Despite obtaining three first downs between the 4:43 mark of the second quarter and taking the ball at its own 1-yard line with 13:26 left in the game, the Titans mounted a nine-play, 99-yard drive that ended with a 10-yard TD pass from
The Titans opted to throw their way out of the bad field position after trying to run out of their end zone resulted in a safety on the previous possession. Locker hit
The drive also included a 14-yard completion from Locker to
“The game was right there for us to have,” Titans coach Mike Munchak said. “I think that they learned that, you know what, it doesn’t matter if the game is back and forth, you could be playing great or be playing poorly then all of a sudden, we have the type of team that is going to give us a chance to win at the end, and they continued to make plays and we didn’t.”
Tennessee’s defense responded to taking the lead with
The Titans forced consecutive incompletions by Schaub on attempts to rookie first-round pick DeAndre Hopkins before
Tennessee got the ball back with 4:08 on the clock and tried to go into its four-minute offense that is run-heavy with the purpose of running out the clock. Houston stopped Chris Johnson and
The Texans tied the game with 1:53 left on a short TD run and two-point conversion run by Arian Foster, and Tennessee got the ball at its own 20 but Locker’s short pass on third-and-1 was too high for Britt to secure, forcing the ball back to the Texans, who mounted a drive in a minute to have a shot at a game-winning kick by Randy Bullock. The attempt that counted, however, hit the left upright, forcing overtime. Houston won the toss and didn’t give the Titans a chance by scoring a touchdown on third down with a short pass from Schaub to Hopkins. Had Tennessee forced a field goal on the opening possession, the Titans would have received an offensive possession to try to match it or score a touchdown for the win.
“We’ve got to close games out,” said Titans safety
VERNER’S FIRST PICK 6: The interception by Verner was his second in as many weeks and first of his four-year career that he returned for a touchdown.
The Titans were in man-to-man coverage on the play that Verner intercepted in Pittsburgh but were in a zone defense against the Texans.
“I was able to keep my eyes on the quarterback, and I was able to break downhill and make a play on the ball,” Verner said. “Overall, we played well but we did not play well enough. That is a good team out there and you cannot leave plays out there.”
JOHNSON REACHES MORE MILESTONES: Titans running back Chris Johnson rushed 25 times for 96 yards and caught one pass for a yard.
Johnson became the third player in Titans/Oilers franchise history to reach 7,000 career rushing yards, joinng Eddie George (10,009 rushing yards) and Earl Campbell (8,574). The sixth-year pro also moved into fourth place on the franchise’s all-time list for career net yards by moving ahead of Ernest Givins (8,704 yards). George (12,153), Derrick Mason (11,202) and Campbell (9,292) are ahead of Johnson (8,730).
TOE-TO-TOE: Munchak metaphorically said the Titans went “toe-to-toe” with the two-time defending division champ Texans, but that was quite figural for the punting battle between the Titans’
Kern punted eight times for 382 yards, averaging 47.8 yards per punt, which was just under Lechler’s 48.3 average on seven punts. When combined with the work of the coverage team, Kern’s net average of 46.6 per punt, however, was almost four yards better than Lechler’s 42.9.
Rookies Gooden, Schwenke and Edwards, along with Dawson, were also inactive at Pittsburgh.
For the Texans, Ed Reed was the only starter who was inactive. Houston also deactivated QB Case Keenum, T Andrew Gardner, G Cody White, DE Tim Jamison and rookies Cierre Wood at running back and defensive end Sam Montgomery, a teammate of Tennessee’s Edwards at LSU.