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Game Recap: Texans defeat Titans 26-3 for ninth win of season | Week 17


The Houston Texans improved to 9-7 and kept their playoff fate in their own hands by knocking off the Titans 26-3 at home. C.J. Stroud started at quarterback and fellow 2023 first round draft pick Will Anderson Jr. returned to the lineup for Head Coach DeMeco Ryans' team. 

The Titans started from their own 25. Derrick Henry started the drive with a four-yard run up the middle, followed by an incomplete pass by Will Levis. After a Titans timeout, on 3rd-and-6, Desmond King II broke up a Levis pass, which forced the Titans to punt. D'Angelo Ross nearly blocked the punt, which went out of bounds at the Texans 32.

C.J. Stroud returned at quarterback for the Texans. On the first play, Devin Singletary ran up the middle for four years up to the 36. Stroud hit Singletary on a short pass for a three-yard gain to set up 3rd-and-3. On the next play, Stroud completed a pass to Noah Brown up to the 47 for a gain of eight. Singletary rushed for eight yards to push into Titans territory at their 45 and followed that with a two-yard run to set up a new set of downs at the Titans 43. Stroud and Nico Collins connected for the first time on Sunday with a nine-yard pick-up down to the 34 to set up 2nd-and-1. Singletary took care of that short yardage with a five-yard run up to the 29. After a run for no gain by Singletary, the Texans pulled out some trickeration as after a double fake, Stroud hit Robert Woods in the flat who then picked up 19 yards to get into the redzone. Set up at the 10, after a pass for no gain to Xavier Hutchinson and an incomplete pass out of the back of the endzone, the Texans on 3rd-and-Goal Stroud's pass sailed out of the back of the endzone incomplete. Kaimi Fairbairn came on and nailed a 28-yard field goal to give the Texans a 3-0 lead with 7:17 remaining in the first quarter. The scoring drive went 58 yards in 13 plays that took 6:47 off the clock.

The Titans second drive started at their own 25 after a touchback. Levis hit DeAndre Hopkins on a screen pass for a gain of four yards, followed by a seven-yard run by Henry to get the ball to the 36. Tyjae Spears rushed for five yards up to the 41 on the next play, followed by a two-yard rush by Henry to set up 3rd-and-2. Spears followed that with a one-yard run which put them in 4th-and-1. The Titans went for it and Levis hit Hopkins for a 12-yard gain into Texans territory to the 43. After an incomplete pass, which was broken up by Christian Harris, Spears was bottled up by Kurt Hinish for a five-yard loss. On 3rd-and-15, Levis aired it out but the pass fell incomplete, forcing the Titans to punt. The kick was fair caught at the Texans six-yard-line.

Houston took over at their own six and started with a run up the middle by Singletary up to the eight for a gain of two. Stroud backpedaling into his own endzone was able to get it out to Singletary, who was able to gain three yards up to the 11 to set up a 3rd-and-5. Stroud's pass intended for Dalton Schultz fell incomplete, forcing the Texans to punt. On the punt attempt, the Titans ran into punter Cameron Johnston, which was a five-yard penalty and resulted in an automatic first down. Dameon Pierce garnered his first carry of the game and picked up four yards up to the 20. On 2nd-and-6 with under 30 seconds left in the quarter, Stroud hit Schultz, who fought his way first a first down up to the 27 yard line. This brought an end to the first quarter.

End 1st Quarter: Texans 3, Titans 0

The Texans started the second quarter with a 1st-and-10 from their own 27. On the first play, Pierce made a nice one-handed grab up to the 32 for a gain of five yards. Singletary busted loose on the next play cutting it back into the open field for a 24-yard rush into Titans territory. From the Tennessee 44, the Texans pulled out the double reverse as Stroud pitched it to Hutchinson and then he tossed it to Collins in stride to get to the 37 for a gain of seven yards. Stroud connected with Collins on the very next play to gain 10 yards up to the 27. After a short run by Singletary and a pass for no gain, on 3rd-and-8, Stroud hit Collins for a 13-yard gain down to the Titans 12. On the next play, Stroud hit Brevin Jordan, who took it into the endzone from 12 yards out for the Texans score. Houston extended its lead to 10-0 with 10:10 left in the first half. The scoring drive went 94 yards on 13 plays in 2:58.

