What a year makes all the difference.
The Houston Texans are officially back in Super Bowl XLVIII.
They’re also the only team in the league that is undefeated, and have a top-ranked defense, one of the best pass rush combinations in the NFL and the most-watched game on TV, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
In the past two seasons, Houston has won three straight AFC South titles and a pair of AFC playoff games.
The Texans’ resurgence came after they went 2-12 in 2013 and 2-14 in 2014.
In 2015, the Texans won the division for the first time since 2005.
That season, quarterback Tom Savage broke the franchise’s record for consecutive starts without an interception.
Savage finished the season with 5,000 passing yards, a franchise record and the third-most in franchise history behind Jerry Rice and Roger Staubach.
In 2016, Savage became the first quarterback in NFL history to pass for 3,000 yards, 50 touchdowns and no interceptions.
He’s the only player in NFL postseason history to have a playoff record of 5,500 passing yards.
He won the Heisman Trophy and was named MVP of the Super Bowl.
Savage is also the NFL’s all-time leader in touchdown passes, completions and total offense.
Savage’s career average of 9.1 yards per attempt is second-most all- time in NFL playoff history behind the legendary Tom Brady, who set an NFL record of 8.6 yards per pass attempt.
In 2016, the Patriots won Super Bowl LI.
The Patriots are 6-0 against the Texans this season.
Houston lost its first two games of the season in Houston before rallying for the Super-Bowl.
Houston’s defense led the league in points allowed (5.6 per game), sacks (13.2), interceptions (9.2) and forced fumbles (two) in 2016.
The defense finished the year ranked third in yards allowed per play (9,092.2).
Houston also allowed the fewest points per game (32.6) and total yards allowed (4,822.3).
The Houston defense was second in the AFC South and first in the division in 2016, allowing just 24.2 points per contest.
The Houston secondary also finished second in interceptions (22), third in passing defense (79.4), fourth in total defense (1,817.1) and sixth in points (26.3) per game.
Houston finished second nationally in pass-rush productivity (1.5 sacks, five forced fumbling interceptions) and seventh in sacks allowed (29.3), and tied for second in forced fumble recoveries (16).
The Texans also finished first in rushing defense (4.6 sacks) and second in rushing touchdowns (16) and touchdowns allowed (17).
The Texans defense has allowed only 11.8 points per possession since Savage’s Super Bowl run in 2016 and was ranked third nationally in points per play allowed (15.6).
Houston allowed the third fewest touchdowns in the NFC South in 2016 (17), the thirdfewest points in the conference and the second fewest in the postseason (17.5).
The Houston defense finished fourth in the playoff standings in points, third in total offense and fifth in total yards per game allowed (28.1).
Houston was the best defensive team in NFL Playoff history in 2016 despite finishing 10-5, losing to Indianapolis in the Superbowl and losing to San Francisco in the Divisional Round.
The team’s 2016 run in the playoffs also led to the team’s first-ever postseason victory in the 2015 AFC Championship Game.
The 2018 Houston Texans won their first Super Bowl title, but it was not without controversy.
The 2017 team was embroiled in a racial slur controversy involving offensive tackle Tyron Smith.
Smith was fined $50,000 and released from the team after the game.
In 2017, the team had four players arrested and released after the season for various offenses including drug possession, DUI, resisting arrest, failure to stop for police, and possession of a controlled substance.
Smith’s suspension is the longest in team history.
The other two suspensions are in 2016 for violating team policy on drugs and the NFL has fined Smith $40,000 for failing to comply with the policy.
In the last decade, Smith has been fined more than $30,000 in each of the past three seasons.
In 2017, Texans defensive tackle Jadeveon Clowney led the NFL with 1,869 total tackles, including 1,631 for a loss of 15.4 yards per contest and 1,578 tackles for a gain of 13.4.
He also had 4.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 quarterback sacks, 2.5 interceptions, four forced fumbled fumbles and two forced fumblings.
In a year in which Clowney started all 16 games and was an honorable mention All-Pro selection, he led the team with 8.5 pass breakups per game and