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Washington Redskins’ D.J. Swearinger views matchup with Houston Texans as chance to pay back Houston


ASHBURN, Va. — The D.J. Swearinger revenge tour already includes wins against two of his former teams, Arizona and Tampa Bay, this season.

Those were warm-up acts for what takes place Sunday: a chance to beat the team the Washington Redskins safety said bashed him like no other.

That’s why Sunday’s game versus the Houston Texans will be a little more personal for Swearinger.

“Houston bashed my name pretty bad,” he said.

The Texans drafted Swearinger in the second round in 2013, and he played two seasons there before they released him during the 2015 offseason. Tampa Bay claimed him off waivers the following day.

“I never got a fair chance from Tampa,” Swearinger said recently. “I remember my first interview with [coach] Lovie [Smith], he asked me about all the things Houston bashed me on. I was sitting there shocked, like, ‘They really said that about me? This is horrible.’ I took that and put that chip on my shoulder, like I never got that fair opportunity.”

When Houston drafted him, Gary Kubiak was the head coach. A year later, Bill O’Brien took over. Swearinger played mostly as a nickel linebacker under Kubiak, but he started as a strong safety under O’Brien.

Swearinger preferred Kubiak’s approach.

“Kubiak let me be myself, let me do whatever as long as I played ball,” he said. “O’Brien was a control guy: ‘You can’t do this. You can’t do that.’ It came to a point where the DB coach [John Butler] took something I said wrong about the film and told Coach O’Brien. I remember it like it was yesterday. We stopped the walk-through. He cut the walk-through short. O’Brien talked to me and all the defensive coaches and chewed me out, dog. I’ll never forget that. I’m like, ‘Dang.'”

On a conference call with Washington reporters Tuesday, O’Brien said of Swearinger’s accusations, “I don’t really know what D.J.’s talking about.”

Swearinger said the issue stemmed from a film session in which he said he reminded another defensive back about getting proper depth in a cover-zero call because the offense could use max protection. Swearinger left the room shortly thereafter. He said other defensive backs told him the position coach was upset.

“They said, ‘When you left he was like, I don’t know what Swearinger is talking about, but the blitz hits right here,'” Swearinger said. “I was like, ‘Bro, I wasn’t even talking about that play.’ I was going off the film and he took something the wrong way and then they had that argument and I’m like, ‘What’s going on?’ From that day, I never could be myself in Houston again. Bro, I’m talking about film and you tell that back to the coach? I don’t know what to say. After that I could never find my groove.”

Swearinger said that’s the reason Houston benched him for three games in the 2014 season. But he regained the starting strong safety job for three of the last four games that year. Then it was on to Tampa, his home for less than a season.

“In Tampa I had one of the most incredible camps in my life,” he said. “I haven’t had a camp like that since. I picked off like 10 passes in camp; I had three punchouts. The next guy had like three [interceptions]. I was like, ‘There’s no way I’m not starting.’ I started in the preseason and then they put Chris Conte back in. I’m like, OK. If they got their guys, they got their guys. It was crazy. I did everything by the book, but they just judged me because of what Houston said.

“It was crazy. It’s all a learning experience for me. When I got to Arizona, it was a clean slate and it was time to go.”

After 20 games spanning two seasons with Arizona, Swearinger signed with the Redskins. He’s second in the NFL with four interceptions this season.

In an Instagram post Tuesday, Swearinger reiterated his disdain for O’Brien.

When asked if Swearinger’s maturity was an issue in Houston, O’Brien said, “No. Every player that comes into the league, no matter who you are, it is a tough transition from college to professional football and then on top of that you have a coaching change that D.J. had to deal with.”

He said Swearinger “did a good job” for the Texans during their one season together.

“You just try to make decisions in the best interest of the team,” O’Brien said. “D.J. made a lot of plays for us here. He’s a very instinctive, tough, competitive player. He’s obviously gone on to Arizona and now in Washington and he’s … doing a great job, has got excellent ball skills, good tackler, tough, competitive guy. He’s going to be a challenge to go against on Sunday.”





