1997-2001: When the Houston Oilers departed for the Music City in 1997, most thought the NFL would never return. However, Bob McNair a wealthy oilman wanted to bring the NFL back to Houston, and when his efforts to bring the NHL to Houston failed in 1997, he stepped up his efforts for bringing back pro-football. McNair and his business partner Chuck Watson put together a plane with the officials from the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (HLS&R) say they will push for the building of a retractable roof stadium that the Rodeo will share with an NFL team, as opposed to renovating the Astrodome. However, despite the organized efforts the NFL wanted to expand to Los Angeles. However, the politicians in LA could not agree on what plan to go with, and the NFL who was so impressed with Houston’s plan started to consider putting the 32nd team in Houston. In March of 1999 the NFL gave the city of LA a 6-month deadline to get their plans together. When the Los Angeles officials failed to get an organized plan together, the NFL decided to award Bob McNair and Houston the 32nd team that would begin play in 2002.
2002: The NFL returned to Houston as the expansion Texans faced the Dallas Cowboys in a Lone Star State showdown in Primetime on September 8th at Reliant Stadium the first stadium with a retractable roof in the NFL. It would be a magical night for the Texans and they became just the second expansion team since 1960 to win their very first game as the stunned the Cowboys 19-10 with Billy Miller scoring the first Touchdown in franchise history. After the jubilation of their first came the Texans came back to earth losing 5 straight before beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 21-19 on October 27th for their first ever road victory. After three straight losses the Texans would get their thirrd win by stunning the playoff bound New York Giants 16-14 at Reliant Stadium. After a 19-3 loss on the road to the Indianapolis Colts the Texans got their fourth and final win by stunning the NFC North Champion Pittsburgh Steelers on the road 24-6 as Aaron Glenn returned two interceptions for Touchdowns as the Texans won despite being held to 46 yards total offense. The Texans would go on to lose their final four games to finish with a 4-12 record. Setting the tone for the Texans resiliency and toughness was Quarterback David Carr who took every snap despite being sacked a NFL record 76 times.
2003: The Texans got their second season started in grand style as they stunned the Miami Dolphins in the first game of the season on the road 21-20, as they were listed as two Touchdown underdogs. After losing their next two games the Texans faced the prospect of a 1-3 start trailing the Jacksonville Jaguars 20-17 in the final seconds at Reliant Stadium. After three failed attempts at the goaline, Coach Dom Capers decided to roll the dice going for the win instead of the game tying Field Goal. The gamble would pay off as Quarterback David Carr snuck the ball past the goaline on the games final play to give the Texans a dramatic 24-20 win. After losing their next three games the Texans played the roll of bad hosts for eventual NFC Champion beating the Carolina Panthers 14-10. After splitting the next two games the Texans gave the eventual Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots all they could handle as they led most of the way before the Patriots tied the game in the final minute. The Patriots would go on to win the game 23-20 in overtime, but they walked away knowing like the Panthers their Super Bowl Opponents at Reliant Field were no pushovers. A week later the Texans would with five game of the season over the Atlanta Falcons 17-13. However numerous injuries would take their toll as they would not win another game the rest of the way finishing with a 5-11 record.
2004: The Texans would get off to a slow start in their thirrd season, as they lost their first two games. Looking at 0-3 in the face the Texans rallied to beat the Kansas City Chiefs on the road 24-21 as Kris Benson nailed a 49-yard Field Goal with seven seconds remaining. After beating the Oakland Raiders the following week, the Texans rallied to score 21 points in the 4th Quarter to force overtime against the Minnesota Vikings. However, the Vikings would win in Overtime 34-28. The Texans would rebound off the overtime loss to win their next two games and peak over .500 at 4-3, but three straight losses would essentially end the Texans playoff hopes. The Texans would eventually fall to 5-8, before making run last run at respectability with two straight wins. However, with a shot at .500 the Texans lost their season finale to the struggling Cleveland Browns 22-14 as they settled for 7-9.
2005: When you are an expansion team you expect to take your lumps in the first few seasons, and by year four you hope to be ready to make a step forward. Unfortunately for the Texans year four would see the team take a major step backwards as they played worse then any of their first three seasons. The trouble started right from the beginning of the season as the Texans were hammered by the Buffalo Bills 22-7. A week later it was not ay better in the home opener as they were beaten by the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-7. In fact the Texans would start out losing each of their first six games, as David Carr resembled a punching bag as he was sacked a NFL high 68 times on his way to a disappointing 2,488-yard season with 14 Touchdown and 11 Interceptions. After earning their first win over the Cleveland Browns 19-16, the Texans struggles continued as they lost another six games in a row including a painful overtime loss to the St. Louis Rams, in which they blew a ten point lead in the final 30 seconds. The Texans would go on to finish the season with a dreadful 2-14 record, leading to the dismissal of Coach Dom Capers. After the horrendous season Texans fans became excited at the prospect of the draft some Texas fans wanted them to draft local hero Vince Young who had led the Longhorns to a dramatic Rose Bowl victory and a National Championship, while other more prudently thought they should go after Heisman Winner Reggie Bush, who was a Running Back with potential labeled unlimited. However, the Texans would stun and disappoint their fans again by selecting Defensive End Mario Williams of NC State.
