NASHVILLE – Texans defensive end Antonio Smith almost had a career highlight on Sunday. Almost.
In the second quarter, Smith recovered a fumble forced by J.J. Watt at the Houston 37-yard line. He raced the other way, eluding Titans quarterback Jake Locker as he made a beeline for the end zone. It was a sure touchdown, only it wasn't. The play was ruled dead where Smith recovered the ball because a referee blew his whistle, even though Smith was never close to being down.
"I think I was robbed, because that would've been the greatest play ever in my life," Smith said at his locker after the game, laughing before answering a question about the play. "It felt good getting in the end zone, especially when I was making those Chris Johnson-type cuts, stiff-arming, then I pull out the 4.5 (speed). It wasn't 4.2 today. It was just 4.5."
The Texans were on the other end of an officiating gaffe last week. Running back Justin Forsett scored an 81-yard touchdown on a play on which he was brought down after an eight-yard gain. A whistle never blew, so Forsett kept running to the end zone and was awarded a touchdown. The play would have been overturned by replays, but Lions coach Jim Schwartz challenged the ruling, which nullified the possibility of the play being reviewed.
Smith had that play in mind as he dashed to the end zone on Sunday, even after it was apparent that the play was blown dead.
"I thought that maybe I could use my ninja mind tricks," he said. "That's why I was standing in the end zone with my hands up. I was thinking, 'Maybe I can pull a Forsett.' If they called it a touchdown and they can't review it, I'll get the touchdown."
Had the play been ruled properly and Smith scored a touchdown, it would have been the second one of his career. He previously scored against the Denver Broncos while with the Arizona Cardinals in 2006.
Judging by the one-of-a-kind "Ninja Assassin Slash of Death" celebration that Smith does every time he gets a sack, he would have had quite a spectacle in store if he had gotten the touchdown.
"I don't know if I could've pulled it off; I was pretty tired, man," Smith said. "But I had one in my head.
"I can't really explain it to you. Just go and watch the last fight scene of the (film) 'Ninja Assassin.' It would've been like that with the goal posts. Slices of precision."
Smith also had a sack later in the second quarter that was nullified by offsetting penalties on Titans and Texans players.
"I think today was the day of robbing the Ninja," Smith said. "The tables was turned."