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Texans Receive Early Christmas Gifts From Sloppy Titans

The Houston Texans' defense impressed as they beat the Tennessee Titans 22-13.

Against all the odds in the pouring rain, the Houston Texans (2-8) came out on top against the Tennessee Titans (8-3), 22-13, ending their eight-game losing streak.

The key to their unexpected victory? Lovie Smith's opportunistic defense that created four takeaways in Tennessee's five-turnover game.

Houston allowed Titans' quarterback Ryan Tannehill 35 completions on 52 attempts for 323 yards and one touchdown, but stayed in control of the NFL's biggest upset of the season with the four interceptions. The four picks are the most in Tannehill's career.

The first interception came via linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill who has been one of their standout defenders this season. The former Miami Dolphin returned Tannehill's third-down attempt at Houston's 18-yard line for 82-yards, setting up an eventual Texans field goal and a quick 6-0 lead.

Both of Houston's second and third interceptions were by cornerback Desmond King, a former Titan himself. These were his first interceptions since his sole All-Pro season back in 2018 when a member of the LA Chargers.

His first interception came at a crucial time for the Texans at their own one-yard line. Meanwhile, Houston went on to score a field goal off the back of his second interception after a 25-yard return.

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Cornerback Terrance Mitchell subsequently ended the game for Tennessee with his fourth-quarter interception on the Titans' final meaningful drive, returning it for 22-yards.

In total, including a specialteams play fumble recovery by Tremon Smith, the Texans had five takeaways for the second straight game.

But it wasn't just their takeaways that impressed. 

Despite missing their sack leader Jonathan Greenard, the Texans still notched two sacks thanks to fellow young defensive linemen Jacob Martin and Ross Blacklock. The defense as a whole had seven defended passes and five tackles for a loss.

They had two impressive fourth-down stops thanks to Grugier-Hill, Justin Reid, and Eric Murray. 

Overall, despite Tennessee racking up 420 yards of offense, Houston held them to just 13 points on 12 offensive drives.

It may not have been pretty, but a win is a win. Next up: The 2-8 New York Jets.