You see, Jets fans? Chargers fans? Bears fans? And especially you few Panthers fans?
You CAN find draft an impactful quarterback who’s capable of making an immediate impact on your lousy team. You CAN find a coach with passion and creativity. You CAN overcome injuries and misfortune.
And yes, you can survive the loss of a talented but troubled malcontent that appeared to doom you into a decade of lousy football IF you make the right choices.
Even if they’re not the ones you wanted at first.
Look no further than the Houston Texans for proof.
As CNN’s Homero De la Fuente and Issy Ronald crowed last night:
The Houston Texans clinched their first playoff spot since 2019 following a 23-19 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday… Reaching the playoffs is a remarkable achievement for head coach DeMeco Ryans and rookie quarterback CJ Stroud in their first season at the helm, as they have stemmed the tide of three seasons of double-digit losses. Budding superstar Stroud threw 20-of-26 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns in the victory, while receiver Nico Collins tallied an incredible 195 receiving yards on nine catches to lift the Texans.
And as TEXANS NATIONS’ Cole Thompson added, the turnaround in just one calendar year was downright monumental, and remarkably full-circle:
The last time the Houston Texans entered Lucas Oil Stadium, their sights were set on the No. 1 pick.
Houston’s woeful 3-13-1 season was reaching its conclusion and a slew of changes were about to unfold once the plane touched back down in Houston.
A new head coach would likely take over for the third time in three seasons.
A new quarterback would probably be entering the locker room as an upgrade over Davis Mills.
But with seconds remaining on the clock, Mills found Jordan Akins for a 28-yard touchdown, and Smith wanted to go for the win, holding up two fingers while leaving the offense on the field. Mills found Akins again for the two-point conversion and a groan from the Houston grew miles away back home.
The final score: Houston 32, Indianapolis 31.
At the time, the win seemed like a lost moment in Texans’ history.
Almost a year later, it became the best thing to happen to the franchise in four years.
And even during last night’s game, the Texans had to rally and sweat, as the CNN duo recounted:
The Texans enjoyed the better start, as Stroud connected with Collins for a 75-yard touchdown on the team’s first offensive play of the game to set the tone early, before Andrew Beck’s touchdown in the second quarter stretched their lead and Houston went into the break up 14-6.
However, a 49-yard touchdown run by Colts star Jonathan Taylor – who finished with 188 yards on 30 carries – and a subsequent two-point conversion early in the third quarter tied the game, lacing it with even more tension given that both the Texans and the Colts needed a win to secure a playoff spot.
Both teams exchanged field goals, before Stroud and the Texans overcame several penalties and loss of yardage on a drive that culminated in a Devin Singletary touchdown to take the lead with 6:20 remaining in the game. However, a missed extra point left the door open for an Indianapolis comeback as the scoreline sat at 23-17 in favor of Houston.
On the ensuing drive, the Colts marched down the field to the Texans’ 15-yard line, and needing one more yard on a fourth-and-1, Colts third string running back Tyler Goodson dropped a wide open pass for the turnover on downs.
And it could get even better for Houston today, as they sit back and watch the rest of the league finish their seasons, as the duo further reminds:
The Texans can still win the AFC South and earn a first-round home game for the first round of the playoffs if the Jacksonville Jaguars lose on Sunday to the Tennessee Titans.
From worst to first, and possibly hosting a post-season game in the same stadium that will host tomorrow night’s college football championship.
You know, the game that C.J. Stroud DIDN’T play in because his Ohio State team is sooooo much of an underachiever?
Maybe his team is. Stroud, right now, is on top of his game, and I dare say may get an even greater ovation that many of the players who will take the field tomorrow night.
Indeed. How ‘BOUT Them Texans??!?!