2006: In year five the Texans were suddenly starting all over again with a new coach in Gary Kubiak, as they started the season with three straight losses, before holding on to a 17-15 win over the Miami Dolphins. After a humbling 34-6 loss on the road to the Dallas Cowboys, the Texans returned home and beat the Jacksonville Jaguars, as they swept through the sunshine state beating the Jaguars twice and the Dolphins once. However, at 3-6 it did not do the Texans much good, as Reggie Bush was helping to revitalize the New Orleans Saints leading them to a NFC Championship Game, while Vince Young was on his way to winning a Offensive Rookie of the Year for the Tennessee Titans, when Young and the Titans came to Houston it was like throwing gasoline on the fans simmering frustration as he won the game 26-20 on a 39-yard touchdown run in overtime. As first round pick Mario Williams had a disappointing rookie season with 47 tackles. Not all rookies disappointed however, as second round pick DeMarco Ryans led the Texans with 156 tackles to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year. The Texans would end the season with two straight wins including a dramatic 27-24 win over the eventual Super Bowl Champion Indianapolis Colts, but at 6-10 the Texans finished in last place again. Another disappointing player was Quarterback David Carr who once again had more interceptions that Touchdowns, and was released following the season as the Texans acquired Matt Schaub from the Atlanta Falcons.
2007: With new Quarterback Matt Schaub the Texans began the season in style with an impressive 20-3 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. Having a strong game for the Texans was Mario Williams who returned a fumble recovery for a touchdown, as Schaub passed for 225 yards. A week later, Schaub was just as strong passing for 227 yards with two touchdown passes as the Texans stunned the Carolina Panthers on the road 34-21, for their first ever 2-0 start. However, it would not last as the Texans would lose their next two games, before facing the winless Miami Dolphins. In that game the Texans needed a late rally to win as they overcame a 16-7 deficit in the second quarter to beat the Dolphins 22-19 on a 57-yard field goal by Kris Brown as time expired. However, the Texans continued to struggle losing their next three games, with Matt Schaub missing time with hip and ankle injuries. After beating the Oakland Raiders with backup Sage Rosenfels, the Schaub returned to lead the Texans over the New Orleans Saints 23-10, as the Texans defense shutdown Reggie Bush. After losing their next two games the Texans were forced to start Sage Rosenfels the rest of the season as Matt Schaub suffered an inured shoulder in a loss to the Tennessee Titans. Rosenfels would not do badly as the Texans finished the season strong, winning three of their last four games to post an 8-8 record.
2008: As the season got underway the Texans were forced to scramble as Hurricane Ike was bearing down on Houston. Not surprisingly they would drop their season opener on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers 38-17. The Texans would be forced to rearrange their schedule due to damage to the city of Houston and Reliant Stadium that would leave the roof open for the remainder of the season, taking a bye week in Week 2 as they moved their scheduled home opener against the Baltimore Ravens to later in the season. Playing their next two games on the road the Texans continued to struggle as they held a 0-3 record before finally coming home for a game against the Indianapolis Colts. Things looked good for the Texans as they held a 27-10 late in the 4th Quarter with backup Quarterback Sage Rosenfels starting for an injured Matt Schaub. However, in the last five minutes Rosenfels fumbled twice and threw a costly interception as the Colts scored 21 unanswered points for a 31-27 win that dropped the Texans to 0-4. Schaub would return a week later, and would score the game winning Touchdown on a three yard Quarterback sneak to beat the Miami Dolphins 29-28. The Texans would win their next two games against two of the worst teams in the NFL to get within one game of the .500 mark. However, with Schaub back on the shelf the Texans would lose three straight against playoff teams to fall to 3-7. While the playoffs were out of reach the Texans would get healthy as Matt Schaub returned, winning five of their final six games as they posted an 8-8 record for the second straight season.
2009: Coming off a second straight 8-8 season the Texans hoped they could finally get over the hump and make the playoffs as they began the season against the New York Jets. However, the Texans played a sluggish game and were beaten by a rookie coach and a rookie quarterback in their first game, losing at home 24-7. The Texans would recover nicely a week later, beating the Tennessee Titans on the road 34-31 in a back and forth nail biter, that was won by Kris Brown’s 23 yard field goal. However, a week later they took another step backward as they were beaten at home by the Jacksonville Jaguars 31-24. The Texans would alternate wins and losses for the first six games, before holding off a late rally from the San Francisco 49ers in Week 7 to climb above .500 with a 24-21 win at Reliant Stadium. A week later with 22 unanswered points in the 4th Quarter the Texans beat the Buffalo Bills 31-10 to improve to 5-3 their best record ever through eight games. A week later in a showdown with the unbeaten Indianapolis Colts, the Texans played a real strong game, and had a chance to force overtime trailing 20-17. However, a 42 yard field goal attempt by Kris Brown sailed wide left. Following a bye week the Texans experienced more frustration as they were beaten at home, 20-17 by the Tennessee Titans on a 53 yard field goal by Rob Bironas. A week later in a rematch with the Colts at Reliant Stadium the Texans saw a 20-7 halftime lead vanish as the Colts scored 21 points in the 4th Quarter to remain perfect with a 35-27 win, as the Texans slipped back below .500. The Texans struggles would continue as they lost a fourth straight divisional game to the Jaguars 23-18. The loss dropped the Texans to 5-7 and all but erased their playoff hopes. The Texans would finish the season strong, beating the lowly Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams in their next two games to get back to .500. They would follow that up with a road win over the Miami Dolphins to enter the last game of the season at 8-7 with a chance to finish over .500 for the first time in franchise history. In the final game of the season the Texans hosted the New England Patriots who were locked into a playoff spot as AFC East Champs. With 21 points in the final quarter the Texans were able to beat the Patriots, dealing a season ending injury to WR Wes Welker and broken ribs to QB Tom Brady, the Texans were able to win 34-27 to finish the season at 9-7. However, once again the playoffs were out of reach, though the Texans would have some individual success as Brian Cushing was named Defensive Rookie of the Year. While Quarterback Matt Schaub won Pro Bowl MVP honors.