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Deshaun Watson nothing changes Houston Texans addition Demaryius Thomas


HOUSTON — The Texans lost an important piece of their offense when Will Fuller tore his ACL last Thursday, but quarterback Deshaun Watson said he expects the unit to pick up where it left off with the addition of wide receiver Demaryius Thomas.

“Nothing, really, should stop the train,” Watson said Wednesday. “[Thomas] is a veteran guy who can do a lot of different things. And he’s played a lot of football, so it’s a great opportunity for all of us to get on the same page and continue to put a lot of yards in the air and put a lot of points on the board.”

The Texans acquired Thomas from the Denver Broncos on Tuesday, less than a week after Houston scored a season-high 42 points against the Miami Dolphins in Week 8. Thomas is expected to replace Fuller as Houston’s No. 2 receiver. Thomas has a different skill set than Fuller, as he’s more of a possession receiver, like DeAndre Hopkins, than the deep threat the speedy Fuller was.

In the Texans’ victory over the Dolphins, Watson completed 16 of his 20 passes for 239 yards and five touchdowns. Fuller had 124 of those yards and a touchdown.

“Will is a big piece of this offense,” Watson said. “It’s tough to lose a guy like that. But regaining a guy like [Thomas] and being able to include him in the offense and do the same thing that Will did is a great addition for us, too.”

In eight games this season, Thomas has 36 catches for 402 yards and 3 touchdowns.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for me,” Thomas said. “Change can be good, it can be bad. But I think it’s going to be good here. I’m excited to get to work and see what I can do to help this squad out.”

Texans coach Bill O’Brien said he’s still figuring out how the offense will adjust after losing Fuller and gaining Thomas, but he said, “You have to adapt and you have to figure out how you can now move the ball.”

While Thomas may not be as fast as Fuller, he has had some success downfield. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Thomas has 10 catches on 29 targets on throws 20-plus yards downfield over the past two seasons and has caught two touchdowns. In comparison, Fuller has 10 catches on 25 targets and 6 touchdowns on deep passes.

“Nothing’s changing,” Watson said when asked if the offense would be different without Fuller. “We’re doing what we’re doing. Throw it deep, throw it short, throw it across the middle. Everything we were going to do, we’re going to do. Just because we lose Will doesn’t mean the train’s going to stop or we’re going to take a different route.

“We’re going to continue to do the same thing. Yes, me and Demaryius have to put in some work to get on the same page, but … we’ll be just fine and we’ll pick it up high speed.”

Thomas has already started putting in the work to get ready to face his former team on Sunday. Thomas said that when he looked at the playbook Wednesday morning, some plays were familiar to him. O’Brien said there is some carryover and similar terminology from the offense Josh McDaniels ran in Denver in 2009 and 2010.

“Out at the walkthrough right now, we were talking about a route and he’s like, ‘OK, that’s like this,'” O’Brien said. “[It’s a] route that he used to run that maybe they called it a little bit different. But a rookie would never be able to say that. So that experience that he has in different offenses is definitely a help.”

Thomas will also see some familiarity on Sunday in Denver as he returns to play his former team. The veteran receiver said it will be “very strange” to “come here then to get ready to play in the Mile High City that [I’ve] been playing in for the last 8½ years.”

The Broncos plan to recognize him on Sunday, something he said will “be tough” emotionally.

“But it’s ball and I’ve got to deal with it,” Thomas said. “It means a lot, but at the end of the day, it’s still the Houston Texans trying to get a win. That will be my main focus before the game, throughout the game and if we get to do it at the end of the game, that will be the focus.”

Broncos coach Vance Joseph would expect nothing less from Thomas.

“[I’ll miss] the person,” Joseph said. “He was a great person, first of all, great player for a long time with this football team. He is a good man. He was all-in all the time.”

“It’s going to be different, obviously, trading him to a team we’re playing on Sunday,” Joseph said. “Just different.”

