Nick Foles is back and so are the Eagles. Brett Carlsen/Getty Images
It was not a stretch to say Sunday's game against the Eagles was the most important regular season game in the Houston Texans franchise's history. Win, and they would remain in position to get a top 2 seed and a first-round bye.
Lose, and the AFC South remains in doubt, a tough first-round playoff matchup is assured, and the team has a near-impossible path to the Super Bowl.
The result was and old-fashioned gunfight. Nick Foles, the Super Bowl hero, brought his A game. Deshaun Watson, NCAA champion, rallied his team from a 13-point fourth quarter deficit to take a late lead.
In the end, the Texans left too much time on the clock, and Foles led his team down the field for the game winning field goal in a 32-30 Eagles victory.
Watson was outstanding in the loss. With no running game to speak of except for himself, he came up clutch when it mattered. Watson completed 29 of 40 for 339 yards, two touchdowns and carried eight times for 49 yards and two more scores. In the fourth quarter, he pulled off remarkable play after remarkable play to give his team a chance.
Foles was also amazing. He was 35 of 48 for 471 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. He took a big hit from Jadeveon Clowney in the fourth quarter, but returned to lead his team to the game-winning field goal.
It was simply two great players firing back and forth.
The win keeps the Eagles faint playoff hopes alive. The loss pretty much ruins the Texans hope at a first round bye and assures they must beat Jacksonville next week to win the AFC South.
The Texans were outplayed all day, but Watson's magical fourth quarter gave them a chance. The defense, however, was unable to stop Foles and the Eagles. Injuries in the secondary did not help, and an inability to cover tight ends (Zach Ertz had 12 catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns) ruined Watson's magic. The Texans forced three turnovers, but could not get a stop on the last drive when it mattered.
Watson's brilliance might have proven costly. He scored so quickly, the Eagles had plenty of time left on the clock to march to the game winner.
There were other stars. Ertz was terrific for Philadelphia, as was Nelson Agholor (five catches, 116 yards). Chris Long had two of the Texans four sacks.
For the Texans, DeAndre Hopkins was once again magnificent, with nine catches for 104 yards. Demaryius Thomas had three catches before what appeared to be a season-ending injury. Jadeveon Clowney forced a fumble on a strip sack, but also had several costly penalties.
But this show was all about the quarterbacks.
In truth, there was no shame in losing to the Super Bowl champs in their own building, especially as well as they have played of late. There is a reason teams starting 0-3 rarely make the playoffs let alone get a bye. Those early losses to the Titans with Blaine Gabbert and the Giants when they were playing terrible football will prove just as damaging as this loss, which was not unexpected.
In the end, it came down to Watson and Foles, and whoever got the ball last was going to win.
This one went to Foles. And the Texans now find there is still work to do just to make the playoffs, and their path to the Super Bowl is almost impossible.
But what a show they treated us to on Sunday. Foles and Watson both came up clutch and made huge plays.
Foles got the last shot off. And that was the difference.
All of a sudden, the Houston Texans have won three straight and host the Jacksonville Jaguars for a highly anticipated game this weekend
If the Texans come away victorious, they will take possession of first place in the division, and be in position to host a home playoff game for the first time since 2019.
Which got us thinking, is this the best version of the Texans we've ever seen? Many would say the best Texans teams were the ones coached by Gary Kubiak with Matt Schaub at QB. Or some may say it was the Bill O'Brien 2019 team with Deshaun Watson pulling the trigger at QB.
Regardless of which era of the Texans you believe was the best, one thing is for sure. This year's team has us optimistic on several levels. Ownership seems to have figured things out with the Easterby days behind us. Nick Caserio is a serious candidate for Executive of the Year, CJ Stroud is a favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year, and has a chance to win MVP. And DeMeco Ryans has a legit shot at Coach of the Year.
But let's go even further. Has DeMeco done enough already to be considered the franchise's best coach? Many would say these questions are entirely premature, but are they really?
We could also make the argument that Tank Dell is already the third-best receiver in franchise history behind Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins. He already has as many touchdowns (6) as Dre and Hopkins combined in their rookie seasons.
And let's make things even more interesting. Is CJ Stroud the best Houston QB since Warren Moon?
Be sure to watch the video above as we answer all these questions!