Sean Pendergast

The Anthology of Texans Safety Justin Reid, Red Zone Problem Solver

Justin Reid has been the rock of this Texans secondary for the last two seasons.
Justin Reid has been the rock of this Texans secondary for the last two seasons. Photo by Eric Sauseda
You don't often see seemingly competent general managers relieved of their duties barely a year into the job, but that's exactly what happened back in June with Texans general manager Brian Gaine. He was fired in early June, the Texans took a run at replacing him with the Patriots' Nick Caserio, struck out, and now personnel is run by a consortium of individuals, headed up by one other than the head coach, Bill O'Brien.

We don't know exactly what caused the Texans to sour on Gaine, and we may never know the full truth. On the surface, Gaine did some very good things, and his most suspect moves were probably the ones he DIDN'T make, like sitting on over $40 million of salary cap space while teams around the Texans in the standings were all making significant improvements.

It is inarguable, however, that when the book on Brian Gaine is fully closed, once all of his moves have either panned out or not, that the selection of safety Justin Reid with the 68th overall pick in the 2018 draft will likely be his masterpiece. Not even two seasons in, Reid already has the swagger and savvy of a veteran leader, and the productivity to match.

In fact, on Sunday, for the fourth time in his career by my count, Reid made a game changing play around the Texans' goal line to either alter a game, or preserve a win. So let's relive the magic of Texans' safety Justin Reid, who when it comes to solving problems for the Texans in the shadows of their own goalposts, is basically like The Wolf from "Pulp Fiction." He fixes things.

Here are the four plays, in chronological order...

2018, WEEK 11: at Washington
Washington with 3rd-Goal at the HOU 9, 2:23 left in 2Q, HOU leading 10-7
THE OUTCOME: This play gave the Texans a 17-7 lead, swung the game by 14 points potentially, and gave the Texans enough cushion to hold on by a final score of 23-21. The Texans moved to 7-3 on the season, and would win two more games after this to set a franchise record with a nine game winning streak.

2018, WEEK 13: vs Cleveland
Cleveland with 3rd-12 at their own 23 yard line, 3:55 left in 3Q, HOU leading 26-7
THE OUTCOME: At this point in the game, the only thing that could get Cleveland back into the fray was a big play or two. Had Callaway closed the deal and crossed the goal line, now the Browns would have had some life, and been down two scores with over a quarter remaining. This play by Reid extinguished any chance at a Browns comeback

2019, WEEK: vs Jacksonville
Jacksonville trailing 13-12, 0:30 left in 4Q, attempting 2-point conversion for the win
THE OUTCOME: Credit D.J. Reader for blowing up the backfield on that play, but also credit Reid for sticking to his assignment. In the postgame show that afternoon, he was my guest, and he said that his sole assignment was to follow Fournette wherever he went, which apparently includes stifling him at the goal line. Reid's tackle saved the Texans from an embarrassing loss to a rookie QB, Gardner Minshew, in his first start, and saved Bill O'Brien from the wolves circling around him amidst what could have been an 0-2 start.

2019, WEEK 15: at Tennessee
Scoreless tie, TEN with the ball, 1st-Goal at HOU 5, 11:01 left in 2Q
THE OUTCOME: The Titans felt like they were getting things cranked up on this drive, as Derrick Henry's longest run of the day (23 yards) set them up on the cusp of scoring here. A 7-0 lead for the Titans would have allowed them to stay on their desired play script of pounding Henry and play action. Instead, the Texans not only turn the Titans over, but flip the field on Mercilus' return, and score a few moments later to go up 7-0 themselves! Reid made this happen!

And as if you couldn't feel any better about the team's future at safety, listen to Justin Reid describe his diagnosis of the play.....
Again, I don't know precisely what got Brian Gaine fired, but I'm glad he was around to send in Justin Reid's name as the 68th overall pick in the 2018 draft. I hate to think where the Texans' defense would be without him.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at and like him on Facebook at
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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts the morning drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the pre-game and post game shows for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast