FRED FAOUR

Texans pull off another ugly escape in Denver, but are sitting pretty at 6-3

Jordan Thomas caught the opening touchdown. Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Like a lot of Texans wins, Sunday’s 19-17 victory over Denver was not pretty. Deshaun Watson did not put up cartoon numbers. The offensive line struggled against the Broncos’ rugged defense. The Texans defense struggled at times and forced just one turnover.

In the end, it did not matter. The Texans got two TD passes from Watson to Jordan Thomas and DeAndre Hopkins and a couple key defensive stops when it counted to escape Denver with a win.

Oh, and a missed field goal at the buzzer from Brandon McManus certainly helped salvage the victory.

No matter how non-sexy the win might have been, it looks beautiful in the standings, where the Texans are now 6-3 after their 0-3 start. They are in control in the AFC South with the six straight wins.

And make no mistake, the Broncos were no easy out. Despite their 3-6 record, they have played well, especially at home, where they did lose to two of the best teams in football - the LA Rams and Kansas City.

On Sunday, Denver played the Texans basically even throughout the game, and took its first lead in the third quarter at 17-16. But the Texans answered with a field goal to retake the lead in the fourth. Case Keenum had better yardage numbers than Watson, with 26 of 42 for 290 yards and a touchdown.

The Texans defense responded once they got the lead, with back to back stops that included sacks by Jadeveon Clowney on one drive and J.J. Watt on the other.

The Texans got the ball with over seven minutes left after that, and ran the clock down to 3:29 before giving Keenum and the Broncos another chance. The Broncos nearly took advantage, converting twice on fourth down to set up McManus’ 51-yard field goal attempt to win the game.

He missed wide right, and the Texans get a chance to get home, heal up and get ready for a stretch drive that will include all three remaining divisional games at home.

Watson was a solid 17 of 24 for 217 yards, two touchdowns and a finished third straight game without a turnover, a huge key on Sunday. Hopkins was big again, with 10 catches for 105 yards and a touchdown.

The Texans were outgained 348-290. They scored a whopping 3 points in the second half. They allowed four sacks and averaged just 3 yards per rush. But they escaped. Would it have been nice to see them make a play at the end to stop the drive? Yes. It always looks better if you make the play to win it rather than have someone on the other team fail. 

Still, so what? Who cares if it was ugly?

Things look pretty attractive from atop the division. And now they have some time to get heathy. 

That would be even more beautiful. 
 

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