HOUSTON -- Pharaoh Brown's biggest asset is his availability and versatility. Entering 2021, he was ready for whatever chance came his way.
Brown, a former practice squad member for the Las Vegas Raiders and Cleveland Browns, was named the starting tight end for the Houston Texans after a strong preseason. Opportunities such as these are precious, and Brown realizes a quality performance Sunday could keep him in the spotlight - and on the field - a tad longer.
No, Brown didn't find the end zone in a 37-21 victory the Jacksonville Jaguars' on Sunday afternoon, but his impact in both the run game and as a receiver propelled the Texans' offense into the driver's seat. Everywhere you looked, No. 85 made a play.
"Pharaoh's a dog," running back Mark Ingram said. "He's a beast. He's straight savage. An animal."
Brown's instincts were vital in opening holes in the run game against the Jaguars' front seven. Playing from the three-point stance, the 27-year-old led the charge downfield for Ingram, Phillip Lindsay and Tyrod Taylor to at least 25 yards rushing.
As a whole, the Texans rushed for 160 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns in the red zone on the ground.
"He's physical in the run game, takes pride in blocking, and he's going to get his guy," Ingram said. "Even when he doesn't, he comes to the side like 'that was me, that was me.'"
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Brown also added value in the receiving game, especially to help set up a pair of scoring drives. During the first quarter, Taylor found Brown for a 25-yard gain that put the Texans inside the Jaguars' 20. Running back David Johnson would score three plays later on a 7-yard catch.
In the third, it was a similar formula for Taylor to Brown again. On a third-and-1 from the Jacksonville 34-yard line, the quarterback found the tight end up the middle for a 29-yard gain, putting Houston at the Jags' 5.
Lindsay would score on the following play, increasing Houston's lead by 27.
"He's going to block with the best of them, but he's also going to run routes and make plays in the passing game as well," wide receiver Brandin Cooks said. "He's dynamic. I just love to see him finally get his chance throughout the years and he's making the most of it."
Brown's 64 yards were the second-most on the afternoon behind Cooks' 123-yard performance. Both place Houston in the red zone three times. After that, it was an easy 21 points on the way to a win.
Brown, who went undrafted out of Oregon, fits what Texans head coach David Culley and general manager Nick Caserio have been looking for; versatility. While Jordan Akins and Brevin Jordan offer value in the pass, they struggle as blocker.
Anthony Auclair, who was elevated to the active roster, provides little with his hands. Brown can do both.
Only time can tell if Brown can be the difference-maker through 17 games, but his showcase in front of a home crowd didn't go unnoticed. It also left a mark on his teammates.
"I've been around a lot of great tight ends, and he could be one of the best," Ingram said.