When the Falcons kick off against the Houston Texans in Week 5 this coming Sunday, it will be just the sixth ever such instance of these franchises coming to blows, which isn’t entirely shocking given that they are in separate conferences as well as the fact that the Texans just became a franchise in 2002.
In the five matchups thus far, Houston holds the slightest 3-2 edge, with there being no such instance of one team winning two games in a row over the other. The Texans are the team that Atlanta has faced the fewest amount of times among anybody in the NFL, as they are for many other NFC opponents as well.
The first all-time meeting came in 2003, which was a bit of a lost season for the Falcons following a preseason injury to Mike Vick which cost him most of the campaign. Vick actually made his season debut in relief of Doug Johnson in that game, which the Texans won 17-13.
During the next meeting, Houston employed former Falcons QB Matt Schaub, who was out-dueled by Joey Harrington in a 2007 matchup. A great defensive performance and a late Arian Foster touchdown helped the Texans and future Falcons backup QB TJ Yates win in 2011, before the Birds decisively won a 2015 game which was powered by three Devonta Freeman touchdowns.
The Falcons were coming off of an incredibly disappointing defeat against Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans to fall to 1-3 when they traveled to Houston to face Deshaun Watson’s upstart Texans, who at 2-2 were looking to kickstart a playoff run.
There were clear issues with Dan Quinn’s very vanilla and ineffective defense and those issues were never more on display than during this early October afternoon in the lone star state.
The Falcons forced a punt on Houston’s first possession and then went downfield and took a 7-0 lead, then everything came spiraling. Atlanta went on to score 31 points behind an inspired Matt Ryan who threw for 330 passing yards and three touchdowns, but the defense was historically putrid.
Following that three and out on their initial possession, the Texans scored on every other possession they had during this game, other than when the clock ran out on them at the end of the second quarter. That’s eight possessions, six of them being touchdowns.
Watson threw for 426 passing yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions with 217 yards and three scores of that productions going to Will Fuller. It was truly a horrific performance that made it more obvious than ever that Quinn would not right the ship in Atlanta.
Counting a final pick 6 the Texans scored just for good measure on the Falcons’ final possession, Houston put up a whopping 53 points, which is the second-highest single game mark in their franchises history and the eighth-most points Atlanta has ever allowed in a single game.
The Falcons went on to miss the playoffs at 7-9, while Houston won the AFC South at 10-6 and then won a playoff game before the Chiefs knocked them out in the Divisional Round.