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Texans beat Lions 28-21


As Andre Johnson keeps improving, so do the Houston Texans.

A week after scoring a touchdown in his 10-catch, 178-yard outing versus Miami, Johnson totaled a game-high 11 catches for 141 yards in a 28-21 win Sunday against the Detroit Lions at Reliant Stadium.

"He's got a ton of confidence right now," coach Gary Kubiak said. "We've expanded his role a little bit because he is so confident right now. We're moving him around a lot. We have to because people will game plan him if we leave him in one spot."

The Texans (2-4) now have consecutive wins after an inauspicious 0-4 start and welcome the winless Cincinnati Bengals to Houston next Sunday for the chance to win three games in a row for the first time in franchise history.

If Johnson continues to fill the stat sheet, the potential is sky high for the Texans' offense, which collected a franchise-record 29 first downs against Detroit and scored on their first three possessions to take a comfortable 21-0 lead early in the second quarter.

The Texans made their lives more difficult in the second half by allowing a 96-yard touchdown to wide receiver Calvin Johnson and punting on four of their five drives. Fortunately, Matt Turk saved the team by dropping his final three punts inside the Lions' five-yard line.

Turk's 59-yard punt to the two-yard line with 10 seconds left in the game put the finishing touches on a victory that was much closer than the Texans wanted.

"I'm happy with the win," Kubiak said, "but good golly, there's just so many things that we've got to improve upon and figure out a way to do it."

Adding to Johnson's strong performance was a big contribution from tight end Owen Daniels, who finally got in the end zone this season with two touchdowns and finished with six catches for 66 yards.

{QUOTE}The running back tandem of Steve Slaton and Ahman Green combined for 142 rushing yards on 31 carries (4.58 avg.) with two touchdowns. Green's tough carries in the fourth quarter helped the Texans run down the clock.

Slaton got the Texans going early with a 37-yard gain to the Detroit 22 on the first possession. On third-and-seven, Johnson caught a 17-yard pass on a slant route. On the next play, quarterback Matt Schaub executed a flawless play action fake and found Daniels open for a two-yard touchdown.

A sack by linebacker Zac Diles for a nine-yard loss to the Lions' 14-yard line forced Detroit's first punt of the game with 9:30 left in the first quarter.

Johnson caught two passes for 22 yards on the next series to lead the offense near midfield. A 15-yard completion to André Davis and a four-yard gain by Green set up a third-and-six from the Detroit 17. Schaub then looked for Johnson in the end zone, and cornerback Leigh Bodden was flagged for pass interference. Two plays later, Green rushed for a one-yard touchdown off the left tackle to cap the seven-play, 72-yard drive over 3:25.

Detroit punted again after quarterback Dan Orlovsky fumbled on a handoff and wide receiver Calvin Johnson recovered at the Detroit 21 for a seven-yard loss.

The Texans got into scoring range again when Daniels made a 25-yard catch to the Detroit 15 early in the second quarter. Slaton followed up the catch with three consecutive runs for 15 yards, including a one-yard touchdown run that put Houston ahead 21-0 with 12:13 left in the first half.

With four total net yards of offense in their first two drives, the Lions began from their 19-yard line. Orlovsky picked up the team's first first down on a 10-yard scramble. Then he hit wide receiver Mike Furrey on a 25-yard pass to the Houston 46. On third-and-nine from the 36-yard line, Orlovsky overthrew Furrey to set up a 54-yard field goal, which Jason Hanson nailed to cut Detroit's deficit to 21-3.

A Lions' punt on the opening drive of the second half set up the Texans with field position at their 23-yard line. But a sack by defensive tackle Cory Redding for a 12-yard loss on third down forced Turk to punt for the first time of the game.

After a 36-yard punt gave Detroit possession at the Houston 47, rookie running back Kevin Smith broke off a 26-yard touchdown run to make the score 21-10 with 11:53 left in the third quarter.

An 18-yard catch by Johnson on first down gave Houston some breathing room on the next drive. On third-and-two at the Detroit 40, wide receiver Kevin Walter picked up seven yards on a toss play off the right end. Walter made two more catches on the drive for 23 yards. On fourth-and-one at the Lions' three-yard line, Schaub dove forward to move the chains. Detroit challenged the spotting of the ball, but after re-measuring with the ball at the two-yard line, Houston still had enough for a first down.

To finish the series, Schaub tossed his second touchdown of the game to Daniels on another play action fake that caught the Lions off-guard.

"Feels good to get in there and help the team out by scoring some points," Daniels said. "Those were two well-designed plays that we executed pretty well and kind of made it look easy."

After Turk punted to the Lions' four-yard line early in the fourth quarter, Orlovsky found wide receiver Calvin Johnson open on first down for a 96-yard touchdown pass to silence the crowd. After a pass interference penalty on cornerback Dunta Robinson on the two-point conversion, Johnson's one-yard touchdown grab made the score 28-18 with 11:45 left in the contest.

After the game, Kubiak was steamed about the defensive breakdown on the long scoring play.

"We were in quarter-quarter-half (defense)," Kubiak said, "so (Faggins) should be back there in the deep quarter of the field. It's inexcusable. But that's not his fault. That's our fault as coaches. That's our fault as coaches to not get the player to do his job in that situation."

Turk returned the next series and booted a 54-yard punt to the Lions' three-yard line. He was hit by linebacker Alex Lewis after the kick, but Houston declined the five-yard penalty.

Cornerback Fred Bennett was penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct after diving onto the pile late on first down. Later in the drive, safety Will Demps was penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct for a late hit on Smith. On third-and-eight, defensive end Tim Bulman collected his first-career sack by tackling Orlovsky at the 36-yard line. But Hanson came on to attempt a 54-yard field goal that made the score 28-21 with 4:17 left in the game.

Attempting to milk the clock, Green rushed on the first three plays from scrimmage. His one-yard gain on third-and-one allowed the Texans to run out the clock until the two-minute warning. Following a one-yard rush by Green, Detroit used their final timeout with 1:55 left in the game. On second down, Green picked up seven yards to set up third-and-two. After a false start penalty on tackle Ephraim Salaam, Green was stopped for no gain on third-and-seven at the Houston 39.

With 20 seconds left in the game, the Texans called a timeout before Turk's 59-yarder to the two-yard line. The Lions completed a pass but their lateral attempt fell out of bounds to end the game.

Injury report

  • Lions safety Dwight Smith left the game in the first half with a foot injury. He is out.
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