Houston Texans, NFL

TEXANS NOTEBOOK: After big win, Texans control destiny

By DENNIS SILVA II, Times Sports Editor
Posted 11/22/19

With five games left in the regular season, the Texans control their own destiny.

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Houston Texans, NFL

TEXANS NOTEBOOK: After big win, Texans control destiny

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With five games left in the regular season, the Texans control their own destiny.

They earned that right via 20-17 win over divisional rival Indianapolis on Nov. 21. Because of the win, Houston is in first place outright in the AFC South at 7-4, a game ahead of the 6-5 Colts.

“It feels great to be No. 1 in the division,” inside linebacker Benardrick McKinney said. “It allows us to get invited to the playoffs. We are just going to take it one day at a time and keep taking the coaching and keep playing together as a team.”

Houston’s win over the Colts was all the more impressive since it came on a short week following a humiliating loss. Just four days earlier, the Texans had fallen 41-7 to the Ravens in Baltimore.

“It’s huge. I mean, coming off a loss, turning the page, short week,” outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus said. “We knew what we had to do, especially with a divisional opponent. Pretty much, we got it done. It wasn’t pretty at times, but just the way these guys fight and everything, we were able to pull out a win.”

The Texans and Colts tied their season series, 1-1. The Colts beat the Texans 30-23 on Oct. 20.

Houston plays New England on Sunday at NRG Stadium as part of NBC’s Sunday Night Football event.

The Patriots are 10-1-0 all-time versus the Texans.

“I haven’t beaten those guys yet since I’ve been in the NFL,” said receiver DeAndre Hopkins, in his seventh season with the Texans. “And this is a great team, an AFC team, an AFC game. Obviously those guys are No. 1 right now in the division in the AFC, so we’ve just got to come out and play our game and take it day by day.”

RESILIENT TEXANS

The Texans are 10-1 in games following double-digit losses.

“The first thing that comes to mind is that’s too many double-digit losses,” coach Bill O’Brien said. “But I think that these guys in this locker room this year, they are a resilient team and they did a good job last week of turning the page, they really did. They focused right away on Monday on the Colts and they went to work.”

O’Brien said it’s all about the players when it comes down to a team having the ability to refocus and bounce back from adversity.

“It really is about the players that you have,” he said. “If you have good, professional football players that really understand, and that are mentally tough and understand that it’s a long year and there’s a lot to play for, and don’t dwell on the past, don’t look in the rearview mirror too much, then it’s not hard to get a team to focus. We’ve got a team that is very focused and is a resilient team. We’ve come back in games. I think we’ve shown the ability to do that, and that’s the sign of a resilient team. So, that’s the type of team that stays focused.”

CUNNINGHAM STARS

Inside linebacker Zach Cunningham had a great game against the Colts with 16 total tackles, 13 solo.

“I mean, he was all over the field,” O’Brien said of Cunningham.

O’Brien said Cunningham, in his third year with the Texans, has done a good job this season spending a lot of time in the film room.

“He’s been—he’s a very athletic guy, he’s very instinctive,” O’Brien said. “He’s a really good player, he’s flying around, he’s making good decisions relative to when to hit behind the ball or try to play over the top, and he’s tackling well. Then he helps us on special teams, too, so he’s done a good job for us.”

Houston Texans, NFL

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