Houston celebrates Texans title, playoff berth


It was a day 10 years in the making that all Texans fans have been waiting for. The Texans can finally call themselves a playoff team.

It did not come easy in Cincinnati, but with a defense that hung in and a rookie quarterback coming of age, the Texans made it happen.

T.J. Yates, who's in for injured quarterbacks Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart, surprised everyone with a spectacular finish, running 80 yards with two minutes left on the clock. It came down to the final couple of seconds, but the Texans defeated the Bengals 20-19.

"You could feel it -- the excitement, the tension in the air. You didn't know what was going to happen. He's a rookie quarterback, but he went out there he did it," fan Alberto Morales said.

The win, which the Texans achieved without injured wide receiver Andre Johnson, and the Tennessee Titan's 22-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints, meant our hometown team locked up the AFC South championship and will head to the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

Loyal fans couldn't be happier.

"We've been waiting for a long time. It's been years and years since Houston's seen anything like this," fan Javier Sierra said.

The team returned to Houston on Sunday night to cheers and congratulations from a crowd of adoring fans

The team's bus rolled in front of Reliant Stadium around 8:30pm and scores of fans were already waiting for them.

Fans also rushed to the Go Texans store at Reliant and to other sports apparel retailers to grab up Texans gear, including division championship T-shirts and hats.

Shoppers started buying merchandise at the Academy on Kirby just minutes after the big victory. The store had already sold out of some sizes Sunday night and was waiting for a new shipment to come Monday.

Fans told us they've been waiting years for this moment.

"I had to come out here and get my championship shirt. And it's been a long time waiting for this shirt. As soon as the game was over, I said we got to get in the car and we got to get to Academy and get the shirt right now," one fan said.

The last time Houston went to the NFL playoffs was the Oilers in 1993.

The Houston Oilers made the playoffs 14 times between 1960 and 1993. Dan Pastorini led them into the playoffs in 1978. He's been watching the Texans and says this year's team reminds him of his old squad.

Pastorini said he is especially impressed with Yates. He thinks the young quarterback is the kind of guy who can lead his team a long way.

"It's an unselfish team, which is what you gotta have," Pastorini said of the Texans. "I just watch them and enjoy it. It reminds me of the way we used to be."

You can be certain this excitement will carry over to next weekend when the Texans will have home-field advantage as they face off against the Carolina Panthers.

There are a lot of eyes on this team, and a lot of hope that the winning streak will continue.

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