Titans 42, Texans 36, OT
5 observations from the Titans win over the Texans
The unbeaten Tennessee Titans came into Sunday's game appearing to be vulnerable. They were coming off their biggest win of the season on a short week after a long Covid layoff. Even though it was a division opponent, the Texans were 1-4 and hard to get up for. It had all ear marks of a trap game.
It was a trap, indeed, but the Titans escaped it, scoring with four seconds left to tie it, then scoring a touchdown to win an overtime thriller 42-36.
The Texans came up with big plays in all phases, and nearly stole a win from a team that was clearly better than they were. The loss drops the Texans to 1-5, while the Titans remained unbeaten. Five observations from the game:
1) J.J. Watt can still change a game. Watt came up with a huge sack fumble in the third quarter to set up the Texans for a score that gave them the lead. Watt also made some big plays in the run game. Watt is still the best player on the Texans defense, getting double teamed and held almost every play, yet he still has an impact. His play almost helped them win it.
2) The running game is still a problem on both sides of the ball. The Texans were always going to struggle to stop Derrick Henry, and they lived down to expectations. Henry had 212 yards on 20 carries and the Titans ran for 263 yards and an average of 9.7 per carry, including a 94-yard run. It's hard to win games when you allow that kind of running. The Texans, meanwhile ran the ball OK (27 for 92 yards), but were never able to stay consistent. The run game set up play action for Tennessee, and the Titans were able to move the ball easily throughout.
3) Uncharacteristic mistakes almost cost the Titans. Tennessee doesn't turn the ball over or have a lot of negative plays. Sunday, they had several. The sack fumble led to a score. They had a field goal blocked and another chippy missed. An interference call set up a touchdown. A Ryan Tannehill interception on a deep ball they did not need to throw. A 12 men on the field penalty late in the game. Those are the kinds of things you would expect from the 1-4 team. That the Titans were able to overcome that says a lot about how good they are.
4) Romeo Crennel showed some guts. Twice on the final drive, he went for it on fourth down, including fourth and goal. He also went for two with 1:50 left and the Texans up seven. It failed, but he had a chance to end the game right there. At least he played to win, but that is a decision that will be debated endlessly.
5) Deshaun Watson had one of his best games in a while. Watson was 28 of 37 for 335 yards and four touchdowns and no interceptions. He was sacked twice, but he came up with clutch play after clutch play. The Texans needed every one of them, and it was not quite enough.
The bottom line: The Titans were sloppy, which gave Houston a chance to win. The Texans were not able to pull it off, but they should be encouraged by the offense. The defense continues to be a nightmare against the run, and there does not appear to be any help in sight. At 1-5, any hopes of salvaging this season are slipping away.