DETROIT-- Saying that the Texans-Lions showdown today was a sloppy display of a football game could very well be an understatement. But it was the Lions who were able to capitalize on three turnovers and find the end zone enough times to seal a 28-16 win in front of 61,465 Detroit fans in Ford Field.
Texans QB David Carr finished the day completing 23 of 34 passes for 313 yards and two touchdowns while RB Domanick Davis led the Texans rushing game with 78 yards on the ground and paced the receivers with 95 yards in the air. But he also had two fumbles for the second consecutive week, two of three Texans turnovers which led to 14 Detroit points.
WR Andre Johnson was close behind with 86 receiving yards and one touchdown, the longest of his young NFL career.
Davis led the way on the Texans opening drive, picking up a pair of first downs, but Houston was forced to punt soon after as the Lions took over on the Detroit 15.
Houston's defense turned on the pressure, holding TE Stephen Alexander and RB Kevin Jones to no gain as QB Joey Harrington delivered the ball their way. Texans LB Jason Babin broke through the Lions offensive wall shortly after, sacking Harrington for a three-yard loss for his first NFL sack.
The Lions were forced to give the ball back to the Texans offense on a Nick Harris punt, but Houston wasn't able to capitalize on the defense's efforts. Former Texas standout Shaun Rogers and fellow defenisve lineman James Hall combined efforts to take down Carr for five yards, putting the Texans in a 3rd and 9 situation. LG Chester Pitts false started on the next play, pushing Houston back even further as Carr now had to convert on 3rd and 14 from the Houston 43. The Lions defense held as P Chad Stanley booted another impressive kick, sailing the ball 48 yards to the Detroit 14.
Harrington and company didn't make it much further down the field and again punted the ball back to Houston's offensive troops. Davis took the first snap for five yards and a 15-yard face mask penalty on DT Dan Wilkinson pushed the Texans to the Detroit 48. Wilkinson redeemed himself two plays later, forcing Davis to fumble the ball as LB James Davis recovered.
But Houston's defense was determined to keep Harrington and the Lions offense out of the end zone as Texans LB Jamie Sharper ripped through Detroit's line on 3rd and 6, causing Harrington to miss intended receiver Roy Williams.
A dependable Jason Hason came in to attempt a 47-yard field goal and put Detroit on the scoreboard, but Hanson's kick sailed wide right as the game remained scoreless heading into the second quarter.
In just one quarter, the Texans and Lions combined, only accounted for 50 offensive yards while both team's combined penalty yards also tallied up to 50.
Houston looked to break the streak of sloppy play on the next series but no such luck. Carr took an 11-yard loss as Detroit's James Davis put pressure on the backfield. On the next play, Carr's intended pass to his Davis was intercepted by rookie CB Keith Smith.
Detroit took the momentum and ran as Harrington hit bulldozer Cory Schlesinger who ran over a few Texans defenders en route to a 12-yard pickup. LB Kailee Wong ran Harrington out of bounds, forcing 3rd and 11, but Harrington found WR Az-Zahir Hakim down the middle for a first down.
Lions rusher Kevin Jones followed with a 16-yard run as the Lions entered into the red zone at Houston's 11. A pass interference call on Texans CBAaron Glenn in the end zone placed the Lions at a comfortable one-yard out with first-and-goal. Harrington found Schlesinger wide open in the corner of the end zone on the next play to give Detroit the first points of the game and a 7-0 lead.
Houston got the ball back and went to work to even the score. Davis picked up a five-yarder before Carr connected with WR Andre Johnson for the first time of the day. Johnson rambled for 24 yards and picked up a first down. Davis added another three yards and on 3rd and 6, LB Alex Lewis was called for roughing the passer, giving the Texans another 15 yards and a first. From the Detroit 43, Carr found WR Jabar Gaffney in the seam for a 25-yard gain as Houston marched into the red zone.
Carr handed off to Davis on 3rd and 13 but the Texans ground machine was only able to spit out five yards, bringing in K Kris Brown to attempt a 34-yard field goal. Brown split the uprights to put Houston on the board though the Texans still trailed 7-3 with just over one minute remaining in the first half.
The Texans defense forced the Lions three-and-out, giving the Houston's offense 46 seconds on the play clock to work with. Carr hit Davis on the first play for a 16-yard gain but his second pass was batted down by DE Jared DeVries. Carr kept the ball for a six-yard gain, brining up 3rd and 4. Carr got serious pressure in the pocket as James Hall who forced the ball out of his hands. Carr recovered and the Texans had one more snap on fourth down before first half came to a close.
Houston kicked off to Detroit to start the second half as Texans veteran Glenn came through with flying colors, picking off Harrington's intended pass for Tai Streets and returned it 23 yards to the Detroit 38. But Glenn's 31st career pick didn't materialize.
Carr hit Davis early in the series for a nine-yard reception, but Lions CB Chris Cash forced Davis to lose the ball, sending it right back into the hands of the Detroit offense.
Detroit's Kevin Jones started things off with an 11-yard run before Harrington hit Artrose Pinner on 14 and seven-yard receptions. Harrington sealed the 71-yard drive with a 31-yard touchdown pass to Roy Williams, extending Detroit's lead 14-3 in the third quarter.
Houston fired back under pressure as Carr engineered an 82-yard scoring drive on six plays, chewing 4:07 off the game clock. Carr hit Davis for a nine-yarder and found TE Mark Bruener down the middle for a six-yard gain. An encroachment penalty against Detroit gave Houston a first down and two plays later, Carr hit Johnson for a 54-yard touchdown strike, the longest of Johnson's career to close the scoring gap 14-10 still in favor of Detroit.
But Houston's celebration was short-lived as Lions return man Eddie Drummond rambled 99 yards and into the end zone to extend Detroit's lead 21-10.
In a ping-pong game of scoring, Houston answered. Davis chipped away with six touches while Carr hit WR Corey Bradford on a 13-yarder as Houston slowly made their way into Detroit territory. Carr found Bradford again on the money with a 27-yard touchdown strike to cap off an 11-play, 81-yard scoring drive.
It marked Bradford's 11th score with the Texans where he's average an impressive 46.2 yards on each scoring touch.
Carr's two-point conversion attempt to Gaffney failed to put the score at 21-16.
Detroit came back in full force as Harrington found receivers in Streets, Jones and Williams. Under pressure, Harrington fired the ball to Williams in the corner of the end zone as he drug his feet in bounds to hold on to the 14-yard score while giving the Lions a 28-16 lead with just under five minutes left in the ball game.
The Texans offensive efforts gave one last shot at finding the end zone but were forced to turn the ball over on downs and the Lions offense took over at their own one-yard line to run down the clock and seal the victory. The Texans dropped to 0-2 as Detroit picked up their second win of the season. Houston travels to Kansas City next Sunday to take on the Chiefs.