HOUSTON – With the Bills in town, Texans fans have high hopes for Saturday’s Wild Card game. Though the franchise has won four of the last five AFC South Championships, they have failed to make a deep playoff run.
The Texans are hoping to change that, and with the return of J.J. Watt, their first step to that quest could be made easier. But to go back to the best playoff memory for many Texans fans, you have to make your way back to the 2011 playoffs on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012.
WHY IT WAS SPECIAL
The 2011 playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals showcased Watt, then a young rookie. Watt intercepted Bengals Quarterback Andy Dalton and returned it for a 29-yard touchdown, giving Houston a healthy 17-10 lead right before halftime. Many point to that game as the moment they knew the Texans’ first-round draft pick was special. It was also the first playoff win in franchise history. The Texans are the youngest team in the NFL, and obviously back then they had even less history to their name. For a lot of fans, it was their first prideful moment since the Oiler days. It was an interesting game for cornerback Johnathan Joseph. We know Joseph as a vet, but it was his first season with the Texans and he was facing his former squad. Joseph was drafted by the Bengals in 2006.
OTHER THAN WATT... WHO SHOWED UP?
Basically the entire Texans defense. Dalton was sacked four times and threw three interceptions. It was a big moment as Dalton, a Houston kid from Katy High School, struggled immensely. T.J. Yates was the Texans quarterback, and running back Arian Foster was his favorite target of the game. Cincinnati got off to an early 7-0 lead, but an 8-yard rushing touchdown from Foster tied it. Neil Racker’s field goals can’t be forgotten, and ultimately Yates’ 40-yard pass to Andre Johnson gave Houston a 24-10 lead. Foster’s 42-yard rushing touchdown sealed the deal and left the final score at 31-10.
WHAT DID THE PLAYERS SAY?
Johnson was a dominant wide receiver for the Texans during that win. The next year, the Texans would face the Bengals yet again. Johnson’s quote resonates with this 2019-2020 team, which has struggled with consistency.
“Everything you’ve done up to this point, it doesn’t really matter,” said Johnson, according to NBC Sports. “It only matters what you do now, and we just have to take advantage of the opportunity we have now.”
Saturday, Watt and Johnson will again have roles in the Texans Wild Card game. It will be Watt’s first game back since his injury, and Johnson now serves as a special advisor for the franchise. Other than that, the Texans are a completely different team. But for Texans fans, they hope for the same dominant result.