2010: Coming off their first ever winning season, the Texans had hopes of being able to challenge the for the division title. These hopes led into the season opener against the Indianapolis Colts. The Texans would win the game 34-24, as RB Arian Foster has a breakout performance, rushing for a franchise record 231 yards, with three touchdowns. The 231 yards rushing was the second best performance ever in the season’s opening week. The Texans would follow it up with a comeback overtime win against the Washington Redskins, in which Matt Schaub passed for 497 yards, with three touchdowns, as the Texans overcame a 27-10 deficit in the 3rd Quarter to win 30-27 on a 35 yard field goal by Neil Rackers in overtime. Coming home the Texans faced the Dallas Cowboys in a battle for Lonestar bragging rights. However, the passing of Tony Romo was too much for the Texans to overcome, as the Cowboys won 27-13. The Texans would recover to win two of their next three games, as they went into the bye week with a solid 4-2 record. Coming out of the bye, the Texans travelled to Indianapolis for a rematch with the Colts with the AFC South lead on the line. This time the Texans were unable to contain Peyton Manning who led the way in a 30-17 victory that put the Colts back into first place. The loss would be the start of a season crushing four game losing streak for the Texans as their secondary was picked apart on a regular basis. The losses featured back to back heartbreaking road losses to the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets. The Jaguars would win their game 31-24 on a Hail Mary pass that Texans CB Glover Quin tipped right into the hands of Mike Thomas. A week later the Texans rallied from 16 points down to take a 27-23 lead in the final minute of the 4th Quarter. However, the Jets quickly moved down the field to win the game 30-27 as the Texans secondary was exposed again. The Texans would rebound to beat the Tennessee Titans 20-0 at home, as Arian Foster continued his strong season with 143 yards rushing. However, the Texans would again endure a four game losing streak, allowing 31 or more points in three straight games, followed by a frustrating 24-23 loss on the road to the Denver Broncos in which the Texans allowed 14 unanswered points in the 4th Quarter. The Texans would end the season with a 34-17 win over the Jaguars, but at 6-10 their season was a major disappointment. One bright spot was Arian Foster who led the league in rushing with 1, 616 yards, finishing the season with 180 yards.
2011: As the Texans began play in their tenth season, patience was wearing thin as fans awaited the franchise’s first playoff. After their secondary was seen as a soft spot on the roster, the Texans made several upgrades adding Free Agents Jonathan Joseph and Danieal Manning, as they focused on defense in the draft with the selection of J.J. Watt in the first round and Brooks Reed in the season round. Meanwhile, Wade Phillips the son of former Houston Oilers Coach Bum Philips was named the team’s Defensive Coordinator. As the season began the Texans had some injury concerns as RB Arian Foster was playing with a tender hamstring. Despite Foster’s injury the Texans got off to a strong start trampling the Indianapolis Colts, who were without four time MVP Peyton Manning 34-7. A week later, with Ben Tate rushing for over 100 yards the Texans improved to 2-0 as they beat the Miami Dolphins on the road 23-13. The following week the Texans defense was tested for the first time as they faced the New Orleans Saints. The game would be a shootout as, Quarterback Matt Schaub had a strong game, passing for 373 yards with three touchdowns, but it would not be enough as the Saints held on to win the game 40-33. A week later, Arian Foster would return and rush for 155 yards with a touchdown as the Texans beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 17-10, but just as Foster came back the Texans lost their top Wide Receiver Andre Johnson to a similar hamstring injury. For the remainder of the season, Johnson would be in and out of the lineup. In their first game without Andre Johnson, the Texans suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Oakland Raiders who overcame a double digit deficit to stun the Texans 25-20 just one day after longtime Owner Al Davis had died. In the game the injury bug would strike again as Defensive End Mario Williams, tore a pectoral mussel and was lost for rest of the season. After a 29-14 loss to the Baltimore Ravens dropped them to 3-3, the Texans found themselves in a key match up with the Tennessee Titans, with the top spot in the AFC South on the line. With Matt Schaub passing for 297 yards, the Texans got a big game from Arian Foster, who rushed for 115 yards and had 119 receiving yards the Texans dominated the game from start to finish, winning 41-7. Aria Foster would also top 100 rushing yards in the next two games, as the Texans beat the Jacksonville Jaguars and Cleveland Browns to sit atop the South at 6-3. Foster and Schaub would continue to lead the way, as the Texans started the game with Matt Schaub and Jacoby Jones hooking up on an 80 yard pass just 12 seconds into the game as the Texans sank the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 37-9. At 7-3 the Texans had the best record in the AFC, but once again were hit by injury as QB Matt Schaub suffered a season ending foot injury. After the bye week the Texans turned to back up Matt Leinart, but against the Jacksonville Jaguars in his first start, Leinart suffered a broken collarbone and was also lost for the season. The Texans would than turn to third string Quarterback T.J. Yates, a rookie taken in the fifth round of the NFL Draft. Yates played just well enough as the Texans beat the Jaguars 20-13. Yates would get some help the following week as Andre Johnson returned and collected 97 receiving yards as the Texans defense played strong in a 17-10 win over the Atlanta Falcons. Trailing the Cincinnati Bengals 19-13 on their own two yard line, with 2:35 left an no time outs, T.J. Yates showed the poise of a veteran leading the Texans to a 98 yard touchdown drive that was capped with a six yard TD pass to Kevin Walter with three seconds left in the game as Cincinnati. The 20-19 win, was the seventh straight win for the Texans and assured them of their first playoff berth and division championship. After clinching the AFC South, the Texans came out flat in their next game which they lost to the Carolina Panthers 28-13. The Texans continued to scuffle in their following game, despite 158 yards rushing from Arian Foster, as Dan Orlovsky did his best Peyton Manning impersonation leading the Colts to a dramatic 19-16 win, with a 78 yard Touchdown drive in the final two minutes. The Texans would also finish the season with a loss, dropping to 10-6 as they lost a chance for a first round bye, losing to the Tennessee Titans 23-22. In the finale, Jacke Delhomme who was playing at Quarterback for the Texans who were afraid of any more injuries had driven the team down for a potential game tying Touchdown. Instead the Texans tried to win the game, and lost when the snap on the two point try was mishandled.
