TEXANS 34, TITANS 17

The Texans made a prime-time statement in 34-17 victory

The Texans defense sacked Marcus Mariota six times. Tim Warner/Getty Images

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.

 

A cheat sheet for success

Houston Roughnecks: a game day survival guide

The XFL is back. Photo by Paul Muth

Don't worry guys, I made it.

I'm six days removed from surviving the Houston Roughnecks' inaugural XFL game against the Los Angeles Wildcats. I've had time to process the moment, and I've come to an important conclusion:

The XFL is Muth-Approved.

The pace was better, the scoring was exciting, and the atmosphere in TDECU was absolutely electric. Who knows if it will carry over to this weekend, but one thing that's for sure is that I'll be there to find out. If you're planning on coming out this Sunday, here's a survival guide to help you enjoy week 2.

Parking

Here's a pro-tip: don't. Only park if you plan on tailgating. The METRORail can drop you off right in front of the stadium. The cheat code if you aren't tailgating is to park for free out in East Downtown (or EaDo, for the hipsters) and pregame at any number of the bars located around BBVA Stadium. The METRORail is free on game days, so hop on the purple line heading south and it'll drop you off in front the stadium within 15 minutes.

If you have to park, the cheapest lots are 9B and 9C for $25 and can be found at the corner of Cullen and Wheeler. All of the parking is close to the stadium, but because they only have a few lots open at the moment, congestion is terrible. It took about 30 minutes to get in and 30 more to leave out of 9C last weekend, so plan appropriately. Otherwise, make your family proud and tailgate like a true American.

Tailgating

Now if you plan on using the parking lots as they were intended, here's what you need to know. The tailgating lots are 9B and 9C (again, on the corner of Wheeler and Cullen). You can get there up to four hours before the game, and the same rules for Texans and UH Football games apply. Get there early and find a spot that backs up to Cullen Boulevard and you'll have plenty of grass and trees to set up under.

Inside the stadium

Personally, my cell phone reception was awful, so if you have digital tickets make sure you have them pulled up before you get to the gate. If you're looking to buy any merch, I recommend getting in a line at least 30 minutes prior to kickoff. The lines for everything were pretty awful. I had one buddy tell me it took him the entire first quarter to get a hoodie. If you're looking for beer, your best bet is to bring a bunch of cash and just walk around until you find an aisle vendor. They were so busy last weekend, they didn't have to move.

So to recap:

  • Don't park unless you're tailgating.
  • Tailgate up against Cullen.
  • Bring cash money.

Oh, and be loud. Like, really loud.

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