On the ensuing drive, the Texans defense came up big Jerry Hughes broke loose on the first play, stripped the ball out of Titans quarterback Will Levis' hands. Sheldon Rankins ended up scooping the ball up and running it back 13 yards for the Texans first defensive touchdown of the 2023 season. The score made it 17-0 with 10:02 left in the first half. This marked a 14-point swing for the Texans in a matter of eight seconds of gameplay.

Levis was ruled as questionable to return with a foot injury after that play. On the next drive, Ryan Tannehill took over at quarterback. After a run for no gain by Henry and a four-yard pass to Hopkins, the Titans were facing a 3rd-and-6. After an illegal shift penalty, on 3rd-and-11, the TItans only picked up five yards as Tannehill hit Chig Okonkwo for a five-yard gain. The Titans elected to punt it on fourth down.

The Texans took over on their own 36 to start the next drive. A 21-yard pass from Stroud to Collins quickly got the Texans into Titans territory as they set up the next play at the Titans 43. A five-yard run by Pierce and then 14-yard pass from Stroud to Collins pushed the Texans to the Titans 24. After a run for no gain and incomplete pass, the Texans facing 3rd-and-10, Stroud ran for four yards. Fairbairn came out for a 38-yard field goal attempt and nailed it. The kick made it 20-0 with 4:17 left in the first half.

The Titans next drive was a quick three-and-out. A run for loss by Spears, a nine-yard pass from Tannehill to Spears set up a 3rd-and-2. On that next play, Henry took a direct snap and was dropped for a two-yard loss by Derek Stingley Jr. and Khalil Davis behind the line of scrimmage. This forced another punt by the Titans.

The Texans took over at their own 31. After a short pass to Collins, which lost a yard, it brought the game to the two-minute warning. Out of the timeout, Stroud hit Woods for an 11-yard gain up to the 41. After a run for a three-yard loss by Singletary, the Titans took a timeout and the Texans were forced to punt it back to Tennessee.

The Titans took over at their own 22 with 1:11 remaining in the first half. Tannehill's first pass of the drive was a 24-yard completion to Chris Moore. On the next play, Spears caught a pass from Tannehill for a gain of 10 down to the 36 of the Texans. Will Anderson Jr. imposed his will on the next two plays as on back-to-back plays, the rookie sacked Tannehill for a loss of nine and eight yards. The Titans got back into field goal range with an 18-yard pass from Tannehill to Hopkins. Nick Folk came out and nailed a 53-yard field goal as time expired to bring the halftime score to 20-3.

Halftime: Texans 20, Titans 3

View the best photos from the Week 17 matchup between the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans.

The Texans started the third quarter with the ball after deferring to receive to the second half. Houston was able to move the ball on their first drive. After short pass to Jordan and John Metchie III, and then an 18-yarder to Woods, paired with runs by Singletary, the Texans quickly pushed into Titans territory. Set up 1st-and-10 at the Titans 39, after an incomplete pass by Stroud, he hit Collins for a 15-yard gain to the Titans 24. After an 11-yard pass to Woods, the Texans got down to the 13. A short run and a duo of incomplete passes forced the Texans to attempt a field goal. Fairbairn came out and nailed a 27-yarder for his third field goal of the game. This extended the Texans lead to 23-3 with 9:35 left in the third quarter. The scoring drive spanned 71 yards in 12 plays and took 5:25 off the clock.

