Titans vs. Texans: Live Updates and Analysis

David Boclair

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans square off with first place in the AFC South at stake. The Titans have won six of their last seven. The Texans are coming off a loss to Denver but have not dropped two straight all season.

Records: Tennessee 8-5, Houston 8-5.

Series: Titans lead 18-16. The teams have split each of the last three seasons.

Inactives: Tennessee – WR Adam Humphries, CB Adoreé Jackson, LB Daren Bates, OLB Sharif Finch, OL Kevin Pamphile, DE Matt Dickerson and DT Isaiah Mack. Houston – WR Steven Mitchell Jr., WR Keke Coutee, S Mike Adams, CB Cornell Armstrong, RB Taiwan Jones, DE Joel Heath and NT Eddie Vanderdoes.

They said it: Tennessee defensive coordinator Dean Pees talks about the issues presented by Houston’s offense and, in particular, quarterback Deshaun Watson in the above video.

Weather: 45 degrees and overcast, wind is 4 mph from the southeast.

FIRST QUARTER

Texans will get the ball to start.

(9:28) Houston drives 54 yards in nine plays to the 10. Then, Kenny Vaccaro ends the threat with an interception on a pass intended for running back Carlos Hyde in the end zone. Vaccaro made a diving catch and landed out of bounds at the 1, which is where the Titans will start their opening possession. Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson was 4-4 for 35 yards before the pick.

(8:44) On second-and-7 from the 3, Ryan Tannehill hits A.J. Brown deep down the right sideline and it’s a 60-yard gain. Titans are in business.

(6:59) The drive stalls at the Houston 27 and Ryan Succop comes on to attempt a 45-yard field goal. It’s blocked. Former Titans defensive lineman Angelo Blackson made the play. Succop is now 1-for-6 on field goal attempts this season.

The score remains 0-0.

(5:04) Tennessee forces a punt. Kalif Raymond calls for a fair catch at the 16. Titans ball.

(4:06) Titans go three-and-out. Punt. Tannehill has thrown four straight incompletions since the big one to Brown (actually, Brown dropped one).

(3:58) After a false start penalty makes it first-and-15, Kamalei Correa sacks Deshaun Watson. Make it second-and-23.

(1:45) Texans fail to even make it back to the original line of scrimmage. They punt, and the Titans finally have reasonable field position – their own 24.

(0:00) End of the first quarter. Tennessee 0, Houston 0. Titans have 101 total yards to the Texans’ 72. Both offenses are 1-3 on third down. Tennessee has the only takeaway. Houston has the blocked field goal. Thus far, it’s been as competitive as you would expect for a first-place battle, if not necessarily thrilling.

SECOND QUARTER

(13:35) Derrick Henry with 27 yards on his first eight carries (a long of six), goes 23 yards to the Houston 20. He missed practice all week with a hamstring injury and doesn’t look like he’s at full speed, but he is certainly functional.

(10:46) A slot slant to Anthony Firkser on first-and-goal from the 5 ends up in the hands of Houston's Whitney Mercilus, who returns it 86 yards before Jonnu Smith forces him out of bounds. Houston ball at the Tennessee 12.

Brutal turn of events for the Titans.

(9:59) Houston 7, Tennessee 0. Two plays after the turnover Deshaun Watson finds Kenny Stills for a 12-yard touchdown pass. Scoring drive: 2 plays, 12 yards, 47 seconds.

For the 11th time this season, the Titans' opponent has scored first.

(3:14) Houston 14, Tennessee 0. A face mask penalty on Tremaine Brock when he had stopped Will Fuller on third down extended the drive, and Houston took advantage. Kenny Stills with another touchdown catch, this one from 16 yards, extends Houston’s lead. Scoring drive: 9 plays, 72 yards, 4:35.

Stills had four catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns for Miami against the Titans in Week 1 last season.

 (1:59) Two-minute warning. Ryan Tannehill is just 5-11 for 105 yards. The Titans have 174 yards of total offense, nearly half of which have come from two plays – A.J Brown’s 60-yard reception and Derrick Henry’s 23-yard run.

(1:08) Fake punt from the Texans’ 38 doesn’t work. Brett Kern’s pass to Dane Cruickshank is well-covered and broken up.