Denver cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said he wishes Thomas the best, except for Sunday’s game.

“He’s going to want to come up here and show us we made a mistake trading him,” Harris said. “So we got to stop that.”

ESPN’s Jeff Legwold contributed to this report.



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Denver Broncos trade WR Demaryius Thomas to Houston Texans


The Denver Broncos have traded star wide receiver Demaryius Thomas to the Houston Texans, the teams announced Tuesday.

The Broncos acquired a fourth-round draft pick from the Texans and the teams will also swap seventh-round picks. The Texans will play the Broncos this Sunday in Denver.

Broncos team president and general manager John Elway said “three or four teams” had expressed interest in Thomas.

“We were not hell-bent on trading Demaryius,” Elway said. “… We got the value we thought was fair and that was the most important thing.”

Thomas is second on the Broncos in receptions (36) and receiving yards (402) and tied for the team lead in receiving touchdowns (three) this season. But his hefty salary-cap figure for 2019 ($17.533 million in what is the last year of his deal) and the emergence of rookie Courtland Sutton as a big-play threat had raised the possibility of Thomas being shipped elsewhere.

Thomas, 30, has the second-most receiving yards (9,055) and touchdown catches (60) in Broncos history, trailing Rod Smith in both categories.

“It’s never easy when you trade a guy that’s been a household name here for a long time and done a lot of great things, not only on the football field, but also in the community and is a good man,” Elway said. “Plus it’s a good spot for Demaryius.”

The Texans have a need at wide receiver after Will Fuller was lost for the season with a torn ACL in his right knee, suffered during the team’s win over the Dolphins on Thursday night.

Fuller has missed nine games in his first three NFL seasons. He has dealt with hamstring injuries, including one this season that caused him to miss a game. He also missed the first three games of the 2017 season with a broken collarbone.

Fuller had 32 catches for 503 yards and four touchdowns this season.

The Texans have also had trouble keeping rookie receiver Keke Coutee on the field.

Star wideout DeAndre Hopkins saluted the move.

“I think it was awesome,” he said. “I think Demaryius brings a lot of skill to this team and a lot of experience in the NFL. He’s a great guy off the field. I’ve trained with him before so I think it’s a good move.”

ESPN’s Jeff Legwold and Sarah Barshop contributed to this report.



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Will Fuller of Houston Texans to have ACL surgery next week


Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller will undergo surgery on his torn right ACL this week and is expected to miss six to nine months, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Under this timeline, Fuller, 24, is expected to be ready at some point during next summer’s training camp.

Fuller suffered the injury midway through the fourth quarter of Thursday’s win over the Miami Dolphins while attempting to catch a deep pass from Deshaun Watson in the end zone. Fuller was checked out on the field but was able to walk off under his own power.

He finished the game with five catches for 124 yards, including a career-long 73-yard touchdown.

“[Fuller has] been playing well,” coach Bill O’Brien said Friday. “But that’s the thing about this league. I think if you go through every team, everybody’s dealing with injuries. It’s such a cliché, but the coaching staff, the players, we all have to pitch in and figure it out and figure out how we’re going to construct the offense. And maybe some things will be the same, and maybe some things will be a little bit different.

“Most importantly right now, I’m very disappointed for Will because Will’s a great guy. He’s really been playing at a high level.”

The No. 21 overall pick in 2016, Fuller has missed nine games in his first three NFL seasons. He has dealt with hamstring injuries, including one this season that caused him to miss a game. He also missed the first three games of the 2017 season with a broken collarbone.

He is averaging 11.7 yards per target this season. According to ESPN Stats & Information, among players averaging six targets per game, that ranks second in the NFL.

Before tearing his ACL this season, Fuller had 32 catches for 503 yards and four touchdowns.



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Houston Texans WR Will Fuller tears ACL


HOUSTON — The Texans lost wide receiver Will Fuller for the season after he tore the ACL in his right knee during Thursday’s win over the Miami Dolphins, coach Bill O’Brien said Friday.