2011 Playoffs: Facing the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wild Card round, at Reliant Stadium the Texans took the lead for the first time 17-10 on a 29 yard interception return by J.J. Watt with one minute left before halftime. Watt had jumped in the air and went down the field untouched for the touchdown. It seemed as if the crowd did not stop cheering at any moment during halftime, as the Texans dominated the second half on the way to a 31-10 win. Highlighting the second half was a 40 yard Touchdown pass from T.J. Yates to Andre Johnson in the third quarter, while Arian Foster’s 44 yard TD run in the fourth quarter sealed the victory for the Texans. A week later, nerves seemed to finally get to T.J. Yates who had three interceptions, as the Ravens jumped out to an early 17-3 lead. The Texans would make it close before the half, with Arian Foster rushing for 127 yards as the Texans scored ten unanswered points. However, it is as close as the Texans would get as the Ravens went on to win the game 20-13 and reach the AFC Championship Game.
2012: After getting their first postseason win, the Texans looked to take another step forward as they started the season at home against the Miami Dolphins. After a shaky 1st Quarter, the Texans erupted for 24 unanswered points in the 2nd Quarter, with Andre Johnson receiving two 14 yard TD passes from Matt Schaub. The Texans would start the season with a 30-10 win. Behind the running of Arian Foster and Ben Tate, the Texans would trample the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-7 on the way to a 2-0 start. In Week 3, the Texans faced an old nemesis in Peyton Manning now playing with the Denver Broncos. While with the Indianapolis Colts, Manning was a perfect 9-0 in home games against the Texans. Early on it was the Matt Schaub show, as he had four Touchdown passes to help the Texans build a 31-11 lead. Manning would come on in the 4th Quarter with two touchdowns, but the Texans held on to win 31-25 to improve to 3-0. The Texans continued to roll in Week 4, beating the Tennessee Titans 38-14, as Matt Schaub had another strong game, while Danieal Manning and Kareem Jackson each returned interceptions for long touchdowns. On Monday Night Football, the Texans survived a scare on the road against the New York Jets, winning 23-17 in the Meadowlands to improve to 5-0. The win came with a price as Linebacker Brian Cushing suffered a season ending knee injury. Without Cushing the Texans defense looked vulnerable as they suffered a humiliating 42-14 home loss on Sunday Night Football. The Texans would quickly rebound a week later as they avenged their playoff loss in the divisional round by slamming the Baltimore Ravens 43-13 as J.J. Watt continued to dominate on the defensive line. Following the bye week, the Texans held off the battling freezing rain and snow in a dominant 13-6 defensive win over the Chicago Bears. Facing the Jaguars at home, the Texans were caught by surprise as they found themselves in a shocking shootout against the worst team in the league. Trailing by two touchdowns late, the Texans rallied to force overtime as Matt Schaub passed for 527 yards. In overtime the Texans scored a field goal on their first possession. However, a new rule gave the Jaguars a chance to answer back which they did. However, Schaub with his fifth TD of the game connected with Andre Johnson who topped 273 receiving yards to win the game 43-37. Just four days later, the Texans would find themselves in another grueling battle as they faced the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving. The game would turn in the 3rd Quarter when Justin Forsett had an 81 yard Touchdown run. Replay clearly showed Fosett was down early on the run, but Lions Coach Jim Schwartz threw an illegal challenge flag and wiped out any review. The Texans would go on to win the game in overtime 34-31. After two straight overtime marathons the Texans were glad to have a few extra days off and looked rejuvenated as they forced six turnovers, while completing a season sweep over the Titans with a 24-10 win. Back on Monday Night Football the Texans failed a national test as there defense looked out of sync, while suffering 42-14 loss to the New England Patriots. The Texans would rebound to clinch the AFC South with a 29-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts. Needing just one more win to get home field in the playoffs the Texans would stumble their way to the finish line, losing to the Minnesota Vikings and Colts. The second loss would also cost them a first round bye as they finished the season with a record of 12-4. Earning individual honors was J.J. Watt who was named Defensive Player of the Year with one of the most dominating season for a lineman in NFL history. Watt had 81 tackles (69 solo), 20.5 sacks, 39 tackles for loss, 4 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, and an astonishing 16 passes defended a stat reserved for defensive backs, as Watt’s big paw swatted away pass after pass.
