The Texans promoted wide receiver Chris Moore from the practice squad days after he delivered an impressive performance, elevating over New England Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson, leaping for an acrobatic sideline catch between him and safety Devin McCourty.
With the football secured, the Texans’ reserve wide receiver raced away from pursuit as he accelerated into the end zone for a 67-yard touchdown reception during the first half Sunday at NRG Stadium.
A different kind of elevation, being elevated from the practice squad to the active roster Saturday afternoon, led up to the longest catch of Moore’s six-year NFL career during a 25-22 loss to the Patriots.
The Texans also cut defensive back Shyheim Carter from the practice squad and signed center Cole Toner to the practice squad.
Primarily a special-teams contributor, Moore had only been active for one game this season and had zero catches until Sunday when he caught five passes for 109 yards. Having not scored a touchdown since the 2018 season with the Baltimore Ravens and owning just four previous touchdown catches until Sunday, Moore characterized this performance as definitely the best game of his career as a receiver.
To excel in a losing cause, though, left Moore with a bittersweet feeling.
“It sucks,” Moore said. “On one note, you are happy for yourself, but this is a team game. So, all them stats, all that stuff doesn’t really matter because we still took the L.”
Nonetheless, what Moore did was impressive and gave the Texans an athletic downfield option with Danny Amendola sidelined with a strained hamstring.
“He played phenomenal, obviously stepped up,” Texans rookie quarterback Davis Mills said. “Had that huge catch in the first half. That was a big play. Kind of got the momentum rolling and made some other big-time catches and blocks throughout the game.”
Moore’s score in the second quarter boosted the Texans’ lead to 12-6, but he also dropped a potential touchdown pass on an accurate throw from Mills.
“That was just me,” Moore said. “I think I had too much speed and momentum. I just dropped the play. That’s the play I wish I got back that I left on the field. That one hurts me.”
Moore had a strong feeling this week that he might be called upon because Amendola was limited all week in practice and Anthony Miller was cut from the roster.
“Some time throughout the week, I figured I might have my opportunity,” Moore said. “You never know for sure because the roster is always fluctuating, but I just figured stay ready. Whenever they called my name, I was ready to play.
“Jus won my matchups. (Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly) called some great plays that gave me the opportunity to make some great plays. I’m mad I left some stuff on the field. I wish I could have done more, but Davis Mills, you keep seeing him get better. I was just excited to go out and make some plays for him.”
Moore and Mills built some timing and chemistry during practice this week to prepare for Sunday.
“Luckily, this week I was able to get some one-on-ones with him,” Moore said. “You do as much as you can. I study. I know everything I’m supposed to do. It doesn’t matter what position they throw me at. I’m just prepared for my opportunity.”
The Texans blew a prime opportunity to halt their losing streak. Instead, they dropped to 1-4 and extended their slide to four defeats in a row since a season-opening win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“I mean we had the game, we just shot ourselves in the foot too many times that second half,” Moore said. “We just have to continue to fight, continue to just finish games and I think this is definitely something we can build on for sure.”