O’Brien said he did not have a date for Fuller’s surgery.

Fuller injured his knee midway through the fourth quarter while attempting to catch a deep pass from Deshaun Watson in the end zone. He was checked out on the field but was able to walk off under his own power.

“[Fuller has] been playing well,” O’Brien said. “But that’s the thing about this league. I think if you go through every team, everybody’s dealing with injuries. It’s such a cliché, but the coaching staff, the players, we all have to pitch in and figure it out and figure out how we’re going to construct the offense. And maybe some things will be the same, and maybe some things will be a little bit different.

“Most importantly right now, I’m very disappointed for Will because Will’s a great guy. He’s really been playing at a high level.”

Fuller left the game with five catches for 124 yards, including a 73-yard touchdown. On the touchdown, Fuller easily beat his defender across the middle and down the right sideline, trotting the final 5 yards into the end zone. The pass was the longest touchdown of both Watson’s and Fuller’s careers.

The pair has connected for 11 touchdowns in 11 games played together.

Fuller has missed nine games in his first three NFL seasons. He has dealt with hamstring injuries, including one this season that caused him to miss a game. He also missed the first three games of the 2017 season with a broken collarbone.

He is averaging 11.7 yards per target this season. According to ESPN Stats & Information, among players averaging six targets per game, that ranks second in the NFL.

Before tearing his ACL this season, Fuller had 32 catches for 503 yards and four touchdowns.

O’Brien said the Texans, who don’t have much depth at receiver, will continue to explore options to add to the wide receiver corps but feels “there’s a lot of guys in that locker room that can help fill the void.”

The coach said he hopes to get rookie receiver Keke Coutee back from a hamstring injury “at some point” to make up for some of the loss of Fuller’s production. Houston also has veteran Sammie Coates and rookie Vyncint Smith. The Texans could also lean on rookie tight ends Jordan Thomas and Jordan Akins.

“Obviously, if they could do them like Will, they would have been out there like Will,” O’Brien said. “But there’s definitely guys who can do some things. We’ve got a lot of good players in that locker room.”



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Deshaun Watson of Houston Texans ties career high with 5 passing TDs in win


HOUSTON — Less than a week after Deshaun Watson had to take a 12-hour bus ride to Jacksonville to ensure he could play in the game due to lung and rib injuries, the Houston Texans quarterback threw for five touchdowns in the team’s 42-23 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Thursday night.

It took until the eighth game of the 2018 season, but the Texans’ offense looked like the version the team was hoping for entering the year and Houston finally got a glimpse of the quarterback who lit up the NFL last season before he tore his ACL in early November.



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Will Fuller, Houston Texans wide receiver, ruled out with knee injury


HOUSTON — Wide receiver Will Fuller left the Houston Texans‘ game Thursday night against the Miami Dolphins because of a knee injury.

Fuller injured his knee midway through the fourth quarter while attempting to catch a deep pass from Deshaun Watson in the end zone. He was checked out on the field but was able to walk off under his own power.

Fuller left the game with five catches for 124 yards, including a 73-yard touchdown. On the touchdown, Fuller easily beat his defender across the middle and down the right sideline, trotting the final five yards into the end zone. The pass was the longest touchdown of both Watson’s and Fuller’s careers. The pair have now connected for 11 touchdowns in 11 games played together.

The receiver missed a game earlier this season because of a hamstring injury.

After the game, coach Bill O’Brien said he didn’t have an update on Fuller’s status. “We’ll have to wait and see,” he said.



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Texans, Dolphins linked by hurricanes, unique 2017 adversity – Houston Texans Blog


HOUSTON — The Houston Texans and Miami Dolphins find themselves in similar situations entering Thursday’s game in Houston (8:20 p.m. Fox/NFL Network). Both are 4-3 and in the thick of the AFC playoff race.

They were in similar situations last season, too, but in 2017 they were dealing with adversity on and off the field.

“Basically, it affects you more mentally than anything else, because your focus is not necessarily on football. Your focus is on your family and what they’re going through and what’s happening.”

