Los Angeles, United States—Houston receiver DeAndre Hopkins hauled in a 14-yard touchdown pass with 2:15 left to play Saturday as the Texans held off the New York Jets 29-22 and edged closer to an NFL playoff berth.
Hopkins added catches for 20 and seven yards on the seven-play, 75-yard scoring drive that put the Texans up 26-22 in a see-saw battle that saw both Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson and Jets signal caller Sam Darnold excel.
Having Hopkins as a target helped Watson’s cause. He caught 10 passes for 170 yards and two TDs, including a second-quarter reception that made it 13-3 for Houston.
Darnold got off to a slow start for the Jets but connected with Robby Anderson for a touchdown shortly before halftime, and with Andre Roberts for a TD early in the third quarter.
Jason Myers missed the extra point on both and the Jets still trailed 16-15. Houston increased that lead to 19-15 with a field goal, but the Jets seized the lead with five minutes remaining when Darnold handed off to Elijah McGuire, who bulled his way two yards into the end zone.
The Texans responded with Hopkins’ second touchdown catch of the night and a final field goal to improve to 10-4 and put themselves on the brink of a playoff spot.
“The game is never over for me,” Watson said. “The plays are never over sometimes.
“I just go out there with the ball in my hands, put the load on my shoulders and lead the team to victory. I’ve been doing that my whole life and I have to continue to do that at this level,” added the quarterback, who fired a pass into the tightly-covered Hopkins for the game-winner.
“The things he can do, staying in the pocket after taking hits and deliver balls on the money – not a lot of quarterbacks can do that,” Hopkins said.
In Denver, Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield struggled in the first half and committed two turnovers, but he connected with the go-ahead touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Antonio Callaway with 11:44 left in the fourth quarter of a 17-16 victory over the Broncos.
Cleveland led 17-13 after Callaway’s TD. The Broncos then drove 13 plays to the Cleveland six-yard-line, but after they failed to convert a third-and-one play went for a field goal that still left them one point behind on the way to a defeat that pushed them to the brink of elimination from playoff contention.