Texans Advance in Playoffs… Blowout Browns 45-14

By Allan Jamail

Houston, TX ~ On Saturday, January 13, 2024, the Houston Texans hosted the Cleveland Browns and shocked the football world with an astonishing performance by their entire team. Over seventy-two thousand in the sellout game were in attendance. The 45-14 lopsided score was a shocker because a majority of the pro-football analysts predicted a much closer game, and some predicted a Browns win.

Three weeks ago on December 24th, the Browns enjoyed a 36-22 win over the Texans, who were playing without C. J. Stroud, their starting quarterback.

Much of the Texans’ success this 2023 season is because Texan owner Janice McNair and son CEO Cal McNair hired DeMeco Ryans as their head coach. But then Ryans will be the first to tell you he’s not solely responsible for the winning season. I know him well enough to say he’ll first say God gets all the glory. Then he’ll say it’s an entire team’s effort: management, coaches, players, and all the staff combined.

Ryans and General Manager Nick Caserio work together very well. This is a big plus because in many cases there’s friction between these two positions, usually over assistant coaches to hire.

General Manage Caserio was hired in 2021, so he is relatively new with the team. Before coming to the Texans, he was the New England Patriots Director of Player Personnel. He played quarterback at John Carroll University in Ohio.

I’m amazed as I look over this year’s roster, not just at the first time rookie players but the new assistant coaches too. These assistant coaches haven’t worked together until this season. Shortly after Ryans was hired on January 31, 2023, he hired Offensive Coordinator Bobby Slowik and Defensive Coordinator Matt Burke.

Bobby Slowik joined the Texans at the start of the 2023 season. He has previously served as an assistant coach for the Washington Redskins and San Francisco 49ers. He attended Michigan Tech University and played wide receiver for the Huskies in 2006, 2007, and 2008.

Slowik accepted his first NFL coaching position as a defensive assistant with the Washington Redskins in 2011-2013. He joined the San Francisco 49ers as a defensive quality control coach in 2017 and 2018. In 2019 through 2022, he moved to the offensive side of the ball. He and DeMeco Ryans worked together as assistant coaches for the 49ers.

Defensive Coordinator Matt Burke enters his 20th season coaching in the NFL. He joined the Texans at the start of 2023, after spending last season serving as the Arizona Cardinals defensive line coach. A native of Hudson, Mass., Burke played safety at Dartmouth. He was part of the school’s undefeated Ivy League championship team in 1996.

DeMeco Ryans, Texans Rookie Head Coach, and Defensive Coordinator Matt Burke, working in tandem, produced a stingy defensive, shutting down the Browns quarterback Joe Flacco. To compliment the offense, the defense had two pick-6 touchdown interceptions.

The Texans ended Flacco’s magic wild game 5-0 win streak. Flacco is their backup quarterback who took over after former Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, in Week 10, suffered a season-ending shoulder injury requiring surgery.

C. J. Stroud, Texans rookie quarterback, led the explosive offense with a brilliant performance. Stroud used the game plan of Rookie Offensive Coordinator Bobby Slowik. Slowik designed a masterclass game plan that took apart one of the NFL’s best defenses.

Cleveland’s defense never sacked Stroud and only hit him once. He completed 16-of-21 for 274 yards and three touchdowns. Five of his passes were over 20 yards.

The rookie sensation completed 16-of-21 for 274 yards and three touchdowns, scattering passes to seven different receivers. Total offensive yards were 356.

Running back Devin Singletary, nicknamed “Motor,” averaged 5 yards per carry and made one TD. Running back Dameon Pierce helped in the ground game too. Texans place kicker Ka’imi Fairbarin made 9 points, 6 after TD’s and one field goal.

This Sunday, DeMeco and his wife Jamila were greeted with lots of congratulatory praises from our church members. The Ryans’ and my wife Linda are members of the Fifth Ward Church of Christ. The Ryans’ were appreciative to receive last week’s copy of the North Channel Star and the Texans front page article.

The Texans next play on Saturday, January 20th at 3:30pm to be televised on ESPN and ABC. They’ll play the tough number one seed of their division, the Ravens in Baltimore. The big difference this time is the weather. The Texans lost to the Ravens back on Sept. 10th in Baltimore 25-9 on a beautiful day with 78 degree weather.

Saturday’s forecast in Baltimore calls for a high of 23 and low of 16. The Texans may luck out and miss the snow. The Baltimore area got more than four inches of snow Monday and more is expected Friday. However, Saturday’s conditions look cold, but dry.

“I think as long as you know what you need to wear, make sure you prepare, make sure you wear the proper things, that will help you while you’re standing around on the sideline. But once you hit the field, you’re going to get cold,” Texans coach DeMeco Ryans said Monday.