Texans Report Thomas discovers comfort zone
Texans coach Bill O’Brien had vowed to get veteran wide receiver Demaryius Thomas more involved after the five-time Pro Bowl selection had zero catches a week ago.
And O’Brien, who operates as the Texans’ offensive coordinator, and quarterback Deshaun Watson made it a priority to get the football into Thomas’ hands on Monday night against the Tennessee Titans.
Thomas caught a 12-yard lob from Watson in the first quarter for his first touchdown since joining the Texans in a midseason trade from the Denver Broncos. It was the first of two touchdown catches for Thomas during a 34-17 victory as he finished with four catches for 38 yards on five targets.
“It feels great,” Thomas said. “Coming into the week, they were telling me they were going to get me the ball more. We took advantage of it, and I got on the board twice.”
The 6-3, 229-pound Thomas was targeted early in the game, catching two passes for 24 yards on two targets in the first half as the Texans built a 24-10 lead.
Thomas’ timing with Watson is improving.
“It’s getting there,” Thomas said. “This is just three weeks. The main thing is being able to line up and play fast. That was big.”
WR Coutee suffers injury to hamstring
In a recurring theme to his rookie season, Texans wide receiver Keke Coutee injured his hamstring Monday night.
Coutee was listed as questionable to return.
This marks the third time this season that Coutee has injured his hamstring.
“I’m feeling good,” Coutee said. “We’ll have to see where we go from here.”
When asked if this latest hamstring injury was as serious as previous ones that have sidelined him, Coutee replied: “It’s hard to tell.”
Backup Covington records pair of sacks
Backup defensive lineman Christian Covington entered Monday with four career sacks, and none recorded this season.
The former sixth-round draft pick from Rice had a huge game with a career-high 2 1/2 sacks of Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Mariota is one of the most elusive quarterbacks in the NFL, but Covington hit him three times.
Offensive guards play through pain
Texans offensive guards Zach Fulton and Senio Kelemete both played hurt Monday night.
Fulton and Kelemete started despite being listed as questionable on the injury report and being limited in practice all week.
Fulton injured his shoulder a week ago at FedEx Field and left the game with Greg Mancz stepping in for him. Kelemete had a gimpy ankle and was replaced by Martinas Rankin.
Fulton had an ice pack on his shoulder after the game, but said he didn’t aggravate the injury.
Kelemete briefly went to the sideline to get checked out, but continued to play.
ILB Cunningham returns to action
Out for the past two games since spraining his knee against the Miami Dolphins, Texans starting inside linebacker Zach Cunningham was back in the starting lineup Monday night.
Cunningham increased his activity all week as the medial collateral ligament in his knee has healed.
A former second-round draft pick from Vanderbilt, Cunningham entered Monday ranked second on the defense with 62 tackles. He had five tackles, three solos, and one for a loss during the first half Monday night.
Hopkins continues climb up the charts
In the middle of another prolific season, Texans All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins reached a significant statistical milestone.
Hopkins passed Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice and Warren Wells a week ago with his 19th consecutive game of 50 or more receiving yards to rank fourth in NFL history. It’s the longest in franchise history and the longest current streak in the NFL.
Hopkins extended that streak to 20 games with three catches for 53 yards by halftime against the Tennessee Titans. He finished the game with five catches for 74 yards on six target.
“That was very special to pass someone like that who’s considered one of the best at my position,” said Hopkins, who has 73 catches for 1,024 yards and eight touchdowns this season. “Pretty sure there are hundreds of records that he has, but to break one of them is a good feeling.”