Houston’s Romeo Crennel on dealing with the aftermath of a hurricane

It started with two devastating hurricanes — Harvey in Houston and Irma in Miami. Harvey hit during the Texans‘ third preseason game, leaving them unable to get back to Houston. They relocated to Dallas for a few days. The Texans and Cowboys were scheduled to play the fourth preseason game in Houston and initially moved it to AT&T Stadium. But once the Texans were told they would finally be able to return to Houston, the teams canceled the game.

Irma hit Miami on Sept. 10 and forced the Dolphins to postpone their season opener against Tampa Bay. The game was moved to Week 11, which meant both teams essentially lost their bye week. The NFL announced the postponement on Wednesday of that week. The Dolphins traveled to Oxnard, California, later that weekend, and Dolphins owner Stephen Ross paid for players, employees and their families to fly back and forth from California during the week of the hurricane.

On the field, both teams lost their starting quarterbacks for a significant portion of the season because of knee injuries. Miami’s Ryan Tannehill needed season-ending surgery in August after tearing an ACL in practice, and Houston’s Deshaun Watson did the same in early November.

Members of both organizations talked to ESPN reporters Sarah Barshop (Texans) and Cameron Wolfe (Dolphins) about the unique circumstances each team dealt with last season.

What is your first memory from the hurricane?

Johnathan Joseph, Houston, CB: “The devastation. Just thinking about all the people that it affected, just the way it sets the city back financially [and the] hard times for families just to regain just their everyday life structure.”

Ja’Wuan James, Miami, OT: “They were holding us forever, wouldn’t tell us what would happen. Half of Florida, I feel like, was gone already. We were waiting to see if we’re going to play the game or not.”

J.J. Watt, Houston, DL: “Just being on the road. Being away from it and watching it on TV and seeing all the destruction it caused from afar and not being able to be here. I mean, my girlfriend was here, so just obviously making sure she’s safe and making sure everybody back here was safe. But it’s a scary thing. I wish that upon nobody.”

T.J. McDonald, Miami, S: “I’m from California. I didn’t know anything about hurricanes. I just knew I had to get the heck up out of here. A lot of guys have been out here — Cam [Wake], Reshad [Jones] — in Miami for so long that you’re able to defer to them whether you should go anyway. They calmed me down a little bit.”

Christian Covington, Houston, LB: “I wanted to know if my family was OK. That was the craziest thing, just because you’re put in a stance of uncertainty whether or not your house is OK, whether your neighbors are OK, and then obviously if you have family staying with you, it’s like obviously that’s the No. 1 concern and question: Are they OK?”

D.J. Reader, Houston, DL: “The city banding together. Just to get things right and help people out and try and figure things out and just get everybody safe. That was really the biggest thing for me.”

What was the most difficult part for you after the storm?

Jamey Rootes, Texans president: “Just being concerned about your family. While we were one of the fortunate ones who did not take on water in our house, just the not knowing over several days … Are they OK? What’s it like? It just really gnaws at you. And all of our players and our coaching staff were experiencing that.”

Scott Bullis, Dolphins senior director of team operations: “Probably the uncertainty, not knowing early in that week if that game was going to be postponed, played at home or at another stadium in a different part of the country. Usually you get the road-trip schedule in April and your first road trip isn’t until August. We made the decision on Wednesday to go to California, and we flew out on Friday. It typically takes three months to plan that. We had 48 hours.”

Covington: “[Being in Dallas and] being in a position where you’re so helpless, because you literally cannot be there, physically being able to help out anybody that needs help — especially with everybody who had to deal with family members in the Houston area. That was really the hardest part.”

Adam Gase, Miami head coach: “The hardest thing was the bye-week thing. [The NFL] called and said the players need to be out of the building in this many hours because they are on their bye week. … Then we had to figure out how we get them all to L.A., because everybody was in different spots.”

