NFL

Texans chasing history Saturday against familiar opponent

The Houston Texans became the first team in 20 years to make the playoffs after starting the season 0-3. Their first playoff game will come against the same divisional rival who they ended that losing streak with.
On September 23rd, the Texans came off a 22-27 loss to the New York Giants and had a 2.8 percent chance of making the playoffs. A week later, Houston was in position to tie in Indianapolis with only 27 seconds remaining in overtime. The Colts head coach, Frank Reich, decided to go for a 4th and 2 at their own 43 yard line. The controversial call misfired and led to Houston kicking a game winning field goal as time expired. The 37-34 last second win inspired a nine game winning steak and one of the biggest comeback seasons of all time. The same team they beat to turn their season around is the same Indianapolis Colts team they play this Saturday in the first game of the wild card round.
The week four win sparked the Texans to earn the AFC South division title and an 11-5 record. It’s only fitting that a comeback season would be led by a potential candidate for comeback player of the year. Last year, Deshaun Watson tore his ACL midway through having one of the best rookie seasons for a quarterback in NFL history. The quarterback struggled in his first three games back from the injury only having a quarterback rating of 89.6. The win in Indianapolis sparked his performance as well moving his QBR to 105.4 for the rest of the season. In the last 12 games, Watson had 23 total touchdowns and only 5 interceptions.
Part of Watson’s success has been due to getting the ball to his biggest playmaker. After the losing streak, Deandre Hopkins has had more targets, catches, and yards per game. Hopkins was second in the league with 1,572 receiving yards.
The offense has been able to control the ball because of a stellar defense. In the Texans first four games, the defense gave up 27 points per game. After that trip to Indianapolis, they have only gave up 17.3 points a game. Two factors to this are J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney, who have made plays for the third ranked Texans rush defense all year.
This won’t be an easy test for the Texans, but if they pull it off, they will travel to New England in a rematch of week one. If they win there, they will be the first team in NFL history under the new playoff rules to make it to a conference championship starting 0-3.

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