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Texans tumble at Tennessee in season finale

Posted Dec 29, 2013

The Texans fall 16-10 to the Titans to end the 2013 season with a 14-game losing streak.

The Texans fell 16-10 to the Titans in the final game of 2013. It was the 14th consecutive loss, and at 2-14, Houston will pick first in the 2014 NFL Draft.

"We finished up just like the rest of our season basically," interim head coach Wade Phillips said. "We headed into half time. I thought we were going to be able to shut them down, but we turned the ball over a quite bit. That’s the difference in the ball game."

Matt Schaub started for Case Keenum, who was inactive due to a right thumb injury. Schaub completed 22-of-34 for 229 yards, but was picked off twice and lost a fumble as well on a center exchange. He finisehd with a 59.6 passer rating, and detailed a few of the reasons the Texans were unable to close the season on a winning note.

"Situational football, turning it over, giving teams opportunities, penalties, not staying on the field on third down, not getting off the field sometimes on third down, and just so many things" Schaub said. "We did have some injuries, but those are part of the game and you have to overcome those. It is just a multitude of things that we have to go back and look at both as a team and as individuals."

The Texans, depleted by injuries, saw running back Johnathan Grimes start his first game. Tight end Phillip Supernaw made his debut on special teams. Jeff Tarpinian started his second game this season for inside linebacker Joe Mays, inactive with a knee injury.

Grimes led the offense in both rushing and receiving yards, and scored the only touchdown of the game. He finished with 16 carries for 50 yards plus six receptions for 76 yards.

Houston gained 178 yards of net offense and 13 first downs in the first half but struggled in the second half.  After a touchdown on their first possession of the game, the Texans remained scoreless until the fourth quarter as the Titans put up 16 unanswered points. Houston committed four turnovers and forced one, an interception by Brice McCain.

On their opening drive, Schaub led the offense down the field on a nine-play, 63-yard drive. He completed all four of his passes before handing off to Grimes for his first career NFL touchdown on a 3-yard run.  The Texan were staked to a 7-0 advantage, but would not score again until less than three minutes remained in the game.

Rob Bironas was the lone scorer for the Titans in the first half, kicking a pair of field goals from 42 and 55 yards. He made a 55-yard attempt with 0:04 remaining in the second quarter, and the Texans held a 7-6 halftime lead.

Each team had a turnover in the first half, but neither could convert it into points. Grimes fumbled, giving Tennessee possession at its own 29-yard line. Six plays later, Fitzpatrick threw an interception. Antonio Smith’s hit on Ryan Fitzpatrick resulted in a wobbly pass that was intercepted by McCain.

Houston’s first possession of the second half ended in its second turnover of the game. Schaub’s pass, intended for Ryan Griffin, bounced off Bernard Pollard’s facemask before it was intercepted by linebacker Akeem Ayers.

The Titans took their first lead of the contest following the interception. Chris Johnson’s 11-yard run capped a seven-play, 35-yard drive. Tennessee led 13-7 with 5:39 remaining in the third quarter.

The Texans turned the ball over a third time when Schaub fumbled a fourth quarter snap from Chris Myers. Bironas added his third field goal of the day, a 37-yarder, to extend the Titans’ lead 16-7 with 10:44 remaining in the game.

Randy Bullock finished off his first full season with his twelfth-consecutive field goal, a 19-yarder at the end of an 8-play, 89-yard drive. Grimes added a 31-yard gain off a short pass from Schaub on the series. The Texans trailed 16-10 with 2:50 remaining in the game.

Schaub threw his second interception of the day on the final series, a pass up the middle of the field intended for Keshawn Martin. The Titans took over with 1:06 remaining and Fitzpatrick ended the game in victory formation.

"I’m just glad what we went through this season is over," Andre Johnson said. "I enjoy playing football, but what we went through this season as a team, I wouldn’t wish that on anybody to experience it. I’m happy that part of it is over."

Notes
- J.J. Watt earned a sack in the third quarter. With 10.5 in 2013, Watt became just the second player in team history to have back-to-back seasons with 10-plus sacks.

- Johnson, who caught 6 passes for 49 yards, finishes his fourth season with at least 100 receptions and 1,400 yards. He surpasses Jerry Rice and tying Marvin Harrison to become the only players to record four such season.

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