Houston released its frustration from a four-game losing streak on the Tennessee Titans Sunday.
In front of 70,855 fans at Reliant Stadium, the Texans manhandled their division rivals by limiting the league's eighth-ranked rushing offense to 24 yards and steamrolling the Titans' defense for 188 rushing yards.
That effort produced a 20-0 victory, the Texans' first shutout since 2004.
"I'm just very proud of (defensive coordinator) Frank Bush and the job he continues to do with those guys," coach Gary Kubiak said. "They deserve that type of outing."
The biggest story coming from the game may be the second-half brawl between wide receiver Andre Johnson and cornerback Cortland Finnegan that ignited a few minutes of mayhem between the teams on the field. After calm was restored, Johnson and Finnegan received unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and ejections for throwing punches.
Before his departure, Johnson caught nine passes for 56 yards (6.2 avg.) and a touchdown. He was awarded one of the game balls in the locker room.
"Him and Cortland go at it all the time, and they'll go at it again before the season is out this year," Kubiak said. "Before the day is over, they get kind of tired of each other. I just think it's a great battle. That's what our business is about.
"You don't want things to get out of control like that, though. Two great players, they need to be on the field not off the field."
Defensively, the Texans introduced a modified lineup with rookie Darryl Sharpton replacing Zac Diles at weakside linebacker, and Jason Allen playing nickel cornerback for Brice McCain. Those changes contributed to a stingy effort by Bush's unit, which had not held a team to fewer than 24 points all season.
Cornerback Glover Quin led the defense with the first three interceptions of his career, and linebacker Brian Cushing totaled a team-high seven tackles, four for loss.
"I just wanted to go out and play relentless," Cushing said. "If you play hard, good things will come."
Quin never lost confidence despite recent adversity in games at Jacksonville and New York, as well as his broken right hand.
"To be able to come out and put together a game like this and get the results that we got…it was just a great day," Quin said.
One of the top storylines entering the game was running back Arian Foster's matchup with running back Chris Johnson. Entering this week, only 36 yards separated Johnson from Foster's single-season rushing total. Now, Foster has a 174-yard lead over Johnson after gaining 143 yards on 30 carries (4.8 avg.).
His 16-yard catch early in the second quarter set up quarterback Matt Schaub's one-yard touchdown pass to tight end Joel Dreessen for the first points of the game.
Afterward, Foster praised his offensive line and blocking back.
"It's been fun running behind them," Foster said. "They're physical. This is a physical defense we were playing. I can't say enough about (fullback) Vonta Leach. I think people are really starting to recognize what he's able to do out there on the field."
In the second half, kicker Neil Rackers' pair of field goals extended the lead to 20-0. Quin's final interception in the end zone with 1:02 left in the game sealed the shutout and moved Houston's record to 5-6 with a Thursday night game at Philadelphia next on the schedule.
"Our chin's up this week," Kubiak said. "It's nice to go fix problems or fix issues when you win. I'm just happy for (the team) that we can move forward this week feeling a little bit better."