Texans have a chance to add to their lead before the half.

End of the first half. Titans trail 14-0. They were inside Houston’s 40 three times and come away with nothing. They get the ball to start the second half and need to get going early. … Ryan Tannehill’s passer rating in that half was 45.6. Four of his seven completions (and seven of his 16 targets) were to A.J. Brown, who has a game-high 82 receiving yards.

THIRD QUARTER

Titans start with the ball.

(11:19) Two A.J. Brown third-down receptions have the Titans on the move and across midfield. Brown now has 102 yards on six catches.

(5:34) Houston 14, Tennessee 7. It took a naked bootleg to the left by Ryan Tannehill on fourth-and-goal from the 1, but the Titans finally are on the board. The offense was stopped three times from the 2 but got the payoff on a long (and we mean LONG) drive to start the second half. Scoring drive: 15 plays, 76 yards, 9:26.

Tannehill now has four rushing touchdowns on 37 carries this season. He had six on 248 carries during his years in Miami.

(0:39) Turnabout is fair play. On second-and-goal from the 4, Jeffery Simmons bats a pass at the line and Jayon Brown intercepts it. There is no long return with his one but Tennessee has the ball at its own 20 and an opportunity to tie.

(0:00) End of the third quarter. Titans had the ball for 10:05 of the third on one possession plus one play.

FOURTH QUARTER

(13:35) Tennessee 14, Houston 14. A 57-yard catch-and-run by Jonnu Smith and a bad call against the Texans (unnecessary roughness) lead to A.J. Brown’s 5-yard touchdown catch. Scoring drive: 6 plays, 80 yards, 2:04.

Derrick Henry has 20 carries for 85 yards. A.J. Brown has 114 yards and a touchdown on eight catches. Ryan Tannehill now 15-26 for 187 yards, one touchdown and one interception. It’s a far cry from earlier in the season when it was not clear who were the Titans’ primary weapons on offense.

(10:34) Houston 21, Tennessee 14. The Texans respond. A 35-yard reception by DeAndre Hopkins and a 12-yard Deshaun Watson scramble on third-and-8 were the big moments. Carlos Hyde capped it with a 10-yard touchdown run. Scoring drive: 7 plays, 75 yards, 3:01.

Can the Titans answer?

(9:03) They cannot. Texans pressure Tannehill on consecutive plays and get their first sack of the day on the second, which forces a punt. … Good news is that punt takes a nice bounce and rolls dead at the Houston 9.

(3:49) Tennessee uses its first timeout. Houston is at the Titans’ 7, first-and-goal.

(3:45) Tennessee uses its second timeout. Houston is at the Titans' 6, second-and-goal.

(3:39) Tennessee uses its final timeout. Houston is at the Titans' 6, third-and-goal.

(3:31) Deshaun Watson throws it away on third down. Texans will attempt a field goal.

(3:31) Houston is called for delay of game. The field goal attempt moves back five yards.

(3:26) Houston 24, Tennessee 14. DeAndre Hopkins was quiet through the first three quarters but has asserted himself in the fourth. On this drive, he had catches of 35 and 25 yards, respectively, in a span of three plays. The 29-yard field goal makes it a two-score game. Scoring drive: 12 plays, 80 yards, 5:20.

(2:04) Houston 24, Tennessee 21. The drive started with three straight completions to Jonnu Smith for 33 yards and ended with Dion Lewis’ 11-yard touchdown catch. Scoring drive: 7 plays, 75 yards, 1:22.

(2:03) Titans fail to recover the onside kick. They get the benefit of the two-minute warning for a timeout, but the defense can’t surrender a first down here.

(0:17) The Texans run it three times, take a delay of game penalty and then punt. The Titans have the ball at their own 12 with no timeouts. It will take something spectacular just to get into field goal range.

(0:00) Tannehill is sacked on first down and then spikes the ball on second. Officials rule the game clock ran out by the time the spike was complete. Game over.

PARTING THOUGHT

The chances of winning the division title just got significantly harder because Houston is assured of a better division record. It’s time for the Titans to focus on the wild card and trying to finish one game ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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