Houston Sports: The three worst moments of 2018

Houston Sports sad Texans fan (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Houston Sports sad Texans fan (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Moment #3: Will Fuller’s devastating ACL injury

Houston Sports fans — it was just too good to be true ya’ll.  After missing Week 1 with hamstring injury against the New England Patriots, Will Fuller had appeared and was actively contributing in every game the Houston Texans partook, especially while the team was in the early stages of their eventual, yet historical nine-game win streak.

But then the moment we all feared happened.  It was Week 8 against the Miami Dolphins with 9:04 left on the clock in the 4th quarter.  It was a prime-time, Thursday night match up on national television and Deshaun Watson was ensuring that he’d put on a good show for the fans.

I remember Fuller’s fateful play as if it were yesterday.  Watson had stepped back in the pocket, wound his arm back and launched a cannon toward a sprinting Fuller to the right of the end zone to what looked like a glorified GO route.  As he was trying to stride past cornerback Bobby McCain, he somehow got tripped up over him and his right knee hit the turf hard while going into end zone.

Fuller rolled over a bit than sat upright clutching his right knee as the Houston Texans training staff came hurtling toward him, wondering what the heck just happened.  McCain was flagged for defensive pass interference but the damage had been done despite the Texans eventual 42-23 win, Fuller’s 2018 campaign was over and the Houston Texans were going to need to find a replacement for his production.

That person turned out to be future Hall of Fame wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, who the Texans acquired from the Denver Broncos in heady trade deadline move in exchange for a 2019 4th-round pick.

Thomas had been a valuable contributor on offense — catching 23 passes for 275 yards (12 yards per catch) along with two touchdowns but he too went down with a season, possibly career-ending Achilles’ injury while pivoting into blocking mode late in last week’s bout with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Texans are now down to Vyncint Smith, an 2018 undrafted free agent out of Limestone College who caught a key touchdown in a late comeback engineered by Watson.  He will be a vital cog to this offense as this team heads into the postseason and if he can exceed expectations, the Texans will certainly have a valuable weapon on the forefront for many seasons to come.  We’ll have to see about that.

But back to Fuller, I was beginning to wonder if he had tapped into his best reincarnation of Indiana Jones and found the Holy Grail during the off season.  It truly was inspiring to watch and he was vital cog in ensuring that he was the deep ball threat that he was supposed be when drafted in the first round back in 2016.

Scouts persistently talked about his hands — especially with the large amount of drops he had during his collegiate career at Notre Dame — but he managed to find a way to shore that up and  one has to give wide receivers coach John Perry some credit, part of Bill O’Brien‘s original staff, to motivate him heavily not to make those mistakes.  DeAndre Hopkins has yet to record a drop this season with one week left to go which is just as notable of a story.

The type of improvement Fuller had was remarkable — he went from seven drops in 2016, to three last season and before he got hurt, he had zero drops to his credit.

Although the Texans have found a way to win without him, you can’t help but imagine how robust this offense would be with him in the fold.

It was certainly a down moment for Houston Sports alike and we’ll be looking forward to 2019 and hoping his fortunes with the injury bug are a lot better.