matt Schaub threw downfield to his left. Yeremiah Bell was about to intercept the ball but Andre Johnson went over his back to grab an improbable conversion to keep the winning drive going. Houston would avoid 0-5 and eventually finish a tough year at 8-8.
5. DeAndre Hopkins TD reception - Houston at Cincinnati – Nov. 16, 2015
Hopkins has made so many mind-blowing catches, including last year's Christmas juggling masterpiece against Pittsburgh. But this is his signature. With the Texans limping in at 3-5 against an undefeated Bengals team, He made a tremendous end zone sideline grab that turned the game and the season around. This play helped propel a 7-2 finish that brought the Texans back from the abyss. T.J. Yates throwing the pass, in the same end zone where he sent the Texans to the playoffs four years earlier, is no small part of the lore.
4. David Carr TD Pass to Billy Miller - Houston vs Dallas - Sept. 8 2002
This was the first-ever score for the franchise. It came on the opening drive. The Texans opened the game with Corey Bradford drawing a pass interference penalty that would put Houston at the Dallas 21-yard line. Two plays later, the first touchdown occurred. The place erupted. There was a huge release of emotion after five full years without the NFL. And it happened against Dallas. Glorious.
3. Andre Johnson TD reception on 4th-and-10 - Houston at Washington - Sept. 19, 2010
This is the all-time best Andre Johnson play. Late in the game, on fourth down, with hope running out, Matt Schaub knew he needed just enough time to get the rock to the future Hall of Famer, who snared it, spiked it and froze for a photo that reminded us of Muhammed Ali (Cassius Clay) defeating Sonny Liston. It was an iconic play in a shootout game Houston would ultimately win in overtime. Everyone has seen the photo. Everyone remembers the play.
2. J.J. Watt interception returned for a TD - Houston vs Cincinnati wild card game - Jan. 7, 2012
The first ever Texans playoff game was nearing the half, in a 10-10 tie. Watt caught an Andy Dalton pass and took it a short distance to the end zone and the roof nearly came off. After that, it seemed there was no way Houston could lose. And it was also clear that Watt's star would rise to stratospheric heights.
1. T.J. Yates TD pass to Kevin Walter - Houston at Cincinnati - Dec. 11, 2011
This capped an 80-yard drive with no timeouts. Yates had a 17-yard scramble on 3rd-and-15 that was probably the more miraculous play. But the pass to Walter was a great team play and play call, followed by a great team celebration as the Texans would hit the 10 win mark for the first time and would clinch their first playoff berth and division title moments later in the locker room as Tennessee lost to the Saints. This was an unforgettable day.