Texans glad to stack wins, committed to improvement

HOUSTON — The Houston Texans beat the Arizona Cardinals 21-16 in Week 11 for their third-straight victory, the longest since 2018 when the club won nine straight en route to an AFC South title.

The following season the Texans defended their division crown with a 10-win season. Many believed that the team would continue the momentum of becoming a team to be reckoned with in the AFC, including offensive lineman Tytus Howard, who was Houston’s 2019 first-round draft pick from Alabama State.

Howard, 27, had a valid reason to believe so, given the two-time Pro Bowl quarterback under center and coach Bill O’Brien putting together a roster that looked like it could sustain the test of some of the most formidable opponents in the conference.

No one could foresee what would happen next with the quick downward spiral the team would take over the next couple of seasons. The Texans gave O’Brien general manager duties as well, and then fired him after losing his first four games of the season. The Texans picked associate head coach Romeo Crennel as the interim.


The star quarterback became disgruntled with the direction the franchise was headed and would soon find himself in some legal trouble after being accused of sexual assault and harassment by multiple women. He would eventually be traded after sitting out the entire 2021 season. The tumultuous times would continue for Howard and his teammates as they combined to win 11 total games over the next three seasons after winning 10 in his first season.

It’s funny how a rookie quarterback with veteran tendencies and a head coach who truly believes in his players can turn an organization around and get the players who have been with the Texans over the last three years to buy into what is being built for the future. Only four current players, which include Howard, Laremy Tunsil, Jon Weeks, and Ka’imi Fairbairn, remain from the 2019 team.

Sunday’s victory over the Cardinals was the sixth win of the season and puts Houston just one game out of first place behind their next opponent and AFC South foe, Jacksonville Jaguars.

“It feels good,” said Howard about the team’s success throughout the first 11 weeks of the regular season. “We just have to keep stacking them [wins]. The energy of the crowd is great, but it feels great to be back to winning. We have to keep picking up on the little things we have to fix and keep this thing rolling.”

Howard wasn’t the only one smiling in the locker room on Sunday. Texans wide receiver Nico Collins, who was drafted in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft out of the University of Michigan, has seen a lot of dark days with the organization with the uncertainty of the direction the team was heading. With two more victories on the season, Collins would have surpassed the seven combined since he was drafted.

“It feels so good because we know the hard work and grind we are putting in that people don’t see,” said Collins, who finished the day with seven catches for 65 yards in the win. “To get this win, it feels good because we really needed it. I feel like it is building momentum for the next game and the game after that.”

“We are just building with each other and building chemistry and just bonding. I feel like that is playing a huge part on the field, and we are just going to continue to grow.”

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Title: Texans glad to stack wins, committed to improvement
Author: Brian Barefield

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