It had been 336 days since the Houston Texans won a football game; and those 336 days have been hard for players, coaches and fans alike.
The 15-game losing streak is over technically over, as the Texans used a solid offensive and defensive attack to down the Atlanta Falcons by the score of 32-7 at NRG Stadium in Houston on Saturday, August 16, 2014.
In actuality, this preseason game does not count on the Texans' won-loss record, by a victory is a victory, at least to the fans of the Battle Red, Deep Steel Blue, and Liberty White.
Head coach Bill O'Brien was still content to start Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback and he played the entire first quarter, just as he did in the Texans' first preseason game against Arizona.
Versus the Cardinals, Fitzpatrick completed 6-for-14 passes for 55 yards and threw two interceptions.
The Texans were the first to get on the scoreboard; with 1:23 left in the first quarter.
Fitzpatrick handed off to rookie fullback Alfred Blue, who plowed one yard for the score, with Randy Bullock splitting the uprights for the extra point, from the 25-yard line, to make the score 7-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The scoring drive was 69 yards on 12 plays and lasted 6:19.
Fitzpatrick was replaced by rookie Tom Savage for the second quarter. Fitzpatrick completed 4-of-6 passes for 33 yards and rushed for 10 yards in the first quarter.
The Falcons tied the score at the 1:32 mark in the second quarter when third string quarterback Sean Renfree completed a 12-yard pass to wide receive Devin Hester.
After the score, O'Brien opted to return Fitzpatrick to the game for the remainder of the half, where he engineered a seven play, 74 yard scoring drive that lasted 1:13 and ended with an eight yard pass to wide receiver DeVire Posey.
Bullock's extra point was wide to the right; making the score 13-7 at the end of the half.
In the final drive of the half, Fitzpatrick completed 5-for-6 passes for 63 yards and carried the ball once for 15 yards. He finished the game competing nine of 12 passes for 97 yards.
O'Brien commented on Fitzpatrick's play during the post-game press conference with the credentialed media.
“He is getting comfortable with the system. It was a good step in the right direction.”
Case Keenum started the second half and drove the ball 58 yards in 10 plays before the Texans had to settle for a 40-yard field goal by Bullock; making the score 16-7 with 10:20 left in the third quarter.
After a series of downs, the Falcons had their backs against the end zone, and on a fourth and eight play at their own four yard line, Matt Bosher dropped back into the end zone to punt the ball; which was tipped by Texans' tight end Anthony Denham.
Running back Jonathan Grimes recovered the loose ball and scampered 17-yards for the score. Bullock's extra point was good to give the Texans a 23-7 lead with 14:03 remaining in the game.
The Texans added an insurance touchdown at the 6:46 mark of the fourth quarter when rookie corner back Andre Hal stepped in front of a T.J. Yates errant pass, intended for rookie wide receiver Julian Jones, and returned the ball 64 yards for the score.
Bullock again went wide right from 33 yards out on the extra point, to make keep the score at 29-7.
Yates was again picked off at the 5:43 mark by linebacker Max Bullough, who returned the ball to the Falcon's 15-yard line.
Savage returned to the game as quarterback and who went three-and-out before settling for a 33-yard field goal by Chris Boswell; making the score 32-7.
Keenum finished the game with six completions on 12 attempts fpor 81 yards while throwing one interception, while Savage was 4-for-5 for eight yards.
Defensively, the Texans' number one draft pick, Jadeveon Clowney, saw limited action in the game. However he rattled some of the Falcons' cages with a big sack of Matt Ryan and two major tackles on Ryan and running back Antone Smith.
The Texans' next preseason opponent with be against Denver on August 23. They will return home for their final preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday, August 28.