2012 Playoffs: The Texans continued to their lackluster play in the playoffs as they hosted the Cincinnati Bengals for the second straight season during the Wild Card round. Earl on the Texans trailed 7-6, as Matt Schaub had an interception returned for a Touchdown. However, with J.J. Watt and the Texans defense holding the Bengals offense to two field goals, the Texans would survive the game with a 19-13 win. The win would bring the Texans back to Foxboro for a rematch with the New England Patriots. The game would be a near mirror image of their first meeting in December, as the Patriots led by Tom Brady frustrated the Texans aggressive defense all day and won going away 41-28.
2013: After two straight division titles and playoff wins, there was no reason to believe that the Texans were not the team to beat in the AFC South. The Texans looked for a bit of a veteran boost and signed Ed Reed off the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens to play safety. The Texans began the season on Monday Night Football against the San Diego Chargers. They would struggle early as the Chargers scored on four of their first six possessions to take a 28-7 lead, early in the third quarter. The Texans would stiffen the rest of the way as their offense began to claw its way back in the game with Matt Schaub connecting with Garrett Graham and Owen Daniels to cut the deficit to seven points, the Texans would tie the game on 18 yard interception return by Brian Cushing. With momentum completely on their side the Texans would win the game 31-28 on a Field Goal by Randy Bullock as time expired. The Texans would need another comeback in their home opener, as a costly interception by Matt Schaub gave the Tennessee Titans a 24-16 lead late in the fourth quarter. Arian Foster would score just after the two minute warning, and would get in the endzone again on the two point try to even the score. In overtime would take the first possession down the field and win the game 37-31 Schaub connected with DeAndre Hopkins. Following an ugly 30-9 loss to the Ravens, the Texans looked to be on the way to finding their groove as they dominated the Seattle Seahawks for three quarters, leading 20-3 at the half while holding to a two touchdown lead into the fourth quarter. The Seahawks would score midway through the fourth quarter to get within a touchdown. However, the game would unravel for the Texans who were just run out the clock in the final minutes Matt Schaub had an interception returned 58 yards for a touchdown by Richard Sherman. It was the third straight week Schaub had a pick six and this one would be back breaking as the Seahawks would win the game in overtime 23-20. Matt Schaub would toss another pick six a week later, setting a NFL record for consecutive weeks with an interception returned for a touchdown as the Texans dropped a third straight game to the San Francisco 49ers 34-3. Fans in Houston at that point began to harass Matt Schaub off the field even going to his house to boo him. Schaub would continue to struggle against the St. Louis Rams, before leaving with an injury. His back up T.J. Yates did not do any better throwing a 98 yard interception return and having a fumble returned for a touchdown as the Rams won the game 38-13. Case Keenum would get the start in Week 7, but managed to do no better, losing 17-16 to the Kansas City Chiefs as they went into their bye week with five straight losses. After the bye week, the Texans looked sharp for the first time since the start of the season, jumping out to a 21-6 halftime lead in a Sunday Night Game against the Indianapolis Colts. However, as the Texans went into the locker room Coach Gary Kubiak collapsed, it would later be revealed he suffered a mini-stroke. While Kubiak went to a local hospital the Texans lead would vanish as the Colts behind three T.Y. Hilton Touchdown receptions won the game 27-24. Kubiak would miss the following game as the Texans lost their seventh straight game to the Arizona Cardinals 27-24, with Case Keenum being stripped for a sack fumble touchdown on the first play from scrimmage. At 2-7 the Texans season was turning into a nightmare, RB Arian Foster was shutdown with a back injury, while Brian Cushing suffered another knee injury. Gary Kubiak returned to the sideline, as the losses continued to mount, as they fell to 2-11 following a Thursday Night loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The following day, Gary Kubiak would be relieved of his coaching duties. Under interim Coach Wade Phillips, the son of legendary Oilers Coach Bum Phillips the Texans would not manage to do much better losing their final three games to finish with the worst record in the NFL at 2-14.
