All wins are special, but Sunday's victory over the Steelers at NRG Stadium was extra-special to the Texans.
Yes, they dominated Pittsburgh from start-to-finish, 30-6.
Yes, they were victorious on a day they celebrated J.J. Watt with a Ring of Honor induction.
But Sunday's win was the first one at home in a while. A long while.
The Texans hadn't won an NRG Stadium in nearly two calendar years: their last victory was December 26, 2021 over the Chargers.
"I don't know if everybody knows, but we didn't have a win at our home since December 2021, if I'm not mistaken," Cornerback Steven Nelson said. "Coach preached all week, 'Why not? Why not today?' We got to put an end to that and nobody comes in the house."
Nelson ended the Steelers' first drive of the game with an acrobatic diving interception. He returned the pick 33 yards to set up the Houston offense with a 1st-and-10 at the Steelers' 45-yard line. Nelson and the Texans defense kept Pittsburgh out of the endzone, and only allowed a pair of third quarter field goals.
"Getting that win, seeing everybody happy, excited, full of energy…it was amazing," Nelson said.
Quarterback C.J. Stroud, who passed for 306 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions, took Ryans' early-week words to heart. In turn, the rookie had a message for Texans fans, who'd seen their squad win a combined 11 games the three previous seasons.
"Y'all deserve to feel special," Stroud said. "Y'all deserve to root the Texans on. Not winning since 2021, I think it was around Christmas, that ain't flying for anybody in this building. I want them to know we're fighting our tails off every day to make sure y'all walk around with Texans gear pride, y'all walk around with that swag that we walk around with when we get a W."
Tight end Dalton Schultz caught his first touchdown as a Texans when he pulled in a halfback pass from Devin Singletary early in the fourth quarter. Schultz explained what Ryans did early last week.
"DeMeco came in and he put up a date," Schultz said. "It's the last time that the Texans won a game at home. At the forefront of the week, we were honed in on just being able to win at home. There's always room for improvement, but that was a great team win and we needed that one."
The Texans are now even at 2-2 in 2023, and will face the Falcons in Atlanta next Sunday at noon CT.