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How the Houston Texans became a playoff team

As the Houston Texans prepare for their first playoff game since 2012, and the first playoff game of the Bill O'Brien era, let's take a look at some of the key moments of a tumultuous season.

  • The bye week admission (first week of November): The Texans went into their bye week 3-5. Before they broke from their team activities, O'Brien asked them all to leave their mistakes in the past. He also admitted his own mistake. He had pulled Hoyer too quickly, he said. Players appreciated their coach's mea culpa.

  • Yates takes the Bengals ... again (November 16): The four-game winning streak that turned the Texans' season began before their bye week, but it became a real thing of substance with a win over the then-undefeated Cincinnati Bengals. It was a low-scoring affair in which Hoyer suffered a concussion. Yates entered for him and did what he always does against the Bengals: win. He had the help of a phenomenal touchdown catch by DeAndre Hopkins, who was in the midst of his best NFL season yet. The Texans' defense dominated Cincinnati. By the end of this game, they had held two consecutive opponents without a touchdown.

  • The first win in Indianapolis (December 20): The AFC South played out such that the Texans were able to go through all of this turmoil and still be in contention for the division title. They entered this game tied with the Colts at 6-7. Yates started in place of Hoyer, who had suffered his second concussion of the season the prior week, but he suffered a torn ACL in the second quarter. Brandon Weeden, whom the Texans claimed off of waivers on November 18, came in and orchestrated one of the biggest wins in franchise history. The Texans' defense, again, played a significant role with an overall strong performance, plus an interception and a forced fumble at critical moments.

  • The clincher (January 3): The Texans clinched the AFC South when the Atlanta Falcons lost, which happened before their game ended. Still, they finished an emphatic, 30-6 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. They enter the playoffs with their defense on a roll, as they've allowed the fewest yards and points of any NFL team over the last nine games. They set a franchise record Sunday with eight sacks against Jacksonville. They didn't allow a touchdown for the fifth time in the last nine games. In their post-game locker room O'Brien held up an AFC South Championship hat and reminded them they want so much more.