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Denver Broncos 2013 Opponents -- A Historical Perspective: Houston Texans

The Broncos face another former assistant coach

Doug Pensinger

In each of the previous historical reviews of Denver's 2013 opponents, I have given you a recap of the five most recently played games. When we come to the Houston Texans, this becomes problematic as the Broncos and the Texans have only played each other four times. You may remember that between the 1996 and 1997 seasons, Houston Oilers owner Bud Adams moved the team to Tennessee where they became the Tennessee Titans after playing two seasons as the Tennessee Oilers. The city of Houston stood without an NFL franchise until the 2002 season when the Houston Texans played their first season ever. As an interesting historical footnote to this expansion team, the Texans name was picked from a list that included four other choices: Bobcats, Stallions, Toros and Apollos (there is probably one or more jokes in there somewhere).

The Broncos did not face the Texans until Week 9 of the 2004 season when Denver traveled to Houston. The Broncos did not take it easy on the young Houston team, building a 10-0 lead by the second quarter then expanding that lead to 24-7 by halftime. Denver added another touchdown in the third quarter for a 31-7 advantage before playing "burn the clock" football that led to a 31-13 victory.

Houston gained its revenge on the Broncos when the Texans hosted Denver on Week 15 of the 2007 season. This time it was the Broncos who were on the losing end of a 31-13 score. Houston scored 10 points in the first half while Denver was able to only muster a pair of field goals. Each team added a third quarter touchdown to make the score 17-13 after three quarters of play. The fourth quarter belonged to the Texans as they added two touchdowns on two drives that consumed 9:37 of the fourth quarter while holding Denver to a 3-and-out and then a second drive that stalled when Jay Cutler connected with Javon Walker for only 11 yards on a 4th-and-12.

The Tim Tebow mystique got a big boost when Denver hosted the Texans on Week 16 of the 2010 season. Tebow completed 55% of his passes for 308 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Yet, what made this game truly memorable was the fourth quarter. Denver trailed Houston 23-10 going into the final quarter of play. Tebow capped a drive begun in the the third quarter with a 23-yard touchdown toss to Correll Buckhalter to make the score 23-17 with 11:05 left in the game. The Broncos' defense held on the next Houston drive and forced a punt, giving Denver the ball on its own 24-yard line with 7:42 left in the game. Tebow engineered a 14-play drive that consumed over four-and-one-half minutes of the clock. That drive ended when Tebow scampered six yards for a touchdown to give Denver a 24-23 lead. Houston fought back moving from its own 17-yard line to the Denver 39-yard line before Syd'Quan Thompson ended the Texans' hopes by intercepting a Matt Schaub pass. Three Tim Tebow kneel downs later, the Broncos walked away with a 24-23 comeback win.

Peyton Manning did not fare well in his first game against the Texans as a Bronco, despite completing 50% of his passes for 330 yards and two touchdowns. This game took place on Week 3 of the 2012 season. At first, it looked as though things were going to go Denver's way. After the Broncos' game-opening drive faltered and resulted in a punt, Elvis Dumervil sacked Houston quarterback Matt Schaub in the end zone for a safety on the Texans' first play from scrimmage. Denver turned the ensuing free kick into a field goal for a 5-0 first quarter lead. Houston responded with 21 unanswered points. The first came on a 60-yard touchdown pass from Matt Schaub to Andre Johnson. This would prove to be the first of four touchdown passes thrown by Schaub. The Broncos added two Matt Prater field goals to trail by 10 (21-11) at the end of the first half. The Texans added 10 points in the third quarter for a 31-11 lead. Manning, however, battled back with touchdown passes to Brandon Stokley and Joel Dreessen to bring the Broncos to within a touchdown at 31-25 with 3:00 left in the game. Unfortunately, Denver was unable to keep the Texans from burning almost two-and-one-half minutes off the clock before punting. A final play as time expired that included a Manning pass and three laterals could not wrest a victory from defeat for the Broncos.

Overall, Denver is 2-2-0 in the regular season versus the Texans and have never met in the postseason. How do you like their chances in December?