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Wrecking Will: Rookie has Monster Game | Texans vs. Broncos


When Will Anderson Jr. and Sheldon Rankins arrived on Kirby Drive, the Houston Texans were a new organization for both of them.

Anderson had just finished at Alabama and been drafted No. 3 overall by the Texans in the 2023 NFL Draft. Rankins signed as a free agent coming over from the New York Jets in the offseason. Both new to the Texans. One new to the NFL and the other entering his eighth season.

"Will's my guy. That's my rook," Rankins said. "From day one since I got here, me and him have been locked in."

With them being locked in through OTAs, training camp and now through 13 weeks of the NFL season, Rankins has watched the rookie work. He has seen him get frustrated at times because his numbers weren't what he wanted them to be.

"I've always told him, that's the way this league works," Rankins, who played in his 104th NFL game on Sunday, said. "They'll come, you just keep going through your process, trusting the way you work, trusting your own abilities and don't shy away from the moments and you'll have your opportunities to have your impact as a rusher."

Anderson's moment came Sunday against the Broncos and the rookie didn't shy away.

The former Alabama star filled nearly every stat box on the line, registering five tackles, three solo, a career-high two sacks, two tackles for loss, one pass deflection – which led to a Derek Stingley Jr. interception – and a career-high four quarterback hits.

"What a game by Will," Texans coach DeMeco Ryans said. "I think everybody's seen his stat line. You talk about tackles for loss, you talk about sacks, putting pressure on the quarterback. Will, he wreaked havoc today. It's what we envisioned when we selected Will and to see him show up in a big-time game for us, show up really being an impact player for us, that's who Will Anderson is. And he shows it every single day."

View the best photos from the Week 13 matchup between the Houston Texans and Denver Broncos.

With Sunday's performance, Anderson has racked up 43 tackles, five sacks, eight tackles for loss and 17 quarterback hits through his first 12 career NFL games.

But Anderson isn't satisfied.

"It was a good game but there's always more to get better at," Anderson said. "No game is a perfect game. And for me, I love learning. I really love learning and I get to learn from some of the best guys in the room and some of the best coaches. There's always more in the tank, there's always more out there left to do and more to get better at.

"It's just a building block right now for all of us just to keep stepping over that building block and get better week-in and week-out."

Seeing the performance of Anderson from his vantage point, where he had four tackles and one quarterback hit on Sunday, Rankins wasn't surprised at all by what Anderson did.

"It's something he's been doing all year," he said. "Obviously, everybody looks in that sack column. He's been wreaking havoc as an edge rusher or wherever he's rushed at throughout the season. It's no surprise he was able to come up with those big plays today."

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