2014: Coming off a 2-14 season, the Houston Texans looked forward to building a team on a strong defense led by new Coach Bill O’Brien. The optimism, was largely surrounding number one overall pick Jadeveon Clowney, a Defensive End selected from South Carolina who was drawing comparisons to some of the great pass rushers in NFL history before even playing his first game. Sadly Texans fans would not see much of Clowney as a knee injury limited him to just four games. Even without Clowney the Texans had a scary defense thanks to J.J. Watt who was named Defensive Player of the Year for the second time in three seasons. Watt had one of the best defensive seasons in NFL history and received serious consideration for NFL MVP, becoming the first player in history with two separate 20 sack seasons, matching his career high with 20.5. J.J. Watt in addition forced four fumbles, had five fumble recoveries and had two touchdowns returning a fumble and an interception. J.J. Watt also had three touchdowns receptions lining up as a Tight End. The Texans played well early in the season, as they got solid quarterback play from Ryan Fitzpatrick, opening the season with a 16-7 win over the Washington Redskins at home followed by a 30-14 win over the Oakland Raiders on the road. Following a loss to the New York Giants, the Texans rallied from an early deficit to beat the Buffalo Bills 23-17 as J.J. Watt turned the game around with an 80 yard pick six. The Texans would be unable to build off the momentum of the 3-1 start as they lost a heartbreaker in overtime to the Dallas Cowboys 20-17. It would be the first of three straight losses as comeback attempts against the Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers fell short. The Texans would get back in the win column against the Tennessee Titans in Week 8, winning 30-16 on the road. Returning home the Texans would suffer another setback in their battle red uniforms, losing to the Philadelphia Eagles 31-21. The loss to the Eagles sent the Texans into the bye week with a 4-5 record, when they returned QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was benched in favor of Ryan Mallett. In his first start Mallett passed for 211 yards with two touchdowns, connecting with J.J. Watt for his first score to give Houston an early lead in a 23-7 win over the Cleveland Browns. Unfortunately a week later, Ryan Mallet suffered a torn pectoral muscle as the Texans lost to the Cincinnati Bengals 22-13. With Fitzpatrick resuming the starting duties, the Texans completed a sweep of the Titans with a 45-21 win at NRG Stadium, as the bearded quarterback had a career day, burning his former team for 358 yards with six touchdown passes. The Texans would use their running game to win a week later and went back over .500 at 7-6 with a 23-17 as Arian Foster rushed for 127 yards with a touchdown. Two weeks after his career game, Ryan Fitzpatrick joined Mallett on injured reserves suffering a broken tibia as the Texans suffered 17-10 loss on the road to the Colts, all but ending their playoff hopes. With Case Keenum starting the final two games at quarterback, the Texans would beat the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars to finish the season with a record of 9-7.
2015: As the season began the Houston Texans were in the midst of a full blow quarterback controversy as neither Brian Hoyer nor Ryan Mallett did anything to distinguish themselves during the preseason as the Texans were featured on HBO’s “Hard Knocks”. Hoyer got the start as the Texans hosted the Kansas City Chiefs in the season opener his first pass was intercepted which eventually led to a touchdown. Brian Hoyer struggled all day as the Chiefs built a 27-9 lead. Ryan Mallett would relieve Hoyer in the fourth quarter. Mallett would get the start in Week 2 and played well, passing for 244 yards with a touchdown pass and an interception. However, the Texans came up short in the game losing to the Carolina Panthers on the road 24-17. The Texans would earn their first win of the season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at NRG Stadium, Mallett again was solid with 228 yard and a touchdown, but it was the Texans defense that proved the difference maker blanking the Bucs in the second half as they scored 12 unanswered points to win the game 19-9. Ryan Mallett would struggle in Week 4, and was benched in favor of Brian Hoyer, with the Texans trailing the Atlanta Falcons 28-0 at the half. Hoyer led two fourth quarter scoring drives, but by then the game was hopelessly out of reach the Falcons up 42-0. Atlanta would eventually win the game 48-14, as Nathan Stupar returned a fumble 84 yards on the game’s final play. Ryan Mallett got the start four days later as the Texans hosted the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday Night Football. The Colts got off to a 13-0 lead as Mallett continued to struggle. After a hard hit Mallett was removed in favor of Hoyer once again. Wanting to go back in Coach Bill O’Brien turned to Brian Hoyer for the remainder of the game. As Hoyer passed for 312 yards and two touchdowns, Mallett openly fumed on the sideline, especially after Hoyer completed a 42-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Strong on the last play before halftime for a Touchdown to cut the deficit to 13-10. Unfortunately, Hoyer’s efforts were not enough as the Colts held on to win 27-20, as Ryan Mallett smirked when Brian Hoyer threw a costly second half interception. Brian Hoyer got the start in Week 6, and had an excellent game passing for 293 yards with three touchdowns, to lead the way to a 31-20 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on the road. The Texans returned to Florida a week later, as tensions with Ryan Mallett reached a boiling point when he missed the team flight. It would be an ugly afternoon as the Miami Dolphins jumped out to a 41-0 lead at the half. Making matter worse, leading rusher Arian Forster suffered a season ending Achilles’ injury. Following the game, the Texans would release Ryan Mallett. Returning home, the Texans put forth a solid overall effort to beat the Tennessee Titans 20-6, with Brian Hoyer passing for 235 yards and two touchdowns. Following the bye week the Texans went on the road to take on the unbeaten Cincinnati Bengals, the game would be a defensive battle as the Texan defense limited the Bengals to 256 yards. The Texans also managed just 256 yards as Brian Hoyer was knocked from the game with a concussion in the third quarter. T.J. Yates, whom the Texans picked up after cutting Mallett led a fourth quarter scoring drive, as the Texans stunned the Bengals 10-6. Yates would get the start a week later as the Texans hosted the New York Jets on Monday Night Football. T.J. Yates would pass for 229 yards, with two touchdowns, including a 61-yard hook up with DeAndre Hopkins as the Texans made it back to .500 with a 24-17 win. Also having a big night was J.J. Watt who had eight tackles, and two sacks. Brian Hoyer returned for Week 12, and was solid as the Texans improved to 6-5 by shutting down the New Orleans Saints 24-6. However, the Texans would lose their next two games against the Buffalo Bill and New England Patriots as their playoff hopes were slipping away. The Texans only path to the postseason was to win the AFC South, as the rival Colts had suffered several big injuries, including losing QB Andrew Luck. In Week 15, the Texans went into Indianapolis a place they had never won in 13 tries. With Brian Hoyer out with a concussion, T.J. Yates would get the start. However, Yates himself would find himself on the sidelines after suffering a torn ACL. With Brandon Weeden coming on in relief the Texans rallied from an early 10-0 deficit to win the game 16-10 and take over first place in the AFC South. Weeden got the start a week later and passed for 200 yards with two touchdowns as the Texans thumped the Titans 34-6. With the division title in reach J.J. Watt had a monster game, with eight tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble as the Texans slammed the Jaguars 30-6 at NRG Stadium to finish the season at 9-7, winning the AFC South for the third time in team history. Despite battling a groin injury and a fractured left hand, J.J. Watt started all 16 games in 2015 making 76 tackles, an NFL-leading 17.5 sacks, 8 passes defended, 3 forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery, winning Defensive Player of the Year for the third time in four seasons.
