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Titans, Texans to Clash in Early AFC South Contest

Posted Sep 9, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Titans (1-0) travel to Houston this week for a clash with the reigning AFC South Champion Texans (1-0) at Reliant Stadium Sunday at noon, CT.

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THE BROADCAST

This week’s game will be televised regionally on CBS, including Nashville affiliate WTVF NewsChannel 5.  Kevin Harlan will handle play-by-play duties while Solomon Wilcots provides analysis.

The Titans Radio Network, including Nashville flagship 104.5 The Zone, will broadcast the game across the Mid-South with the “Voice of the Titans” Mike Keith, analyst Frank Wycheck, sideline reporter Cody Allison and gameday host Larry Stone.

TITANS WIN OPENER AT PITTSBURGH

The Titans opened the regular season last week at Pittsburgh, where they rode a stubborn defense and a ball-control offense to a 16-9 victory over the Steelers.

After giving up a rare safety on the opening kickoff to fall behind 2-0, the Titans did not allow another Steelers point until less than two minutes remained in the fourth quarter.  The Steelers did not cross midfield from the eight-minute mark in the first quarter until there were less than four minutes remaining in the game.  During that time, the Titans defense sacked Ben Roethlisberger five times, led by defensive tackle Jurrell Casey and linebacker Zach Brown with two each.  Cornerback Alterraun Verner recorded an interception, and linebacker Moise Fokou notched a fumble recovery to help the Titans finish plus-two in turnover ratio.

Meanwhile, the Titans offense moved methodically, churning out 112 rushing yards on 42 carries.  Chris Johnson led the unit with 25 rushing attempts for 70 yards, while Jackie Battle had eight carries for 21 yards, including Tennessee’s only touchdown, a three-yard score in the second quarter.

Titans quarterback Jake Locker was asked to pass the ball only 20 times.  His 11 completions resulted in 125 yards, and the third-year signal caller avoided throwing an interception against a defense that ranked first overall and first against the pass in the NFL in 2012.

TEXANS WIN OPENER AT SAN DIEGO 

Matt Schaub threw all three of his touchdown passes to tight ends Owen Daniels and Garrett Graham, while hooking up with wide receiver Andrew Johnson for 12 catches and 146 yards as Houston rallied from 21 points down to stun the Chargers 31-28 Monday night in San Diego. Randy Bullock kicked a 41-yard field goal as time expired after Schaub engineered a late drive for the Texans.

Led by Gary Kubiak, who enters his eighth season as head coach, the Texans are coming off their second consecutive AFC South title, and their 12 wins in 2012 set a new franchise record.

Last year’s squad was ranked seventh in the NFL in total offense, eighth in rushing and 11th in passing.  The group is spearheaded by quarterback Matt Schaub, in his sixth season with the Texans, topped 4,000 yards passing for the third time in his career and garnered his second career Pro Bowl selection.

Schaub’s top targets once again include wide receiver Andre Johnson, who became the fifth active player and the third-fastest NFL player in history to reach 11,000 receiving yards (11,254) in 2012.  Also, former University of Tennessee running back Arian Foster earned his third consecutive Pro Bowl appearance with 1,411 rushing yards and an NFL-best 15 rushing touchdowns in 2012.

Likewise, the Texans defense produced a seventh-overall ranking in the NFL in 2012.  One of the unit’s primary cogs is defensive end J.J. Watt, the 2012 Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year.  Watt became the ninth player in NFL history to reach 20 sacks (20.5) in a season in 2012, and he added 16 passes defensed, the league record for the most in a season by a defensive lineman.

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