Landmark victory

*
*
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- **The Texans (3-3) made yet another mark in the team's short three-year history, beating the Tennessee Titans (2-4) for the first time ever with an oh-so-sweet 20-10 road victory in The Coliseum.

The win gave Houston a 1-0 record in the AFC South and was also the first victory over five meetings with the Titans since 2002.

"I'm proud of the way our team went out and competed today," head coach Dom Capers said. "It's a good feeling to get our first division win and especially to be able to come here and get it on the road."

Houston's defense came up big with a club single-game record of four interceptions against one of the best passers in the game in Titans Steve McNair.

capers_titans101704.jpg

"Well, I think our guys made some good plays," Capers said about the Texans defense. "They were in position and they made the plays today and that's what you have to do. These games all come down to who makes the plays. Today, we were fortunate enough to make some of them with interceptions."

QB David Carr completed 16 of 26 passes for 266 yards and a touchdown while connecting with six different targets in a receiving corps paced by Jabar Gaffney who finished the day with five catches for 85 yards and a score.

McNair finished the game 19-of-41 for 210 yards and one touchdown.

Turnovers told the story of the first 30 minutes of play and in the second half, Texans RB Jonathan Wells scored the only points between the two teams, punching in a four-yard touchdown run with just under five minutes remaining to give Houston a 20-10 lead.

After winning the coin toss, the Texans received the ball first as RB Domanick Davis got the ground game warmed up with gains of two and 10 yards. Carr aired out a 47-yard pass to WR Corey Bradford, silencing a packed Colisem crowd early on.

Houston's offense found themselves in good scoring position at the Titans 11-yard line but settled for a 21-yard Kris Brown field goal for an early 3-0 lead while chewingt 5:18 off of the play clock.

Titans return man Troy Fleming brought the kickoff out to the Tennessee 31 but McNair's inital pass intended for WR Drew Bennett was intercepted by Texans CB Aaron Glenn. The turnover marked Glenn's second pick of the season and 32nd career as a pumped Texans defense gave the ball back over to their offensive counterparts.

Houston's offense went back to work, determined to visit the end zone on the the second try. Davis was stopped for no carry on the first play and the Titans defense came strong on the next snap as Carr's intended pass for Davis fell incomplete. On 3rd and 10, Titans CB Andre Woolfolk was called for illegal contact, giving Houston a first down at the Tennessee 36. But Woolfolk retaliated on the next play, intercepting Carr's pass intended for Andre Johnson and returned it 25 yards to bring out the Titans offense at the midway mark.

The Titans offense was able to advance into Houston territory at the 38-yard line but former Tennessee DE Robaire Smith re-introduced himself to his former teammates after deflecting McNair's pass for Ben Troupe. Texans CB Dunta Robinson eyeballed the up-for-grabs toss and came down with it for his third interception of the season.

The Texans offense wasn't able to capitalize on the turnover and Chad Stanley sent off a 47-yard punt. Houston's defense was determined to make a stand and McNair wasn't able to advance his unit past their own 25 bringing Houston's return man J.J. Moses back to field Craig Hentrich's punt.

Wells ran for eight yards and Carr found Bradford on an 18-yard strike, but another turnover took the momentum away of the Texans offense. SS Tank Williams stalked Carr in the pocket, sacking him and forcing the ball loose as teammate DE Carlos Hall recovered to put Tennessee in good field position at the Houston 32.

The Titans offense fired back quickly. McNair hit target Derrick Mason for 13 yards before RB Chris Brown rambled for an additional 10. Two plays later, McNair connected with Bennett on a 10-yard touchdown strike to give Tennessee its first lead of the day with a 7-3 score.

Houston's offense took over the reigns again looking for its first seven-point drive of the day. Gaffney put the unit 30 yards closer to that goal after stretching out to make an impressive catch down the sidelines, placing the Texans offense at the Titans 41. Carr hit Johnson on an 11-yarder and found another receiver in Derick Armstrong two plays later.

gaffney_titans101704.jpg

Armstrong's seven-yard catch put Houston in the red zone and on the next snap, Carr spotted Gaffney in the left corner of the end zone and aired out what would become a 20-yard touchdown catch as the Texans re-gained a 10-7 lead.

