Texans’ Greatest Games: #10 – 6
#10 2011 AFC Wild Card Game vs. Bengals – W 31-10
In terms of epic moments, this game would be right at the top. Yet, from an overwhelming perspective of great games, it wasn’t as epic of a game. This was a rematch between the Texans and the Bengals from earlier in the season. It was a rematch for J.J Watt against Andy Dalton, who had beaten him in the Rose Bowl a year prior, and it was the first-ever playoff game in Houston since the Oilers lost.
It started out being tight as each team would score a touchdown and a field in the first half. But then, arguably the greatest play in franchise history would switch momentum as J.J Watt would become an icon in the city for his pick-six that gave Houston a 17-10 lead at halftime.
After helping the Texans reach the playoffs, T.J Yates would help out Andre Johnson get his first touchdown reception from 40-yards that gave Houston a 24-10 lead in the third quarter. The star of the game was Arian Foster, who ran for 153 yards and two scores. It was a blowout win for the Texans and their first win as a franchise. Still, this game was just the beginning of things to come both good and bad.
#9 2016 Week 6 Texans vs. Colts – W 26-23 (OT)
Brock Osweiller will go down as one of the biggest free-agent signing disaster in NFL history, let alone franchise. While the Texans are to blame for the amount they paid him, Osweiler’s play didn’t endear him to Houston fans. Yet, there was one night during the 2016 season that Osweiler showed what he could be to the Texans.
Against the Indianapolis Colts. Houston struggled to keep it close as they trailed 13-9 after three quarters. 10 unanswered Colts points made it 23-9 with 7:04 left to play in regulation. The fans left thinking it was over. Yet, Osweiler somehow found the magic he had as a backup to Peyton Manning in Denver. A 10-yard pass to Lamar Miller cut the deficit in half. After a defensive stop, the Texans got the ball back as Osweiler led another drive that ended with C.J. Fiedorowicz catching a 26-yard strike to tie the game.
Overtime brought Houston the win as Nick Novak ended the game with a 33-yard field goal to complete an incredible comeback. Osweiler finished the day with 25 completions for 269 yards and two touchdowns. That one night would prove to be the highlight of his otherwise dismal season. Even though the Texans still made the divisional round, it was clear that Osweiller had run his course with Houston all in one year.
#8 2003 Week 4 Texans vs. Jaguars – W 24-20
An early classic case where a gutsy call pays off for the team, this game has somehow been forgotten by the fans. Probably because it was a game that saw David Carr as the quarterback for the team. In their second season, the Texans took on the Jaguars. After jumping on Jacksonville 14-3 in the second quarter, Houston would concede 17 of the next 20 points to trail 20-17 after three quarters.
The score stayed that way all the way until Houston forced a fumble in Jacksonville territory getting the ball back with two and a half minutes to play. Moving the ball to the one yard-line, Houston was ready to score and they would get four chances. Three chances later, they still were at the one with three seconds to go. The smart decision would’ve been to kick a field goal and go to overtime. Instead, Carr decided to attempt a quarterback sneak. Carr leaped in the air and got the ball across the goal line to give the Texans a 24-20 win.
#7 2010 Week 2 Texans @ Redskins
In San Francisco, the “Catch” involved Joe Montana throwing pass high enough for Dwight Clark to jump and make the game-winning play against the Dallas Cowboys. In Houston, it was a throw from Matt Schaub on fourth down to Andre Johnson from 34-yards and a tie game. Houston trailed 27-10 in the third quarter before Kevin Walter caught a six-yard pass from Schaub to cut the lead to 27-17.
After a field goal made it 27-20, Houston made a defensive stop by blocking a field goal. Then Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb nearly sealed the win as the ball went through the hands of an open receiver. Houston got the ball back and soon drove to the thirty-four-yard line. On fourth down, Schaub decided to go for it all and launched the ball. What ended up happening was a one-on-one matchup as Andre Johnson leaped up to make the game-tying reception.
The game went into overtime where after making a defensive stand, the Texans got the ball back and sealed the victory on a field goal by Neil Rackers. Schaub came within three yards of 500 passing yards for three touchdowns with Johnson having 158 of them on 12 catches.
#6 2009 Week 17 Texans vs. Patriots
So much was riding on this game for Houston. Not only was it an opportunity to beat the Patriots for the first time in playoff history, but it was also a chance to have their first winning season in franchise history and still keep their playoff hopes alive. Houston would hang tough with the Patriots for the first half tying the score at 13. Then, New England would have a pick-six in the third quarter and rush another touchdown to lead 27-13 with 14 minutes to play. Game over, right?
Yes, in other opportunities, but not this day. Houston would answer back with 21 unanswered points. An eight-yard strike from Schaub to Jacoby Jones would then be followed by a game-tying touchdown from Foster. With four minutes to play, the Texans got a break when Bernard Pollard intercepted a Tom Brady pass and out the Texans in good field position. It would take 28 yards before Foster would score again and propel the Texans to a 34-27 win.
Foster finished with two touchdowns out of 20 carries for 119 yards while Schaub outperformed Brady with 303 passing yards on 24 completions and two passing touchdowns. While two things were accomplished that day in a winning season and a win over the Patriots, the playoffs would not come for another two seasons.