The Texans fell to the Cleveland Browns 27-17 at Cleveland Browns Stadium, but Houston is still in the hunt for the wild card.
Defensive highlights: The Texans' defense flexed its muscle in Cleveland. The unit was particularly strong on third downs, holding the Browns to three-of-13 on third-down conversions.
In the third quarter, the Browns drove the ball to the Houston 8, but cornerback Fred Bennett was able to break up a pass from Derek Anderson intended for Joe Jurevicius. The Browns were forced to settle for a 25-yard field goal.
"They held up on that drive before the end of the quarter to hold them to a field goal," head coach Gary Kubiak said. "I thought they battled when we hurt them with field position."
Other defensive highlights included Bennett's second career interception in the second quarter. The rookie returned the interception for 33 yards, which is the team's longest interception return in of the season.
Defensive end Mario Williams recorded his sixth sack of the season, taking down Anderson in the third quarter for a five-yard loss.
DeMeco Ryans led the team in total tackles with 11, including a monstrous hit on wide receiver Braylon Edwards.
Dayne train chugs: Running back Ron Dayne started his second consecutive game in place of Ahman Green, who continues to nurse a swollen knee. The Texans had been riding the Dayne train coming into Cleveland with the 1999 Heisman Trophy winner amassing 211 rushing yards in the Texans' previous two games. Against the Browns, the train kept chugging.
Dayne rushed for 78 yards on 16 attempts, averaging 4.6 yards per carry. At half time, the running back had already recorded 55 yards on the ground.
After the game, Kubiak said he would have liked to have run the ball more in the second half.
"I thought he (Dayne) ran well and I thought we ran the ball well," Kubiak said. "We were in a nip-and-tuck football game and I probably should have stuck with him."
Special success: The special teams executed its game plan on coverages, containing return specialist Joshua Cribbs to 75 return yards. In Week 11 against the Ravens, Cribbs recorded 306 return yards, which is the third-highest single-game total in league history.
Cribbs also fumbled the ball when Texans linebacker Danny Clark knocked the ball out Cribbs' hands in the first quarter. It was Clark's first forced fumble of the season and his sixth of his career.
Daniels gets in: Tight end Owen Daniels scored his first touchdown of the season on a 6-yard pass in the third quarter from Matt Schaub.
Despite ranking second on the team in receiving yards with 624 yards, Daniels had not made it to the end zone. His backup, Joel Dreessen, had scored twice this season while recording just 46 receiving yards.
Making plays: The Texans ultimately hurt themselves by turning the ball over and not converting on third downs. Kubiak said the team simply did not produce positive game-changing plays.
"We didn't stay on the field on third downs – came up short on a couple," Kubiak. "We had a big fourth down play early in the game and we've got a play to make and we don't make it. Then you add the turnovers to it, and we're on the road. It's not good. If you're not making third downs in this league, you've got to make some big plays and we don't have any to show for today."
The head coach will spend Monday reviewing film before addressing the media in a press conference at 3:30 p.m. CST.
Texans-Browns encore: If you missed the Texans playing Cleveland, you have a second chance to catch all the action.
On Monday, Nov. 26, at 7:00 p.m., the NFL Network will replay Cleveland's home victory over Houston.
NFL Replay re-airs five of the most exciting games from the weekend without halftime and other elements not critical to the outcome. Plus, the show includes sound bites captured on the field during the game and post-game press conferences, giving fans an inside look at game action they did not see on Sunday.