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Harris Hits: Tennessee Titans | Week 17


For the first time since 2015, the Texans completed a sweep of the Tennessee Titans. The first win, up in Nashville in week 15, was as memorable as any we've had in this season, but Sunday's win was as complete as any win the Texans have had in 2023. Let's dive into some Harris Hits from the win.

On Thursday, Marc Vandermeer posted a picture of C.J. Stroud in advance of our Thursday night radio show with the headline.

"He's Back!"

Yes, he was. Stroud returned to the starting lineup with as smart a performance as he's had all year long. He's put the cape on plenty to go into superhero mode when this team has needed it, but his teammates made sure he didn't have to on Sunday. He was hit just twice by the same guy Harold Landry III and sacked once…by the same guy. But, Stroud was brilliant in his passing decisions and overall decision making. 

He brought things back to the offense that had been lacking, just because he can make throws that many QBs throughout the world can't make. He really worked the perimeter of the Titans' defense with out routes to Nico Collins and Robert Woods. He finished with a 102.7 passer rating, threw a TD and managed the offense beautifully.

One play early on in the game made a ton more sense after the game. On the first drive of the game, C.J. DID try to keep a play alive longer than others. After leading the Texans down into the red zone, the Texans ran a little slide bootleg. So, it seemed as if it was designed to be a three receiver, three level route off of that action. But, C.J. couldn't find anyone open. As he walked back to the huddle, I saw C.J. gesturing to someone but it wasn't either of his two receivers in the route. I THOUGHT that he was talking to Brevin Jordan, but I wasn't totally sure and wasn't sure why. I found out later why.

Early in the second quarter, Jordan scored a touchdown on a wonderfully executed play. What I didn't realize until talking to Brevin after the game was that it was the exact same play, but on this one Jordan didn't stay into block; he ran the slide route into the flat and was wide open for the 12-yard TD pass. C.J. had told him on the play in the first quarter to go out in the route - it was there, trust it. Jordan did and scored his second TD as a result.

The Texans defense scored a TD. Now, that's a simple, factual statement but it's one that had kept DeMeco Ryans up at night. The D has done SO MUCH this year and it's a completely revamped unit from previous years. But, it hadn't scored…until Sunday. Fort Bend ISD alum and veteran DE Jerry Hughes, on Reppin' H-Town Day no less, blasted through the block of a rookie sixth OL and literally STOLE the ball from QB Will Levis. He didn't sack him as much as "I'm going to take your lunch money" sack him. After he knocked out the rock, Sheldon Rankins scooped like Bregman and scored like Altuve. It was Rankins' first TD of his career and the first one of the year. What a time to get it, too. The Texans were robbed of a TD back in the Denver game but finally got THAT one Sunday.

Will Anderson Jr., oh my, young bull, oh MY! I don't have the snap counts from the game just yet, but I know he didn't play much in the second half and he didn't have to, actually, because he did his damage at the end of the first half. He may have ended the season of a Titan OL with consecutive sacks on the Titans two minute drive to end the first half; the Titans benched Andre Dillard as a result of the end of the half. With those two sacks, he set the Texans all-time rookie sack record. It was clear how much the Texans missed him with those impressive sacks to end the half.

Oh by the way, I haven't heard a damn soul complaining any more about the Texans making that trade, you know the one that Nick Caserio executed like a maestro to bring this team its future on both sides of the ball? Oh yeah, THAT one! Said it draft night, will say it for as long as C.J. and Will play in Houston - it was a brilliant move because of what those two young bucks were bringing to Houston and THEY WANTED TO BE HERE.

The entire DL played an outstanding game. Derek Barnett went right past Jaelyn Duncan for a sack and shared one with Kurt Hinish a little later. DB95 had FOUR hits on the QB. DT Khalil Davis's pressure kept Titans QB Ryan Tannehill from finding an open Titans RB Tyjae Spears down on the goal line late in the third. But, in total, listen to these numbers from this defense.

12 QB hits

Six sacks

13 sacks in two games against the Titans

The Texans had more sack yardage than Derrick Henry had rushing yards (50 to 42).

First defensive TD of the year

No touchdowns in the last seven and a half quarters against the Titans

Just one offensive TD allowed in two games against the Titans

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

What an incredible defensive performance and just a complete game all around.

A few quickies on the way out.

Brevin Jordan did a GREAT job at fullback.

Loved seeing Robert Woods and Nico Collins get back to doing what they've done all season with 7 back at QB.

I can't tell you how cool it was to see Kareem Jackson back in a Texans uni…where he belongs.

DeMeco Ryans is MY Coach of the Year & Nick Caserio is Executive of the Year - they won't like hearing me say that, but #Facts are #Facts.

Now, it's time.


Lucas Oil Stadium

Win and in

It's that simple. Over 17 weeks, this Texans team has fought for every inch, and it's come down to this…

60 minutes (or more)

Whatever it takes.

One time.

Can't wait. See y'all in Indy on Saturday night, everyone!!

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