Romeo Crennel, Houston defensive coordinator: “Well, for us, we left here before the storm hit. … Then watching on the news and then the players talking to their families who were still here, and some of them were having difficulty trying to find a place to stay — neighbors, friends or whatever it was. And then the players not being able to be with the families.”

James: “I had my dogs with me. All the flights we tried to buy were all booked, so I had to drive to Atlanta. It took me 22 hours to drive to Atlanta. I drove to Atlanta with my girl and my dogs. I flew to California … that Friday or Saturday and we met in Cali. Some of the guys got stuck here because it was so long — I think Mr. Ross got a plane together and took whoever was left to California.”

Joseph: “[When we came] back and going out and helping out and just seeing how long the recovery would be for some people and what it would take to get back for some people … just the very small things that we take daily for granted that some people were without and were in dire need of. And I think the city did a great job of responding. Everybody put in a helping hand around the city.”

How did the hurricane impact preparation and practice?

Crennel: “You still have to prepare as best you can, and I think, basically, it affects you more mentally than anything else because your focus is not necessarily on football. Your focus is on your family and what they’re going through and what’s happening.”

Bullis: “We’re trying to lock in planes, hotels, equipment trucks, buses, police escorts. When we don’t know where we’re going, it’s tough to lock in a hotel or a plane. We’re looking for 150 guest rooms, a ton of meeting space, a ton of food and beverage. To find something out a couple of days before and try to find a hotel that has that many rooms with all the meeting space available is very difficult. They were talking a lot of potential places like California, New Orleans, West Virginia. I’m not calling one of those places — I’m talking to all of those places — 15-20 different properties to have different options.”

Joseph: “You have to stay focused. We’re all professionals, and that’s part of it. No different than working any other job and anything catastrophic happens like that. But I think we got a lot of support systems around here, a lot of resources that we were able to use.”

Gase: “We practiced the whole week getting ready for that first game, then all of a sudden it was bye week. So it wasn’t really a bye week. I didn’t feel like it messed me up, but we weren’t winning and we needed a chance to regroup. We never had a chance to regroup.”

Rootes: “[For the season opener] … we said, ‘This is our time to celebrate the heroic efforts and the courage of our first responders. … Here’s our chance to tell all of them ‘thank you’ as a community.’ Those were messages that were delivered loud and clear. I had goose bumps on game day. … We had a chance to lift Houston’s spirits and put Houston on our shoulders. While football’s a game … it’s a place where community lives. And Houston came together.”

James: “Going the whole season 16 weeks straight, traveling from California to New York to London without having a break. That was the biggest thing. It was a lot going on.”

What lessons were learned after losing your QB?

Sean Ryan, Houston QB coach: “I think just the fact that the group of guys are resilient. They keep fighting. And I think that shows up week to week. It still shows up. … everybody just put their head down and kept moving forward.”

Gase: “The biggest thing was making sure that we were developing guys. Matt [Moore] was the right guy for us at the time as the backup to Ryan [Tannehill]. I was just concerned if [Moore] could make it through the whole season. … That’s why [when] we got into this offseason Brock [Osweiler‘s] name got brought up. David [Fales] was a restricted free agent and I wanted him back. We felt like we were developing guys and having guys ready for the season, and not having somebody brand-new come in starting from scratch. We went through that [in 2017]. As much as Jay [Cutler] knew the offense, it was a completely different feel for the [other players]. People s— on the offseason, but it matters.”

Joseph: “It’s tough. You see what your team is made of, because any time you have your quarterback and you lose a guy like that … he’s your leader.”

Covington: “Obviously, it was a big loss losing Deshaun, but at the same time, you have to step up all together and just realize that in order to win games, in order to continue to fight, you have to do it as one solid unit. [Next man up] is kind of a heartless thing to say, but you have to be frank, because that’s the league that we live in. That’s the sport that we play.”

What lessons were learned following the hurricane?

