Skip to main content

Injuries prevented the Texans from finding out exactly what their team could have been last season.

Star defensive end J.J. Watt, linebacker Whitney Mercilus and quarterback Deshaun Watson were among 21 Houston players that spent time on injured reserve during the 2017 campaign. The season predictably imploded, ending with six straight losses.

But before the avalanche of injuries, the Texans gave the eventual AFC champion New England Patriots all they could handle during a Week 3 visit to Gillette Stadium.

Story continues below advertisement

Despite having a rookie signal caller in Watson, the Texans offence matched touchdowns with the Patriots. Houston was headed for an improbable victory before Tom Brady rescued his team with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks in the final minute to give New England a 36-33 victory.

Now healed and with a rehabilitated defence, the Texans return to New England on Sunday, hoping to put their misfortunes in the past as they open the 2018 season.

That is particularly true in the case of Watt, who has had parts of the past two seasons derailed by injuries.

He played just three games in 2016 before being sidelined with a herniated disc. The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year then appeared in five games last season before having his year ended by a fractured left tibia.

“I’m just looking forward to playing football again,” Watt said. “Obviously the last two years have been very rough for me. You want to play, and everything that I’ve had to go through in the rehabs and the recoveries and all that it took and then, obviously, [Hurricane Harvey] as well.

“But I’m just looking to getting back out on the field, playing football, flying around with the guys, doing what I love.”

Meanwhile, the Patriots begin yet another season as the favourite in a conference they have dominated for nearly two decades thanks to Brady. He’s now 41, but has yet to show any signs of diminished capacity coming off an MVP season.

Story continues below advertisement

He’ll have a new-look receiving corps following the off-season departures of Danny Amendola and Cooks, as well as the four-game suspension of Julian Edelman for violating the NFL’s policy on performance enhancers.

Although he’s already secured his place in the Hall of Fame and may possibly end his career as the most accomplished quarterback in league history, Brady reiterated this week in the final installment of his Facebook Watch series Tom vs Time that he wants to play five more seasons.

“I think I can do it,” he said. “It’ll be a challenge for me. I don’t think it’s going to be easy. It’s going to be hard to do. I think it’s going to be very hard to do. But I think I can do it. And once you stop, you’re done. And I think I’m not ready to say I’m done, because I don’t feel like I am.”

Report an error
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter