This week and next week, we'll review 10 plays that shaped the Texans' 2014 season.
The list is J.J. Watt-heavy, starting with this one.
J.J. Watt's first touchdown catch
Under the previous coaching staff, Watt lobbied. He practiced the one-handed catches with the Jugs machines. He even got in on a goal-line play that former Texans coach Gary Kubiak lightly called the Wisconsin package, with players who came from the University of Wisconsin: tight end Owen Daniels, tight end Garrett Graham and Watt. Kubiak would chuckle at the thought of using Watt in an actual game, though.
So when Kubiak was fired and Bill O'Brien was hired, Watt stopped lobbying. After all, it hadn't done him any good in the past. But this staff had reason to try a defensive player as a tight end. It worked when linebackers coach Mike Vrabel tried it as a player.
The play on Sept. 14 caught the Oakland Raiders completely off-guard. It came at the end of the game's opening drive on a second-and-goal from the 1-yard line.
Watt parked himself on the line of scrimmage outside left tackle Duane Brown. At the snap, he jogged past the Raiders outside linebacker with ease. Both the linebackers on Watt's side were more concerned with running back Arian Foster than they were with stopping some guy wearing the No. 99. Later, one of the Raiders conceded that he saw the high number and assumed the player wearing it wouldn't be catching a pass. When I relayed that to Watt the next week, Watt assured us he reported properly.
It was the start of something special. Watt caught two more touchdown passes -- plays O'Brien made sure to note were not gimmicks. They accounted for three of his five touchdowns this season. The other two came on defense. And while Watt's defensive feats were more important to the Texans overall this season, the offensive plays showed his versatility.
They were fun, too.