Bullis: “We spent a lot of time worrying about the storm. With a hurricane you really don’t know until 24 hours before if it’s going to get you. Talking with [Gase], going forward we want to get out of there early — like the Monday of that week — instead of waiting. Get out there all together. Get set up somewhere else and focus on the next football game ahead of you. Take the unknown out of it and get out of there, whether it’s going to hit or not.”

Rootes: “I was inspired by the reaction of our whole organization. I was very pleased with the way they responded both in their giving back to the community and their ability to handle the adversity and keep pushing forward and stay as a tight-knit group. That’s really tough at the beginning of your season to go through something that disruptive. And then all the folks that work in this building … Some of them were impacted by the hurricane directly. Some of them weren’t. But all of them, their first thought was: Houston’s taken a blow. What are we going to do about it? And that speaks to the quality of the people who are in this building and this locker room, and it speaks to the culture that we’ve established.”



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Watch: DeAndre Hopkins makes incredible one-handed catch over Jalen Ramsey – Houston Texans Blog


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The matchup between receiver DeAndre Hopkins and cornerback Jalen Ramsey has been one to watch since the corner came into the league in 2016.

But for at least one play during Sunday’s game between the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars, Hopkins came out on top with a spectacular catch.

On the Texans’ second drive, quarterback Deshaun Watson found Hopkins down the left sideline with Ramsey covering him. Hopkins beat Ramsey and reached out his left hand to make a one-handed catch for 31 yards.

The catch came on third-and-5 and got the Texans to the Jacksonville 37. Ka’imi Fairbairn kicked a 48-yard field goal to put Houston up 6-0 after that drive.





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J.J. Watt of Houston Texans, T.J. Watt of Pittsburgh Steelers relish NFL sack race: ‘It’s pretty wild’


HOUSTON — Before the Houston Texans‘ game on Sunday night, defensive end J.J. Watt had the chance to watch his younger brother T.J., an outside linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers, deliver another impressive three-sack performance.

J.J. also knew that with those three sacks, T.J. had taken the lead in the family with six on the season and that he was tied with Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins for the NFL lead.

“I knew he had six sacks, so I knew I had to get at least one otherwise I couldn’t go back to my phone after that,” J.J. said. “Then, I missed the one, so I was really p—-d off.”

J.J.’s sack came late in the fourth quarter and ensured that there would be a tie atop the family and NFL sack leaderboard for at least one more week.

T.J. also had a three-sack performance in Week 1 against the Browns and J.J. had three sacks in Week 3 against the Giants.

According to T.J., the back-and-forth is just “healthy competition.” J.J. called he and his brother “each other’s biggest fans.”

“It’s also been competitive,” J.J. said. “It’s always been like that. This is just the first time in the league we’ve gotten a chance to both be healthy and do it the same time. But, no, we’re each other’s biggest fans. We each root for each other as much as we can, whenever we can. I want to see him get as many sacks as he can possibly get, just the same way he wants to see me. We compete and there’s definitely a little bit of underlying competition there, but at the end of the day, if he gets 500 sacks I’d be happy as hell.”

Still, the fact that the brothers share the lead is cool for his mom, Connie.

“I’m sure my mom thinks it’s a lot cooler than I do,” T.J. said. She’ll take a picture of it and our names will be next to each other and it will be cool for her.” J.J. said he’s always known what his brother is capable of, “and it’s fun for the rest of the league to be able to see it.”

“It’s pretty wild when you go and you look at the sack sheet and you see our names next to each other,” J.J. said. “We used to beat up on each other in backyard and now we get to see our names at the top of the NFL sack charts. So, it’s incredible and I’m lucky. I have two incredible brothers [T.J. and Chargers fullback Derek Watt] and I’m very fortunate.”

Added T.J.: “That’s something I’ll never take for granted is to be able to sit on the couch and watch them play. It’s pretty special.”

But although J.J. and T.J. may be tied for the lead in sacks, the older brother pointed out on Wednesday that he is ahead in another category.

“Today he got his second AFC Player of the Week or whatever, but, I mean, I got the Player of the Month last month,” J.J. said. “So, I think that’s a little cooler.”



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