J.J. Watt missed practice time this week with a back injury, but that didn't stop him from carrying a team desperate for a win.
He wouldn't do it alone, though, as Whitney Mercilus turned in what might've been the most complete performance in his career. After Clowney left the game with a knee injury, Mercilus seized the opportunity to feast on a feeble Tennessee offensive line.
Four tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and and four QB hits by Mercilus finally gave Watt the help he's been dying to get all season long (and for much of his career). Watt notched 2.5 sacks of his own and forced a fumble to go along with a staggering eight hits on the quarterback.
The two former first-round picks made life hell for Zach Mettenberger, who finished the game with just 171 yards on 22-31 passing and an interception. He took a combined 21 hits and sacks before he left the game with 23 seconds left in the 4th quarter.
Offensively, Brian Hoyer turned in a Brian Hoyer performance, throwing for 235 yards and two scores. It was a safe and opportunistic game for him, with little running game to lean on. Missing Arian Foster for the rest of the year, Alfred Blue, Chris Polk and the offensive line mustered just 56 yards on 23 carries.
So Hoyer had to turn to DeAndre Hopkins, targeting him 11 times and watching Hopkins convert eight catches for 94 yards and a score. Former Titans receiver Nate Washington had a nice revenge game, going for 74 yards on four catches, including a 42-yard touchdown.
It's a nice victory, but all too reminiscent of the uninspiring victories over Tampa Bay and Jacksonville. Yes, the Texans are just half a game out of first place in the AFC South, but, no, Texans have not fixed all their issues.
It's a process, to paraphrase Bill O'Brien. Let's hope this is stepping stone to better things... and not a set-up for disaster, as the Texans face off against the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football in two weeks.
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