clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What Are The Top Ten Plays In Texans Franchise History?

What made that smile shine bright?

Buffalo Bills v Houston Texans Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The voice of the Houston Texans, Marc Vandermeer, went from speaker to blogger and wrote a piece on the top ten play in Texans’ franchise history because, yes, even on the Texans’ team site, they are crawling through the desert in search of water, and by “water,” I mean “content.” Here are his top ten:

10. Deshaun Watson TD run - Houston at Cincinnati – Sept. 14, 2017

9. Kris Brown FG - Houston vs. Indianapolis – Dec. 24, 2006

8. J.J. Watt fumble recovery for a TD - Houston vs. Indianapolis – Oct. 9, 2014

7. Andre Johnson TD reception - Houston vs. Jacksonville - Nov. 18, 2012

6. Andre Johnson reception - Houston vs. Miami - Oct. 12, 2008

5. DeAndre Hopkins TD reception - Houston at Cincinnati – Nov. 16, 2015

4. David Carr TD Pass to Billy Miller - Houston vs. Dallas - Sept. 8 2002

3. Andre Johnson TD reception on 4th-and-10 - Houston at Washington - Sept. 19, 2010

2. J.J. Watt interception returned for a TD - Houston vs. Cincinnati Wild Card game - Jan. 7, 2012

1. T.J. Yates TD pass to Kevin Walter - Houston at Cincinnati - Dec. 11, 2011

In a more unspecific format, mine are:

10.) Tony Romo’s TD Pass - Houston at Dallas

Yeah, the franchise has been around since 2002, but most of it doesn’t matter. The team was really bad. It was all very sad. If Houston was lucky, they’d would go 7-9, or 8-8, underperform, and have a record worse than it should be; if things went how they should go, the Texans, would be 4-12 and draft in the top five. As a result, most of mine are going to come from the past seven years, where great players made great plays that actually mattered.

I realize this first selection may appear blasphemous, but it’s one of my favorite plays in football history. J.J. Watt jumped the snap and beat Tyron Smith with a speed rush. I mean, Watt teleported past one of the best left tackles in football. It was one of the best pass rush jumps I’ve ever seen. He goes to sack Tony Romo from behind, but Romo has some sort of seventh sense, feels the great leviathan behind him, and ducks. He escapes Watt’s rush and then proceeds to throw a bomb of a touchdown. Two great players made two great plays. Did it hurt my feelings? Absolutely. But this play is one of many that exemplifies why I love the game.

9.) Deshaun Watson’s TD Throw to Will Fuller V - Houston at Seattle

I spent weeks scared and confused, trying to understand what this Deshaun Watson sorcery was. Wait...a quarterback can run from pressure, throw downfield with accuracy, and anticipate an open receiver? Really? But I thought (and still kind of do) that maybe this is a small sample against unsuspecting defenses.

Then this throw happened. I got roped in and realized that yes, there’s actually something to this Watson thing.

8.) J.J. Watt’s Fumble TD Return - Houston v. Indianapolis

Forever this will be the greatest single season performance I’ll witness. I don’t think a play exemplifies Watt’s 2014 season as well as this one. Not only was he playing defensive line better than anyone ever has in the history of football, but he turned a lucky skill—recovering fumbles—into an art. He kicked the ball to himself, rolled, maneuvered around to keep from being touched down like he was stealing the Mona Lisa, and then ran to score. It was insane. It still is insane.

7.) Danieal Manning’s Kickoff Return - Houston at New England (Divisional Round)

There was no way the Texans were going to beat New England in the 2012 postseason. Right? Then Manning had this absurd kickoff return that took Houston to New England’s goal line to start the game. Of course, the Texans couldn’t score on first, second, or third down. They kicked the field goal. They lost. But for a fleeting second, I had the thought, “Wait, could they actually do this?” That was a great feeling, and it was all because of Danieal Manning.

6.) J.J. Watt’s Pick-Six - Houston v. Buffalo

Somehow Watt didn’t have one sack in this entire game. Instead he broke Pro Football Focus and had like 15 pressures. He was clubbed by three interior offensive linemen on every play, and got close but never got quite there. Watt transcended the rules of football in this game. The refs couldn’t officiate it. They couldn’t call a holding penalty on every play. Watt became Shaquille O’Neal. He just kept coming, biting, clawing, and scratching. He made his mark without ever filling in the sack column.

Then it all broke. He had a free rush on EJ Manuel. The Bills’ “quarterback” was horrified. Instead of scampering to get away, or throwing it away, Manuel continued to try getting the ball to his running back in the flat. Watt leaped and did what he did to the Bengals once before—intercepted the pass and ran the rest of the way to score.

J.J. Watt had a touchdown and an interception in this game, but not a sack.

5.) Danieal Manning Forced Fumble - Houston at Chicago (MNF)

This forced fumble was the signature play in n a physical win over the Bears, on the road, on Monday Night Football. It was the type of game a team with a soft label never won. Arian Foster ran well. Manning smashed a tight end in the middle of the field, and Houston won a game they never won. It was the type of win that made this version of the Texans different than the underperforming teams of the recent past. After this game, I thought, “This team is 100% going to make the playoffs.” It’s something they did, just underneath a sadder set of quarterback circumstances.

4.) Arian Foster’s TD Run - Houston at Baltimore Divisional Round

This wasn’t the best statistical game of Foster’s career, but it was the best game of his career. In heavy personnel against stacked boxes, with T.J. Yates as the quarterback, Foster averaged 4.9 yards a carry and had 132 yards on 27 carries. He was the Texans’ entire offense while Yates threw three interceptions and Jacoby Jones muffed a punt. Foster scored by running right and cutting behind the tackle to score. He had better plays that afternoon, but touchdowns are what get remembered once the buildings of progress come tumbling down.

3.) A.J. Bouye’s Interception - Houston at New England (Divisional Round 2016)

The Texans definitely played well enough on defense to beat the Patriots. The problem was their quarterback, special teams, and Bill O’Brien making decisions not to lose. The same three problems plagued a talented roster from 2014 to 2016. Bouye’s interception was a perfect break on the ball. It put Houston in scoring position. Most importantly, it was an actual turnover created against New England, something the Texans were never able to do against New England. Ahhhh, the woulda, coulda, shouldas.

2.) Andre Johnson’s TD Catch - Houston v. Cincinnati (Wild Card Round)

After spending his career running around and catching passes that didn’t matter, Johnson ran around and caught a pass when it mattered. He took off down the sideline and caught a touchdown pass, something he had done dozens of times before. It wasn’t anything different, cooler, or better. The difference was this time it came in the postseason.

1.) J.J. Watt Pick-Six - Houston v. Cincinnati (Wild Card Round)

It was the biggest play, by the franchise’s best player, in their first playoff game.

What about you? What do you think are the best plays in Texans’ franchise history?