TEXANS 34, TITANS 17
The Texans made a prime-time statement in 34-17 victory
After a three-and-out to start the game, the Texans put their foot on the gas and ran all over the Titans in prime-time for a 34-17 home victory less than a week after owner Robert C. McNair passed away. They have reeled off eight consecutive victories and notched a crucial divisional win in a tight AFC playoff race.
Tonight’s victory was the kind of team win Houston needed heading into the final stretch of the season. Offensively, they ran the ball exceptionally well against a Titans defense that was averaging 3.9 yards per rush coming into the game, finishing the night with 282 yards. Lamar Miller exploded to the tune of 162 yards and a touchdown on just 12 carries, 97 of them coming on a touchdown run in the second quarter. It was Houston’s third consecutive touchdown drive, giving them 21 unanswered points after Tennessee took a 10-0 lead in the 1st quarter.
He wasn’t the only one to have a big night on the ground. Deshaun Watson ran the ball nine times for 70 yards and a touchdown, including a big 34-yard run in the 4th quarter that led to his second passing touchdown. He also had a great night throwing the ball, finishing with a 130.9 passer rating on 19-of-24 for 210 yards and two touchdown passes. He spread the ball around to nine different receivers, with DeAndre Hopkins and Demaryius Thomas getting the most receptions.
Thomas scored his first two touchdowns in a Texans uniform to go along with his four catches for 38 yards. Hopkins continues to be Watson’s favorite target, finishing with five receptions for 74-yards. He now has 73 catches for 1,024 yards and eight touchdowns this season.
Not to be outdone, the Texans defense made sure that when Houston got the lead they never relinquished it. They were unable to force any turnovers until a fumble with thirty seconds left in the game; but they sacked Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota six times for minus 43 yards, disrupting any rhythm he thought he had. Mariota did have some big plays in the passing game - his two touchdowns were 61 yards and 48 yards - but only threw for 195 yards otherwise.
The biggest sequence in the game happened in the second quarter. With Houston leading only 14-10 the Titans drove down to the Houston 3-yard line. Titans head coach Mike Vrabel chose to go for it on 4th-and-1 and handed the ball to tight end Luke Stocker for no gain and a turnover on downs. The very next play was Miller’s long touchdown and the momentum swung fully toward the Texans for the rest of the game.
This was a statement win for Houston as they maintain a two-game lead in the division against the surging Indianapolis Colts. Their 8-3 record currently places them in the third seed with a Week 14 home game against the Colts as their only matchup against an opponent with a winning record.