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Big Play Breakdown | Texans vs. Titans, Week 17


That win was so fun on New Year's Eve day over the Tennessee Titans. It was the first sweep over the Titans since 2015 and it was another physical win over the Titans. Let's dive into the win over Tennessee with our Big Play Breakdown, right here, with three big plays in the second quarter that essentially provided the Texans with the win.

2nd Quarter - Texans Ball

10:15 remaining

1st and ten

+12 yard line

Texans ahead 3-0

Throughout the game, the Texans had been using Brevin Jordan in the role that is typically reserved for Andrew Beck. But, Beck was injured during practice this week so Jordan had to step up and play that role. So, OC Bobby Slowik put Jordan and Dalton Schultz on the field together (12 personnel or 21 personnel, depending on how the Titans classified Jordan). They started on the right side together, then Schultz went to the left side and after Schultz got set, Jordan went in motion in that direction. The Texans had run this play earlier in the game as Jordan told me in the locker room but this time, he didn't block, he ran the slide route to the flat as Schultz ran hard up the field to hold the safety. The outside WR Xavier Hutchinson ran a post route to take the CB inside as well. Those two routes acted like a natural pick play for Jordan as he slid into the flat. QB C.J. Stroud gave a quick play action fake to RB Dameon Pierce, who then chopped down a rushing LB. No one went with Jordan so Stroud just flipped the ball out to Jordan who then turned the corner and sprinted into the end zone with his second TD of the season and a 10-0 Texans lead. But, it wouldn't stay that way for long…in fact, on the next play from scrimmage, the score changed to 17-0.

2nd Quarter - Titans Ball

10:10 remaining

1st and ten

-25 yard line

Texans ahead 10-0

The Titans spent a great deal of time putting six OL on the field and did so on this play directly after the kickoff after Brevin's touchdown. They put RB Derrick Henry in the pistol behind rookie QB Will Levis and motioned WR DeAndre Hopkins to the right side where sixth OL/OT John Ojukwu was positioned as a tight end. The Texans brought an extra LB Blake Cashman on the rush so the Titans would be forced to have to man up on each of the rushers. SOMEONE was going to win and that someone was Jerry Hughes. The veteran pass rusher was matched up on the rookie sixth OL. Hughes immediately chopped at Ojukwu's arms/hands and then threw a quick arm over move. That gave him a dead run to Levis, who faked the ball to Henry on play action. The Texans matched up in the secondary perfectly which forced Levis to hold the ball…and he held it too long because Hughes came to literally snatch it from his hands. The Texans veteran didn't even go to sack Levis; he just chopped at the ball and Levis never saw him. The ball popped out and Sheldon Rankins, who had beaten RT Dillon Radunz badly as well, saw it on the ground. He snatched it up and ran it 13 yards into the end zone for the Texans first defensive TD of the year and Rankins' first TD of his career.

2nd Quarter - Titans Ball

0:43 remaining

1st and ten

+36 yard line

Texans ahead 20-0

After Harold Landry III's TFL on Devin Singletary stopped the Texans two minute drive, the Titans hit on a Ryan Tannehill to Chris Moore explosive pass play to near midfield. A few plays later, the Titans were in Texans territory and looking for the big points to cut the lead. The Titans did not have a sixth OL on this play but should have. RB Tyjae Spears was to the left of Tannehill with three receivers to the right of the formation and WR DeAndre Hopkins to the left of the formation. As soon as the ball was snapped, star rookie DE Will Anderson Jr BURST off the ball and looked to immediately beat LT Andre Dillard. Anderson was so quick off the ball that Dillard couldn't even get hands on him. Spears tried to slow him down, but Anderson literally split them on his rush and buried Tannehill for a massive sack. I mean, he just ran right through both blockers and brought down the Titans veteran QB.

On the next play, he did it again for his seventh sack of the season - a Texans rookie record. On that sack, he deked inside for a quick flash and that froze Dillard. Then, he swiped Dillard's outside arm to get him turned, opening a straight line path to Tannehill. The Titans QB had no chance and was sacked again. Two consecutive plays, two Will Anderson Jr. sacks.

That was that, really. A goal line stand in the third quarter. A couple of Ka'imi Fairbairn made field goals and we had ourselves a lot more fun in the last regular season game at NRG Stadium in 2023. What a win! Playoffs begin in Indy next Sunday - win and in, folks! It's time to rock!

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