For the Houston Texans today was a day in which the number 13 was a lucky number. For those of you who have not heard yet, the Texans are the AFC South champions…yeah, it is true, stop pinching yourself. However, I bet you did not know that the number 13 weaved itself into today’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals in a number of ways!
If you are not familiar with the name T.J. Yates, you had better familiarize yourself with this kid. What he has done is nothing short of amazing.
Forced to take over the Texans late in the season, due to injuries to both Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart, Yates had a big task ahead of him. Here he was, a fifth-round draft pick, third on the QB depth chart, taking over a red-hot 8-3 Texans team. This is like going from a white-collared mail jockey to office manager in a day, from bag boy to store manager, from obscurity to top-dog and all in one fail swoop.
Today, Yates, who wears the number 13, had a game which he will most likely never forget – both for the good and the bad. Sure, he threw an INT, was sacked five times, and lost a fumble but that is water under the bridge compared to his successes. You see, he also three for 300 yards and two passing TDs while rushing for 36 yards. Only three other QBs in the league threw for more yards than Yates today, maybe you know Mr. Matt Ryan, Mr. Drew Brees, and Mr. Tom Brady…now you know Mr. T.J. Yates, the Texans first lucky number 13.
By the way, those 300 passing yards that Yates had came on 26 passes…13 twice.
At the end of the first half the Texans were down 16-3 (13 points). You could tell that they were being outplayed in almost every aspect of the game. They were not clicking and, unless something drastic happened, they were going to lose this game. But that was at the end of the first half.
I do not know if Coach Gary Kubiak spiked the Gatorade or if he gave the pep talk of a lifetime but when the Texans began the second half you could tell that something was different. They were not only playing well but they were clicking on all cylinders. The defense began to shut down the Bengals and the offense began to find their rhythm.
Players were knocking down passes at the line of scrimmage, locking down the wide receivers, pressuring the quarterback, and stuffing the run game. They were connecting on passing situations, finding holes to run through, and making plays happen when it seemed that all was lost.
TE Joel Dreesen
Perhaps the 13 point deficit at the end of the first half was a bad thing but it sure seemed like a great motivator for the Texans.
The last time that a NFL team from Houston was in the playoffs was way back in 1994. Now this is a bit of a stretch but here it goes…Andre Johnson was born in 1981, the Houston Oilers played their last playoff game when he was 13 years old.
This year the Texans clinched the division and A.J. gets his chance to make history for the team. To clinch the division, however, the Texans needed the New Orleans Saints to defeat the Tennessee Titans. The Saints, down by a point going into the fourth quarter, scored 13 points in the fourth quarter to seal their win over the Titans.
Finally, it took the Texans how many plays to go 80 yards and win the game? That is right…13! With 2:33 left in the game, Yates took the Texans from their own 20 yard line down the field and into the end-zone in 13 plays.
Other Notable 13 Moments
*The Texans’ first points of the game came after Jacoby Jones took a punt out-of-bounds at their own 13 yard line.
* Connor Barwin’s only sack of the game, and the only sack of the day for the Texans, happened on the Bengals 13 yard line.
* Sherrick McMannis had three kickoff returns for 39 yards, an average of…13 yards.
So, altogether, today was a great day to be the number 13. T.J. Yates had the performance of a lifetime, the Texans clinched the AFC South, and all of Houston is celebrating the return of a playoff berth to its city!