Photo: Marty Allison/DicksonSportsMedia
To most of the players on the field at Nissan Stadium on Sunday, it was just the first division game of the 2018 NFL season. But to Texans punter Trevor Daniel, it was a bit of a homecoming.
“I saw a lot of people in the stands that yelled at me,” said Daniel, “I knew who they were, so it was pretty cool.”
The 2013 Dickson County High School graduate won the Houston Texans punting job over veteran Shane Lechler in the offseason, and played his first game in Nashville on Sunday. Daniel punted four times, the first two going for 53 and 47 yards, respectively. In the second half, Daniel was punting from Titans territory, and pinned them back to their own 5-yard line with a 27 yard punt and a holding call.
Daniel’s fourth punt came in the fourth quarter, from the Titans’ 37-yard line. This time, the ball bounced into the end zone for a touchback. Despite enjoying his visit to middle Tennessee, Daniel is ready to move forward with the Texans’ season.
“It feels good to be back here,” said Daniel, “this isn’t my home stadium though, you know? So, I’m ready to get back to Houston and play next week.”
Special teams was a huge factor in the game, but more in favor of the home team. The Titans got the scoring started with a 66-yard touchdown to Dane Cruikshank thrown by Kevin Byard on a fake punt early in the first quarter, and took the lead 7-0. An 18-yard touchdown on a screen pass thrown by Blaine Gabbert to Taywan Taylor made it 14-0, but the Texans cut the lead in half in the second quarter when Deshaun Watson connected with Deandre Hopkins for a 28-yard touchdown, and the halftime score was 14-7.
Things slowed down for the Titans’ offense in the third quarter, and the Texans took a 17-14 lead in the fourth quarter. A 42-yard field goal by Ryan Succop tied things up for the Titans at 17, and 31-yarder by Succop gave them a 20-17 lead with 1:00 minute remaining. The Texans had no timeouts, and the clock expired as Deshaun Watson threw a 31-yard pass to Deandre Hopkins. The Titans improve to 1-1 with the win, and the Texans fall to 0-2.
Meanwhile, Trevor Daniel is three weeks into his first NFL regular season, and is continuing to work on his craft.
“I’ve got a lot to work on, so I’m just trying to work every day to get better.”
The Texans return home to play the New York Giants in Week 3, while the Titans hit the road for another AFC South game at the Jacksonville Jaguars.