Between 2011 and 2019, the Texans won six division titles. They have yet to get past the divisional round, but the team proves it can compete. Houston became a winning team with Matt Schaub under center. Since then, the Texans have looked to Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brian Hoyer, and Brock Osweiler.
But Houston found yet another gear after taking Deshaun Watson in the 2017 draft — and Watson is showing everyone what he can do.
Houston’s road to the playoffs
Last year, the Texans finished a strong 11-5. With a losing tiebreaker against the Patriots, the team narrowly missed out on a first-round bye and had to play the Indianapolis Colts. In Andrew Luck’s final NFL victory, the Colts dominated Houston.
Indy led 21-0 at the half, and Watson’s fourth-quarter TD pass barely affected the game. The final score read 21-7 and Houston went home for the year. With such a talented squad and a disappointing finish, the team couldn’t wait to return to the field in 2019.
After a loss to the Broncos in Week 14, the Texans sat at 8-5 and the playoffs weren’t a sure thing. But the team banded together and squeaked out a pair of three-point victories to make it to 10-5 and lock up a playoff spot.
With a matchup against the Bills looming, Watson knew Houston needed to work together. Buffalo surprised critics through the first 75% of the season, peaking at 9-3. The Bills eased up down the stretch and finished at 10-6. But fans knew they presented a tough test for Houston.
Deshaun Watson takes on a leadership role
Prior to facing the Bills, Watson sent out a mass text to the Texans offense, reports the Houston Chronicle. “Let’s be great,” it said.
Watson was drafted third among quarterbacks in 2017. Since then, critics have raised questions about his leadership abilities. But he’s clearly stepping up. Houston still ached from last year’s upset and Watson knew the wound was fresh. He also knows the Texans are entering his era.
Houston is the youngest NFL team — the only ones to play its first season in the 2000s. Plenty of other teams with longer histories show no signs of ever seriously contending for a Super Bowl. Watson leads a franchise that’s younger than every man on the field, and he’s quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with.
The now-24-year-old showed his ability to lead a team when he took Clemson to back-to-back championships and beat Alabama for the title in 2017. Three years later, his team beat the Bills and went up 24-0 on the Chiefs before Patrick Mahomes took the game over.
The Texans’ future is bright
Whether the Chiefs go on to win the Super Bowl or not, this year’s playoff defeat stung in Houston. But every year is a new chance for this young franchise.
They’ve won their division four of the last five years. J.J. Watt might be the best defensive player in the entire league. DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller V are two of the NFL’s strongest receivers.
The Texans can continue dominating their division and taking shots at the playoffs. With Deshaun Watson leading the way, their time could be sooner rather than later.
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