Gaffney's score was his second of the season while Carr threw his eighth in 2004.

"They make plays," Carr said about his receiving corps. "All I want to do is give them an opportunity to go up and make a play on the ball. I feel they are as talented as any group in the league in competing for the football. I have all the confidence in the world in them."

Houston wouldn't keep the lead for very long though. The Titans offense marched downfield and K Gary Anderson booted a 45-yarder to tie the score at 10.

With just under six minutes remaining in the first half, the Texans began to again chip away yards. Carr found Johnson down the middle on a 29-yard gain and Wells added another nine before Brown hit his second field goal of the day from 50-yards out to give Houston a 13-10 advantage.

The Texans defense was able to keep the Titans from entering into Houston territory and with just seconds remaining in the game, the Titans were forced to punt. Houston took over and ran down the final seconds to end the first half ahead by just three.

Tennessee's opening drive of the second half quickly stalled and the Titans were forced to punt early in the third. The Texans offense was spurred by Carr's 20-yard completion to Armstrong on 3rd and 7 for a first down and a trip into Tennessee territory. But the Texans offense wasn't able to convert its next 3rd and 9 and Stanely punted a 37-yarder that was downed by Houston LB Antwan Peek at the Titans 2.

The Titans offense wasn't able to string together a substantial drive and Hentrich punted  back to the Texans. But Houston mirrored the same offensive efforts and punted back to McNair and his offensive unit.

The Titans began to slowly make their way towards mid-field. Titans RB Antowain Smith picked up runs of nine and two yards and the Titans were in good position at 1st and 10 from their own 35. But Texans LB Jamie Sharper took down McNair, recording his second sack of the season, to bring up 2nd and 16.

Tennessee had no trouble with the distance as McNair found WR Eddie Berlin for 19 yards. Derick Mason was his next target for eight more yards and the Titans were soon at the Houston 48. Tennessee's offense would only gain four more yards before punting back to the Texans.

Houston's ensuing drive stalled and Stanley punted for the fourth time of the day. But McNair's first pass of the drive sprung another turnover as LB Kailee Wong stepped in front of Smith to pick off his first interception since 2001 and record his first pick since becoming a Texan. 

Houston's offense took over at the Titans 43 looking to find the end zone for the first time of the second half, but the unit went three-and-out and turned the ball back over.

McNair connected with Troupe for nine yards and Smith ran for five on the next play. McNair was off on the ensuing pass to Berlin but found him on the next play for a 10-yard gain. The drive stalled three plays later and Houston took over possession again.

Carr found an open Gaffney and the receiver reeled in a 22-yarder, his fifth reception of the day. Wells picked up 13 yards on three runs and on 2nd and 9, Johnson fought for the first down on a 13-yard catch down the sideline to put the Texans at the Titans 20. Johnson repeated two plays later for another 13-yarder to place Houston four yards out.

Wells punched in the scoring run to cap off the 65-yard drive and the Texans extended the lead 20-10 with just under five minutes remaining.

"It was a great job by the offensive line," Wells said. "Zach (Wiegert) came around and pulled and got the guy out of the way. I just dove over the pile on the ground and stuck the ball out, trying to get in. We did a good job getting there."

The Titans quickly began their rally trek downfield. McNair hit Mason on a 17-yard pass. After connecting with Bennett for two, 19-yard passes, it seemed as though the Titans were making a strong case for a comeback score. McNair hit Berlin for gains of 13 and eight yards and Tennessee was in prime position at the four-yard line. But Marcus Coleman's interception in the end zone sealed Tennessee's fate  with just under two minutes remaining and Houston ran the clock down to get their first-ever win against the Titans.

Houston heads into the bye weekend with an even 3-3 record. The Titans drop to 2-4 on the season as they prepare for next weekend's trip to Minnesota.

"What we got to do is take this win and try to build on it," Capers said. "We're going into a bye week, so it should give us a week to get healed up. We've got the Jacksonville Jaguars coming in the next week, another division game.  Hopefully, it will give us time to get prepared to play our second division game.  It's a good feeling to get the first win.  I am proud of the way the guys played."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Advertising