2015 Playoffs: The Houston Texans would host the Kansas City Chiefs in the Wild Card Round. To say things got off to a rocky start would be an understatement as Knile Davis returned the opening kickoff 106 yards for a touchdown, giving the Chiefs a quick 7-0 lead. Things did not get much better, as Brian Hoyer was picked off four times and had a fumble as the Texans were unable to score against the Chiefs defense. When the game was over, the Texans had suffered a humiliating 30-0 defeat.
2016: The Houston Texans mission in the off-season was to fix their quarterback woes. Looking at the Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos, the Texans signed Brock Osweiler who started seven games in place of Peyton Manning to a four-year deal worth $72 million. Osweiler passed for 231 yards with two touchdowns and an interception as the Texans beat the Chicago Bears 23-14. Despite a lackluster performance from Brock Osweiler in Week 2, the Texans avenged their 30-0 playoff defeat by beating the Kansas City Chiefs 19-12, as Nick Novak had four field goals. Four days later the Texans were not as lucky, as they suffered an ugly 27-0 Thursday Night loss to the New England Patriots. Making matters worse, J.J. Watt who underwent back surgery in the off-season was lost for the season due to a herniated disk. Returning home, the Texans bounced back to beat the Tennessee Titans 27-20, with Will Fuller’s 67-yard punt return proving to be the difference. Osweiler continued to underwhelm in Week 5, as the Texans suffered 31-13 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Trailing the Indianapolis Colts by 14 points at home on Sunday Night Football a week later, the Texans got touchdown catches Lamar Miller and C. J. Fiedorowicz to force overtime, where Nick Novak would win the game 26-23 with a 33-yard Field Goal. Despite his great finishing against the Colts, Brock Osweiler was unable to capitalize on the momentum as he completed just 22 of 41 passes for 131 yards against his former team as the Texans lost a Monday Night game against the Denver Broncos 27-9. Osweiler was not much better a week later at home, but the Texans defense was strong enough to beat the Detroit Lions 20-13 to go into the bye week at 5-3. The Texans Defense had to be the answer again after the bye week, as Brock Osweiler, managed just 99 yards, as the Texans edged the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-21. Even without J.J. Watt, the Texans were showing they had one of the best defenses in the NFL, thanks in part to a breakout season from Jadeveon Clowney who finally healthy became one of the best quarterback rushers in the league with six sacks. It was the Texans first road win of the season. Playing in Mexico City, the Texans were the victim of some officiating blunders as they suffered a 27-20 to the Oakland Raiders. A week later they would their first home game, as Brock Osweiler was picked off three times in a 21-13 loss to the San Diego Chargers. The Texans would fall to 6-6 a week later as they stumbled in the snow at Lambeau Field, losing to the Green Bay Packers 21-13. Paced by the running of Lamar Miller and five field goals from Nick Novak the Texans got back on track with a 22-17 win against the Colts on the road. It marked the first time ever the Texans swept their division rivals from Indianapolis. Returning home, the struggles of Brock Osweiler came to a head as he was benched in the second quarter after back-to-back interceptions as the Texans trailed the Jacksonville Jaguars at the half 13-5. Things only got worse in the third quarter as Marqise Lee returned a kickoff 100 yards after Novak cut the deficit to 13-8 with a 45-yard field goal. Novak would keep the Texans in the game adding third and a fourth field goal as Tom Savage in relief of Osweiler passed for 260 yards. The Texans would complete the comeback with a touchdown run by Lamar Miller to win the game 21-20. Tom Savage got the start a week later as the Texans defense again made the difference in a 12-10 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, with the win and a loss by the Titans earlier in the day the Texans clinched a second straight AFC South title. Brock Osweiler was thrust back on to the field in the finale as Tom Savage left with a concussion. The Texans would lose the game to the Titans 24-17.
2016 Playoffs: Brock Osweiler would get a chance to redeem his terrible season as he was named the starting quarterback for the Houston Texans Wild Card matchup against the Oakland Raiders. Osweiler who was Houston’s big off-season signing passed for 2,957 yards with 15 touchdowns and 16 interceptions in the first year of a four-year $72 million contract. In his first postseason start, Osweiler numbers continued their regular season trend, as he completed 14 of 25 passes for 168 yards with one touchdown. It was just enough as Lamar Miller added a touchdown and ran for 73 yards as the Texans avenged their controversial loss in Mexico by beating the Oakland Raiders who were without Derek Carr 27-14. Heading into Foxboro, the Texans faced long odds against the New England Patriots. The Texans defense did a good job putting pressure on Tom Brady, with two interceptions matching what he had thrown during the entire regular season. However, Brock Osweiler was simply awful for the Texans as a game that was close at halftime turned into a second half rout. Osweiler finished the game with 198 yards with three interceptions as the Patriots won the game 34-16. The Patriots would go on to win the Super Bowl in Houston 34-38 staging a historic fourth quarter comeback at NRG Stadium. The Texans would decide to end the Brock Osweiler era after just one season, trading him to the Cleveland Browns with two drafts picks.
