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Texans win overtime thriller

Posted Sep 15, 2013

WATCH GAME HIGHLIGHTS HERE

Rookie DeAndre Hopkins caught the game-winning touchdown, a three-yard pass from Matt Schaub, in overtime to give Houston a 30-24 win over the Tennessee Titans. Hopkins ended his second NFL game with 6 catches for 114 yards, the second highest receiving total for a rookie in franchise history. 

“It was a team effort,” Hopkins said after the game. “I wouldn’t have been able to get the job done without my teammates.”

Andre Johnson left the game with just over 2 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter after a hit by Bernard Pollard. Johnson, who had eight receptions for 76 yards, was checked for concussion symptoms after the game.

"He's being evaluated as we speak," head coach Gary Kubiak said Sunday. "Obviously, he went in. But that's how he's being evaluated. I have no diagnosis yet."

Randy Bullock, who kicked the game-winning 41-yard field goal at San Diego, missed two 50-yarders in the first half. Following two timeouts called by Tennessee to ice him, Bullock narrowly missed a 46-yarder as time expired. The field goal would have won the game in regulation, but bounced off the left upright sending the game into overtime.

"The last one, obviously he's got to make that and close the game out," Kubiak said. "He's a young player, and you don't want to look at that type of start as a young kicker. But we do have confidence in him. I think he's got plenty of leg. He's kicking off well. Obviously, he had a chance to go 2-for-2 in game winners, and that can really help your confidence. So, he's got to bounce back. He's got to be a pro and bounce back. He's our kicker and we have confidence in him to do that."

Matt Schaub was 26-of-48 for 298 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions. Arian Foster and Ben Tate ran for a combined 172 yards. Tate led with 93 yards on 9 carries. Foster scored the lone rushing touchdown, a one-yard score, as well as a successful two-point conversion to tie the game 24-24 with 1:56 remaining in the fourth quarter.

“I felt like I took a step in the right direction," Foster said. "I’m still rusty out there. I missed a couple of plays that I normally make. But that just comes with it. You have to knock the rust off and the only way to do that is get in there and bang.”

Both teams put points on the board early, scoring on 80-yard opening drives. Matt Schaub connected with Garrett Graham for a one-yard touchdown, following a career-high 60-yard gain by Tate on the drive.

Kendall Wright scored first for the Titans on a six-yard pass from Jake Locker. Tennessee would not score again until their last drive of the half, the result of a Houston turnover. Matt Schaub’s pass, intended for Andre Johnson, was intercepted by Bernard Pollard with 1:35 remaining in the second quarter. The interception set up a Rob Bironas field goal for 47 yards as time expired in the half. The Titans led 10-7 at halftime.

The Texans defense held the Titans to two consecutive three-and-out drives to open the second half.  Head coach Gary Kubiak threw down the red flag in the third quarter, challenging a play which initially ruled Chris Johnson down at Tennessee’s one-yard line. The ruling was overturned, resulting in a Houston safety by inside linebacker Joe Mays on Johnson.

The Texans defense held the Tennessee to just four yards of total offense in the third quarter. Houston regained the lead when Schaub threw a 12-yard touchdown to Owen Daniels, catching a pass in his 87th consecutive regular season game.

“Matt (Schaub) made a perfect throw," Daniels said. "Something we talked about doing during the week, and Matt (threw) it in the only place he could. I did my best to catch it and get my feet in.”

 The Titans gained life in the fourth quarter, scoring 14 unanswered points. Locker orchestrated a nine-play, 99-yard drive that resulted in a 12-yard touchdown pass to tight end Delanie Walker. The Titans tied the game 16-16. Less than two minutes later, a miscommunication between Schaub and Hopkins resulted in a 23-yard pick-six by cornerback Alterraun Verner.

Hopkins then went on a 64-yard tear on three consecutive catches on the following drive. Schaub's 21-yard pass along the sideline to Andre Johnson's was first ruled incomplete. A second red flag challenge by Kubiak resulted in an overturned call that rewarded Houston with a first down on Tennessee's two-yard line. Johnson, who was injured on the play, jogged off the field but would not return to the game.

"It’s incredible," Kubiak said of the catch. "And probably the fact that Andre got nicked up on the play helped us.  Obviously, you’ve got to finish the total catch with the ball, but we got a chance to look at it over and over again, and obviously he was finished with the catch before they poked it out.  I thought it was a great job by the official, looking at it the right way.  And what a catch by Andre.  Like I said, the respect he was paid today, from a cover standpoint, I’ve been doing this a long time, and you don’t see that very often.  It was tremendous.”

After a one-yard touchdown run and a successful two-point conversion by Foster, Houston tied up the score 24-24. Hopkins 3-yard touchdown catch in overtime capped the seventh-consecutive win for the Texans in one-score games in the regular season.

“If it means winning at the end of the day, we will take this same type of game every single week," Schaub said. "It shows our resolve and our ability to handle diversity, good or bad as a football team. Just play the game. Go to the next play, good or bad. You have to move on. That is what football is all about. You’ve got to have a short term memory, and move to the next play.”

Brian Cushing came up with a career-high two-sack game for a loss of nine yards. He previously had a 1.5-sack game against Baltimore on December 13, 2010. Cushing led the defense with 11 tackles in the win. J.J. Watt also had two sacks, resulting in a net loss of 10 yards, two passes defensed, and finished the game with 5 tackles. Cushing, who already has 22 tackles on the season and one touchdown, said he always keeps track of his performance in a game.

“You know I always keep count in my head," Cushing said. "I know the number is always wrong, but I know what I have.  I always get jipped on a couple of tackles, but that’s OK.  Yeah, I count.  I’m a hungry football player.  I want to make all the plays.  I want to make all the tackles.  I think that the best ones do that kind of stuff.  It obviously motivates me, and it helps the team.  When I have big games; we play better as a team.  That’s what I’m here for.”

With the win, the Texans improve to a 2-0 record on the season and will head to Baltimore to face the (1-1) Ravens on Sunday.


Notes:

-The Texans improved to 4-7 all-time in overtime and won their third consecutive overtime game.

-The Texans set a new franchise record of 71,718 in paid attendance.

-Houston’s captains for the game were ILB Brian Cushing, WR Andre Johnson, P Shane Lechler, QB Matt Schaub and DE J.J. Watt.

-Defensive end Antonio Smith and inside linebacker Darryl Sharpton made their season debuts in Week 2 at Reliant Stadium.


Game Rewind: Houston Texans

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