The Texans picked off four Ryan Tannehill passes and also pounced on a muffed punt in a 22-13 road victory at Tennessee.
For the first time in franchise history, the Texans tallied five takeaways in consecutive games. They also became just the third team in the last decade to record a quintet in consecutive games. The 2015 Jets and the 2017 Ravens each began their seasons with five takeaways apiece in Weeks 1 and 2. Defensive Coordinator Lovie Smith made getting takeaways a major point of emphasis when he started the job back in January. The 2020 Texans came up with a total of nine last season. After Sunday's win, with seven games remaining in the campaign, Houston's now recorded 19.
After throwing three picks at Miami, QB Tyrod Taylor and the Houston offense didn't turn the ball over versus the Titans. Head Coach David Culley harped on the value of winning the turnover differential battle.
"When you do that, and you don't turn it over, which we didn't do today, first time in a while, there's a pretty good chance you have a chance to win the ball game," Culley said.
Down 3-0 at the end of the first quarter, the Titans were driving and inside the Texans' 20-yard line. On 3rd-and-6 at Houston's 18, Tennessee QB Ryan Tannehill was picked off by LB Kamu Grugier-Hill. The veteran defender returned the interception 82 yards to the Titans' 6-yard line as the first quarter ended. Four plays later, Ka'imi Fairbairn kicked a 24-yard field goal to give Houston a 6-0 advantage.
"We put a huge emphasis on it every week," Grugier-Hill said. "Lovie, that's his number one thing: takeaways. So it's not just an accident, that's for sure."
The Texans started the second half with a 13-play drive that resulted in a punt, but on that Cam Johnston punt, the ball glanced off the Titans' Chester Rogers' leg. Tremon Smith recovered for Houston, and Taylor dove in for a 5-yard touchdown run three plays later.
DB Desmond King ll picked off a pair of passes in the fourth quarter, and DB Terrence Mitchell's interception with 2:07 remaining in regulation all but sealed the win for Houston.
King said he was "just doing my job" when it came to the interceptions and that the Texans defense "helped the team get over the hump."
The win was Houston's second of the season, while it dropped the Titans record to 8-3 this year. Tennessee Head Coach Mike Vrabel pointed to the miscues as the reason for defeat.
"You turn the ball over in this league, you're going to lose," Vrabel said. "When you do that, it doesn't matter what the record is. We had five turnovers. They had zero. You're going to lose the game 99 percent of the time."
The Texans are now plus-2 in turnover differential this season.
The Texans will play their next three contests at NRG Stadium.
See the Texans at NRG Stadium November 28 as they host the New York Jets in Week 12. Kickoff is set for noon CT. Click here for tickets.