2017: After making the post-season in back-to-back years, the Houston Texans would look to make the next step in their franchise by hoping to not only make playoffs but win in the playoffs, as they entered the season. After an off-season in which they had to offload their $72 million men in Brock Osweiler, the Texans immediately turned around and traded up, giving the Cleveland Browns their 2018 first round pick, to grab Deshaun Watson. With high hopes and a healthy team once more, the Texans began the season with high hopes. Tom Savage led the team in the opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars, helping them earn their nickname “Sacksonville”, as Savage was sacked six times and fumbled twice in the first half before being benched in favor of Watson who’s first drive impressively netted the only Texans points of the game, ending with a touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins. Watson was also sacked four times as the Texans lost 29-7. They also lost Brian Cushing for ten games to the NFL’s PED policy. The Texans defense would respond in Week 2 with a strong performance against the Cincinnati Bengals while Deshaun Watson got his first career start and win after scoring the game’s only touchdown on a 49-yard run in the second quarter, beating the Bengals 13-9. As Houston looked to get their first ever win in Foxboro in Week 3, they looked to be in-line after a strong offensive performance of Ka’imi Fairbain’s four field goals, Deshaun Watson’s two touchdowns, and a defensive scoop and score from Jadeveon Clowney. However, the New England Patriots hit a 25-yard touchdown pass from Brady to Cooks with 23 seconds left, down 33-28, as the grey areas of the catch-rule reared its ugly head for Houston as Cooks looked to have lost control of the ball as he went to the ground after toe-tapping the end-zone. Houston would lose the review and the game, 36-3. They would bounce back in Week 4 against the Tennessee Titans as they finally looked to have found their quarterback of the future in Deshaun Watson as he went for five total touchdowns, as the Texans set a new franchise record in points scored as they downed Tennessee 57-14. Week 5 saw the resurgent Texans team take a huge blow against the Kansas City Chiefs with season-ending injuries to defensive stalwarts J.J. Watt (tibial plateau fracture) and Whitney Mercilus (torn pectoral). Despite Watson mounting a comeback after being down 16-0 which saw three touchdown passes to DeAndre Hopkins and two to Will Fuller, the Texans would lose a back and forth battle 42-34. Houston went from facing the undefeated Chiefs to the winless Cleveland Browns as Deshaun Watson continued to flash greatness, extending the touchdown streaks of both Fuller and Hopkins to three games, toppling the Browns 33-17. Coming out of their bye with a new-found swagger at 3-3 and ability to compete, Houston traveled up to the northwest to take on the Seattle Seahawks as two of the league’s best defense would square off. However, neither one came to play in this game as Deshaun Watson connected with two more touchdowns apiece to his favorite targets of Will Fuller and DeAndre Hopkins as Houston was up 38-34 with 4:49 left in the game. Once again, the lead would not last as they saw a touchdown in the waning seconds as Jimmy Graham caught an 18-yard pass from Russell Wilson with 21 seconds left to secure a 41-38 win for Seattle. Nothing else would go right for the Texans as DeShaun Watson was lost for the season with a torn ACL in practice. Without Watson, the Texans faced the Indianapolis Colts in Week 9 as Tom Savage mustered a late-game touchdown to DeAndre Hopkins to extend his TD streak to five straight games in a 20-14 loss. The Texans followed up that loss by running into red-hot, Los Angeles Rams, which had Jared Goff throw for three touchdowns to beat Houston 33-7. Houston looked to find its groove again against a Blaine Gabbert led Arizona Cardinals team Week 11, winning 31-21. Savage completed two touchdown passes while his two turnovers both led to Cardinals touchdowns. Emerging rookie Running Back, D’Onta Foreman had the best game of his fledgling career, rattling off two touchdown runs before getting bit by the Houston injury bug and tearing his Achilles, which ended his season. After back-to-back duds against the Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans, losing 23-16 and 24-13 respectively, Houston would go to San Francisco at 4-8 where Tom Savage took a brutal hit from Elvis Dumervil but was somehow allowed to stay in the game, despite an obvious concussion before being taken out in favor of T.J. Yates. Yates would find Hopkins for two touchdowns, but ultimately fall short to the 49ers, losing 26-16. That loss pushed dropped Houston to 4-9, which guaranteed their first losing season under Bill O’Brien and take them out of playoff contention. The Jaguars would come back the next week to roll the Texans 45-7, with a lone third-quarter DeAndre Hopkins touchdown being their only points. Houston would face the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road on Christmas day, riding a four-game losing streak and the Texans could only muster a Hopkins touchdown, losing 34-6. They would end their season at home against the Colts in a game with no playoff implications that would extend their losing streak to six games and drop them to 4-12 a season removed from their AFC South title with a 22-13 loss.
Written by Kyle Pellerin
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Page created on August 27, 2002. Last updated on January 25, 2019 at 11:30 pm ET.