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Houston Texans

Texans defeat Browns 16-6


CLEVELAND - The Texans earned their fourth win of the season and first on the road in more than a year, defeating the Cleveland Browns 16-6 on a frigid day at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Utilizing a variety of zone blitzes and man-to-man coverage on Cleveland's receivers, Houston overcame 11 penalties by forcing five turnovers, which tied a franchise record.

In 30-degree weather, the defense limited the Browns to 240 net yards - the lowest total by a Texans opponent this season - and earned the game ball from head coach Gary Kubiak in the postgame locker room.

"That's what we go out to do every week is to shut people out," said linebacker DeMeco Ryans, who led the Texans with six tackles and had his third fumble recovery of the season in the first quarter. "We'd love to see zero on the board, but to hold them to field goals, that's big for our defense. And for us to make the big play and get the big turnovers for our offense and for our team, it was huge. We finally put it all together today as a defense and played well."

The Texans controlled the ball for 37:25 and racked up 383 yards of offense. Led by rookie running back Steve Slaton's 73 yards on 21 carries, the team collected 112 rushing yards while holding the Browns to less than 100 on the ground.

Quarterback Sage Rosenfels was 24-of-32 for 275 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, and wide receiver Andre Johnson led all players with 10 receptions for 116 yards. Receiver Kevin Walter had nine catches for 73 yards and a touchdown, his team-leading seventh of the season.

Johnson said the Texans had been determined all week to win the game after a rallying speech by Kubiak following the team's 33-27 loss at Indianapolis last Sunday.

"We went out and gave a great effort last week but fell short," Johnson said. "We just said if we continue to play like we played last week, we will win our share of games.

"Coach Kubiak was like, 'Are you guys with me?' and everybody screamed out, 'Yeah.' There wasn't any hesitation. There wasn't anyone feeling sad when everybody said that. Everybody was pumped up. We still have games to play."

The Texans scored on the game's opening possession on a 17-yard touchdown catch by Walter. The touchdown capped a 14-play, 79-yard drive that took 8:11 off the clock. Rosenfels was six-of-seven for 60 yards and Walter had three catches for 30 yards on the series.

The Texans caused a turnover on the Browns' ensuing possession when cornerback Jacques Reeves forced running back Jamal Lewis to fumble at the Cleveland 40. Ryans recovered the ball for no gain.

After the Texans drove 28 yards in 10 plays, kicker Kris Brown made a 31-yard field goal with 13:43 left in the second quarter. It was Brown's 15th consecutive made field goal this season, his best-ever start to a season.

The Browns got on the scoreboard with a 32-yard field goal by Phil Dawson that made the score 10-3. Lewis and running back Jerome Harrison combined for 32 yards rushing on the 62-yard scoring drive. Rookie linebacker Xavier Adibi blitzed on third-and-six from the Houston 14 and pressured quarterback Brady Quinn into throwing an incompletion that led to the field goal.

The Texans then drove to the Cleveland 31, but Brown's 49-yard field goal attempt was blocked by 350-pound defensive tackle Shaun Rogers to snap Brown's streak of consecutive field goals made at 15.

{QUOTE}After a 42-yard pass from Quinn to receiver Braylon Edwards, the Texans' defense held its ground in the red zone and forced another Dawson field goal, a 32-yarder that made the score 10-6 with 2:20 remaining in the half.

André Davis, in his first game since Oct. 19 after being sidelined by a finger injury, returned Dawson's kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown that would have put the Texans up 17-6. But the score was nullified by a holding penalty on rookie safety Dominique Barber, and the Texans instead started with the ball at their own 14-yard line.

The Texans managed a 31-yard field goal after driving 73 yards in 2:17, converting twice on fourth-and-short during the drive. On fourth-and-three from the Browns' 35-yard line, Rosenfels hit Johnson on a fade route for 22 yards. The Texans took their final timeout and then took a shot at the end zone, but Rosenfels' pass for Walter sailed long and incomplete. Brown came on and hit his second field goal of the game.

With three seconds before halftime, Cleveland couldn't corral Brown's squib kick, and running back Ryan Moats recovered the ball with one second left. But Brown pushed a 56-yard field goal attempt wide right, and the Texans went into the locker room with a 13-6 halftime lead.

After forcing Cleveland into a three-and-out on the opening possession of the second half, the Texans drove 33 yards to the Browns' 41-yard line. The drive halted when Rosenfels' pass intended for tight end Owen Daniels was picked off by safety Brodney Pool on third-and-four.

Defensive end Anthony Weaver gave the Texans the ball back two plays later on a zone blitz when he dropped back and intercepted Quinn's pass for Edwards at the Houston 49. Weaver returned the ball eight yards into Cleveland territory. Rosenfels led the Texans 25 yards in five plays, and Brown made his third field goal to put Houston up 16-6 with 8:53 remaining in the third quarter.

Cornerback Fred Bennett nabbed the Texans' second interception, his first of the season, when he stepped in front of Quinn's pass on third-and-two at the Houston 12.

On the Browns' next drive, Derek Anderson entered the game for Quinn, who broke his right index finger last Monday against the Buffalo Bills. Anderson drove the Browns into Houston territory in the fourth quarter with the help of three Texans penalties. Edwards dropped two passes on the drive, including one in the end zone, and the Browns couldn't come away with points as Dawson missed wide left on a 39-yard field goal attempt with 7:38 left in the game.

Three plays after Dawson's miss, Rosenfels was intercepted by safety Sean Jones, who returned the ball 20 yards to the Houston 27. But once again, Houston forced a turnover in scoring territory when Adibi fell on a fumble at the 45-yard line after Lewis dropped a handoff.

With tens of thousands of Browns fans already gone, Cleveland got the ball back with 3:09 left facing a 10-point deficit. Reeves thwarted their comeback hopes with his second takeaway of the game, picking off Anderson's pass intended for running back Jason Wright at the Cleveland 40. Reeves' 18-yard return helped seal the victory.

At 4-7, the Texans will be playing for third place in the AFC South when the Jacksonville Jaguars visit Reliant Stadium for the Texans' first-ever Monday Night Football game on Dec. 1.

Notes:Cornerback Dunta Robinson made his first start since suffering career-threatening knee and hamstring injuries on Nov. 4, 2007, at Oakland. Robinson started at right cornerback, and Reeves started at left cornerback....Johnson eclipsed the 1,000-yard receiving mark on his 22-yard reception in the second quarter, becoming the first player in the NFL to do so this season...wide receiver David Anderson made his first career start when the Texans opened in a three-wide receiver formation...rookie defensive end Jesse Nading made his NFL debut after being signed to the active roster off the Texans practice squad earlier this week.

Injuries: Green suffered a left knee injury in the third quarter and did not return. He will undergo an MRI on Monday and could miss a few weeks, according to Kubiak...Browns tight end Darnell Dinkins injured his ankle early in the first quarter. He returned in the second quarter, then re-injured his ankle in the third quarter and did not return.

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