Weeden, Texans closer to AFC South with 34-6 rout of Titans
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Houston can clinch the AFC South title and a playoff berth Monday night if Cincinnati wins at Denver. The Texans prefer to focus only on their regular season finale.
A division title is nice. Going into the postseason with both a victory and a winning record would be even better.
The Texans routed the Titans 34-6 on Sunday, putting them closer to the AFC South title. Indianapolis beat Miami 18-12 to keep the Texans from clinching outright, but Houston could win the division on a strength-of-victory tiebreaker if Cincinnati wins.
''I'm sure I'll check it out here and there, but quite frankly it really doesn't matter what anybody else does,'' Texans defensive end J.J. Watt said. ''We go out there, we win next week, that's all that matters.''
The Texans (8-7) assured themselves of at least a .500 finish pending their game with Jacksonville despite starting their fourth quarterback this season in Brandon Weeden.
Tennessee (3-12) finishes with only one win at home this season after losing receiver Kendall Wright to an injured left knee and left tackle Taylor Lewan to a possible concussion in the first half. The Titans also turned it over four times, which Houston turned into 17 points.
''Just frustrated,'' Titans quarterback Zach Mettenberger said. ''We are a better team than what we have shown a lot this year.''
Here are some things to know about the Texans' big win over Tennessee:
WEEDEN'S PERFORMANCE: A week ago, Weeden came off the bench and led the Texans to their first win in Indianapolis to take over the AFC South lead. He started for the fourth time this season Sunday and won after losing all three starts in place of injured Tony Romo in Dallas before being released last month. Weeden became the first quarterback in Texans' history to run for a touchdown and throw for two more.
Not bad for a quarterback discarded by both Cleveland and Dallas.
''It feels good, I'm more excited for this team,'' Weeden said. ''We just keep plugging. It's fun to be a part of a team like that.''
HOYER STILL TEXANS' STARTER: The Texans scratched Brian Hoyer for a second straight week as the quarterback recovers from his second concussion this month, giving Weeden the start against Tennessee. Houston coach Bill O'Brien said Hoyer remains his starter. Asked if he might rest Hoyer against Jacksonville to prepare for the playoffs, O'Brien said only that the Texans need to play to win.
BETTER PROTECTION: The Texans sacked Mettenberger only once Sunday, a big improvement from Nov. 1 when Houston took the Titans quarterback down seven times. Watt sacked Mettenberger and stripped him of the ball in the fourth quarter. The Texans still hit Mettenberger seven other times as Houston held Tennessee to 257 yards total offense.
HOPKINS' DAY: DeAndre Hopkins caught seven passes for 117 yards and a touchdown despite working with yet another quarterback this season. Hopkins said he sees the revolving quarterbacks as a challenge for himself.
''That's the kind of player I am,'' Hopkins said. ''I think the guys they've brought in are high-IQ football guys, so it hasn't been frustrating. They got me to the Pro Bowl, so it's definitely not frustrating at all.''
METT AGAIN?: Titans rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota sat out this game recovering from a sprained right knee, and he is scheduled to be re-evaluated Monday to see if he has healed enough to play in the season finale at Indianapolis. Mettenberger said he believes he'll get a chance to play and is looking forward to playing the Colts.
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