No fans in the stands was no fun on Sunday for the Texans.
On top of getting beat by the Ravens, 33-16, Houston played without fans in attendance because of COVID-19 precautions. For defensive end J.J. Watt, who's been a Texan since 2011, the experience was incredibly odd.
"It was very weird," Watt said. "I mean even comparing just last week with whatever it was, 15,000 to this week with none I was surprised at how big of a difference even just 15,000 fans makes. So as an athlete, as a competitor, did it make a difference in how you play? No. But you can definitely tell just the atmosphere, the excitement, the energy is definitely different."
Watt sacked Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson twice, and also batted a pass down. Normally, such heroics would get the NRG Stadium faithful quaking. On Sunday, though, Watt's great plays were met with the standard "Turn down for what?" snippet from the DJ Snake & Lil Jon song. But there were no fans cheering along with it.
While Watt, and quarterback Deshaun Watson maintained that the lack of fans didn't hinder their performance, they still said they look forward to the day when spectators return.
"That's definitely something that people feed off of in a football game, but we can't let that factor into the game and what we're doing on the field, because once we step on the field everything else is kind of blocked out," Watson said. "But, yeah, we miss our fans for sure."
The Texans travel to Pittsburgh for a Week 3 matchup on Sunday with the Steelers.
There's a chance fans will return in Week 4 when Houston hosts the Vikings.