Texans Devour Lions: The Good, Bad And Ugly

Houston Texans Devour Detroit Lions: The NFL Thanksgiving Good, Bad And Ugly.
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Thanksgiving gifted Houstonians with a thrilling second-half performance from their hometown Texans as they won their second-ever Turkey Day game in as many attempts, devouring the Detroit Lions 41-25.

As ever, there were plenty of highs and lows throughout with four total turnovers, multiple lead changes, and 14 total penalties meaning there are plenty of 'goods' and 'bads' to discuss.

READ MORE: Texans 41, Lions 25: 11 Takes on Turkey Day Win

The Good

Where else can we start but with Houdini incarnate - Deshaun Watson?

The Pro Bowl quarterback has been playing lights-out since Week 5, leading the Texans to three wins in their last four games. On Thursday in an eerily silent Ford Field, The fourth-year star passed for 318 yards and four touchdowns on his way to a quarterback rating of 150.4 - joining only Tom Brady to have hit 150-plus yards and thrown for four touchdowns on Thanksgiving in NFL history.

Since Week 5, Watson has taken his game to another level with an average passer rating of 121.

READ MORE: Which Texans Star Gave Best 'Turkey Leg' Performance?

Also worth mentioning is that as of Thursday, Watson leads the NFL in passing yards with 3,201.

Of course, none of this would be possible without his receivers, and none stood out more, yet again, than Will Fuller. Little good may have come out of the now-infamous DeAndre Hopkins trade. However, it has allowed Fuller to spread his wings and show that he is more than capable of being a No. 1 receiver - sentiment Hopkins himself clearly agrees with.

Fuller finished his first Thanksgiving game with 171 receiving yards and two touchdowns. As it stands, Fuller has 879 receiving yards and eight touchdowns on the year, both career-highs.

In other good news, defensively the Texans have continued to improve after last week's dramatic step up against the New England Patriots. Lions quarterback Matt Stafford was kept under 300 yards passing with 295, while Detroit was also kept under wraps on the ground rushing for only 109 yards.

Defensive end J.J. Watt had another good game, crowned by a pick-six to help turn the game around early on after a slow start from the Texans. 

Watt currently has seven defended passes to his name, his highest tally since 2015.

Elsewhere, inside linebacker Tyrell Adams continued his stellar form recording 17 tackles and two forced fumbles. He is only the fourth player since 1994 to have hit those marks in a single game, not too bad from a player who began the season as a backup.

Another player who continued their impressive form is safety Justin Reid. Following a rocky start to the season, Reid has seriously stepped up his game these last two weeks with four tackles for loss, four quarterback hits, and two sacks.

Elsewhere, backup linebacker Nate Hall chipped in with a forced fumble and two sacks (all career firsts), with defensive tackle Brandon Dunn and cornerback Bradley Roby both recovering fumbles, while outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus got his fourth sack of the season.

The Bad

First of all, the Texans shot themselves in the foot several times thanks to penalties. With 10 flags costing them 74 yards in total, they are doing themselves and their improvements a disservice throwing away yardage like this. 

On offense, tight end Kahale Warring made his long-awaited debut on offense only to drop his one and only target of the game. The 2019 third-round pick spent his rookie year on injured reserve and is yet to hit the heights his athleticism and build suggest possible.

READ MORE: Texans' Tyrell: 'The Ride of My Life'

Remaining on offense ... and the rushing offense remained non-existent. Extremely poor run-blocking by the interior offensive line continues to make Duke Johnson's life unnecessarily difficult as he ran for just 37 yards on nine carries. 

Thankfully, offensive coordinator Tim Kelly has leaned far more heavily on Watson to make plays through the air the last couple of games, after trying and failing to get the run game going. 

The Texans also were not able to get the tight ends involved, with zero receiving yards between the group. This was particularly disappointing given how well Jordan Akins played against the Pats, ultimately being was targeted just twice on Thursday with zero receptions. 

Defensively the Texans struggled to contain tight end T.J. Hockensen early on. This was highlighted by a 51-yard gain on the Lions' first drive. He finished the game as Detroit's top receiver with five receptions for 89-yards.

Of course, there were individual plays some of the players will wish to have back, but on the whole, there is little to complain about in all earnest.


The Texans were far from perfect, but they put on a great show, in the second half particularly. There are still plenty of holes to fill and improvements to be made, but they have come a long way in a short space of time. 

READ MORE: Breaking: Texans Cutting WR Kenny Stills

This team is beginning to look like one that can compete for wins consistently, perhaps not against the top 10, but certainly the rest. There are no trophies for "best of the rest'' ... but 4-7 (now) beats 0-4 (where Houston started.)