The Titans started their ensuing drive at their own 25. A pair of runs by Henry quickly picked up 23 yards to get the ball up to the 48. After a pass to Treylon Burks for four yards and then a run for a one-yard loss by Spears, the Titans faced 3rd-and-7 at the 49 and Tannehill hit Spears for five yards. The Titans went for it on 4th-and-2 and converted it with a seven-yard pass to Burks. A short run by Henry and then incomplete pass set up a 3rd-and-7, Tannehill hit Hopkins for a 16-yard gain up to the 18. On the next play, Tannehill hit Hopkins again for 14 yards, which got the Titans down to the four. Facing 1st-and-Goal, the Titans garnered a short run by Henry and then an incomplete pass, which set up 3rd-and-Goal. On this play, King was flagged for unnecessary roughness, which set up a new set of downs at the Texans six-yard-line. After being flagged for having too men on the field, Tannehill hit Kevin Rader for a six-yard gain down to the three. The Titans facing a 3rd-and-Goal from the three applied pressure on Tannehill, which caused him to overthrow his target. The Titans offense stayed on the field and went for it on 4th-and-Goal. The pass was intended for Okwonkwo and was broken up by Harris to force a turnover on downs.

The Texans took over on their own four-yard-line with 58 seconds left in the third quarter. Singletary started the drive with a four-yard run and then Stroud hit Schultz for a 12-yard gain to get the ball up to the 20. This brought an end to the 3rd quarter.

End of 3rd Quarter: Texans 23, Titans 3

The Texans started the fourth quarter leading 23-3 and from their own 20 with a fresh sets of down. Singletary started the fourth with a seven-yard run, followed by a Stroud pass to Eric Saubert for a gain of two to set up a 3rd-and-1. Singletary took the toss from Stroud to pick up the first down as he raced forward up to the 31. The next two plays went to Singletary as he blasted forward for 14 yards over those carries to set up a new set of downs at the 45. After an incomplete pass, Stroud was sacked for a loss of 12 yards back to the 33 to set up a 3rd-and-22. Stroud hit Hutchinson on the next play for a gain of just eight yards, which forced the Texans to punt.

The Titans started from their own 10. Henry ran for two yards on the first play, followed by a gain of 21 up to the 33 as Tannehill hit Okonkwo. He hit Okonkwo again on the next play up to the 41 for a gain of eight. After a short run by Henry, it set up 3rd-and-1 at the 42. Spears was dragged back for no gain on the play, which brought up 4th-and-1 from their own 42. The Titans went for it and Derek Barnett blew up the play as he sacked Tannehill for a loss of seven back to the Titans 35. This caused a turnover on downs.

The Texans starting at the Titans 35 started with a pitch to Pierce. He lost one yard on back to the 36 and then another run by Pierce he gained three to set up a 3rd-and-8. On third down, Dare Ogunbowale gained no yards, which set up Fairbairn for another field goal attempt. The Texans kicker came out and nailed a 51-yard field goal for his fourth field goal of the game to extend the lead to 26-3 with 5:33 left in the game.

The Titans started on their own 25. The Texans defense got to Tannehill again as Barnett got to him for his second sack of the game. Hinish was also there, so the duo each got credited for half a sack. Facing 2nd-and-18 Tannehill hit Hopkins for four yards and then Spears for five yards, which was short of the first down and caused the Titans to punt. They did so back to the Texans with 3:51 remaining in the game.

Houston took over at its own 10-yard-line. Davis Mills entered the game at quarterback. After back-to-back short runs by Pierce, the Texans back rushed for five yards, which brought up a punting situation. The Texans punted the ball away at the two-minute warning and the Titans started their next drive from their 42.

Tennessee starting from their own 42 with 1:50 left in the game started with a run by Jonathan Ward to the left for a gain of three. A pair of runs by Ward wrapped up the game.

The Texans defeated the Titans 26-3 to sweep the season series.

The Houston Texans improve to 9-7 overall in the 2023 season and remained tied atop the AFC South with the Colts and Jaguars, whom both won on Sunday as well. The Texans will wrap up the regular season next week on the road at Indianapolis against the Colts.

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