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Texans fall to Titans 38-36



A game that was less than a minute away from being legendary quickly turned against the Texans, whose biggest comeback in franchise history was thwarted by an equally impressive feat in a last-second 38-36 loss to the Tennessee Titans.

In front of 70,734 fans at Reliant Stadium, the Texans turned the ball over six times, but persevered thanks to a team-record 29 fourth quarter points, including a 53-yard touchdown pass from Sage Rosenfels to wide receiver André Davis that gave Houston a 38-36 lead with 57 seconds remaining in the contest.

But two catches for 63 yards by Titans wide receiver Roydell Williams stole the Texans' thunder, as kicker Rob Bironas booted his NFL-record eighth field goal of the game as time expired.

Coach Gary Kubiak took blame for the loss.

"I told my team I was proud of their effort," Kubiak said after the game. "I told my team that I did a poor job at having the offense ready to play. That's my job, and I did a horrible job at that. By the time we adjusted it was too little, too late.

"To have six turnovers and have the lead with 50 seconds left, I've never been a part of that."

{QUOTE}Tennessee scored 12 points off the Texans' turnovers, and quarterback Kerry Collins' 217 passing yards in place of the injured Vince Young paced the Titans' offense.

Meanwhile, the Texans' offense was stifled for 24 total net yards in the first half. In the process, starting quarterback Matt Schaub was sidelined on two separate occasions because of injury. At halftime, he left the game for good with ailments to his left ankle and right hip.

In Schaub's place, Rosenfels turned the ball over four times on a fumble and three interceptions, but put the team on his back in the final period and finished with 290 passing yards and four touchdowns, which tied the NFL-record for most passing touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

"We have a lot of pride in our team and our offense," Rosenfels said after the game. "We played so poorly for three quarters, and we didn't want to finish the game that way. At the very minimum, we wanted to finish the game scoring points. You never know what will happen in that kind of a game. Our guys kept battling."

After Bironas' 52-yard field goal on the game's opening drive, the Texans' offense began the game with an empty backfield on the first two snaps. After a loss of one yard on the first pass to rookie Jacoby Jones, Schaub found Jones again the next play for a two-yard loss, but linebacker David Thornton forced a fumble that cornerback Nick Harper recovered at the Houston 23 for no gain. Kubiak challenged the ruling on the basis that Jones was down by contact before the ball came loose, but the ruling on the field stood.

On third-and-seven at the Houston 20, cornerback Demarcus Faggins tackled tight end Bo Scaife, forcing a fumble that linebacker DeMeco Ryans recovered at the 14-yard line for no gain.

Under heavy pressure from the Titans' defensive line, Schaub threw two incomplete passes, leading to a three-and-out drive and Matt Turk's first punt of the game.

On the Titans' first play from scrimmage, Ryans blitzed to sack Collins for a six-yard loss. The hit jarred the ball loose, and Ryans picked up the fumble and returned it 26 yards for a touchdown with 9:51 left in the first quarter (


Following a Tennessee three-and-out, Schaub completed his first two passes for 15 yards before he was sacked for a seven-yard loss near midfield. Schaub recovered his own fumble on the play, but limped off the field with a left ankle injury. Rosenfels replaced Schaub, and was intercepted by Harper on his first pass attempt. After Harper's 30-yard return, the Titans' offense started from the Houston 38.

After a 10-play, 31-yard drive, Bironas kicked a 25-yard field goal with 52 seconds remaining in the first quarter to cut the Texans' lead to 7-6.

With 14 minutes left in the first half after another Houston punt, Collins found Williams open for a 39-yard gain to the Houston 10. Three plays later, Bironas' 21-yard field goal attempt gave the Titans a 9-7 lead.

Schaub returned to the game on the ensuing series, but the offense went three-and-out again after Davis' nine-yard catch on third-and-11 from the Houston 17.

A controversial pass interference penalty on Faggins in the end zone set up another Tennessee score. Running back Lendale White dove in for a one-yard touchdown that stretched the Titans' lead to 16-7 after Bironas' extra point.

After the Texans' third consecutive three-and-out series, the Titans capitalized with a nine-play, 38-yard drive. White rushed five times for 24 yards to set up a 30-yard Bironas field goal that put Tennessee ahead 19-7 with 1:06 left in the first half.

Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth was flagged 15 yards for roughing the passer on the first play from scrimmage. Schaub jogged off the field after team doctors attended to him, and Rosenfels returned to take over the offense at the Texans' 36-yard line. On the first snap, Rosenfels fumbled the ball and linebacker Keith Bulluck recovered at the 34-yard line for a two-yard gain and Houston's third giveaway.

With four seconds before halftime, Bironas kicked his fifth field goal to extend Tennessee's lead to 22-7.

After the Texans received the opening kickoff of the second half, Rosenfels' third down pass intended for Davis was picked off by Harper at the Houston 30. After a six-play drive, Bironas booted his club-record sixth field goal from 28 yards to give the Titans a 25-7 advantage.

Another three-and-out by the Texans resulted in Tennessee's second touchdown of the game. Running back Chris Henry rushed for a four-yard touchdown to finish a 12-play, 73-yard series over 6:24 that included 48 rushing yards.

The Texans' offense finally got the momentum on the following possession. Rosenfels completed five passes for 50 yards with a seven-yard touchdown to wide receiver David Anderson. On the two-point conversion, Rosenfels found Davis in the corner of the end zone to make the score 32-15 with 13:43 left in the game.

After the Titans punted for the second time of the game, the Texans took over on their one-yard line. On a play action fake, Rosenfels launched a 60-yard bomb that Davis hauled in for a 53-yard gain to the Tennessee 45. But there were offsetting penalties on the play, resulting in a redo of first down.

On third-and-nine from the three-yard line, Rosenfels threw another bomb that wide receiver Kevin Walter caught for a 40-yard pickup. After a five-yard encroachment penalty on the Titans, Walter caught a 23-yard pass to the Titans' 29-yard line. Two completions later, Walter caught his first touchdown of the season on a six-yard pass that made the score 32-22 after Brown's extra point.

A three-and-out by Tennessee gave the Texans some more hope, but Anderson fumbled the punt return, giving the Tennessee offense the ball at the Houston 33.

After the Texans forced another punt, Rosenfels had his fourth turnover when his pass intended for tight end Owen Daniels was picked off by Bulluck, who returned it to the Houston 17 before Anderson knocked the ball loose. Harper recovered the fumble with 4:14 left in the game. Four plays later, Bironas' 29-yard field goal, his seventh of the contest, tied the NFL record for most field goals in a game.

Rosenfels responded by leading the offense on a 12-play, 75-yard scoring drive that he capped with a seven-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jeb Putzier.

Trailing 35-29 with 1:41 left in the game, the Texans attempted an onside kick that Anderson recovered to give Houston possession. But the Texans were penalized for being offside, resulting in a five-yard penalty and a redo of the onside kick. Kris Brown's second attempt was recovered by rookie linebacker Zac Diles at the Houston 34 with 1:32 left in the game.

A 53-yard bomb from Rosenfels to Davis tied the score 35-35 with 57 seconds left in the game. The play was reviewed before the extra point, but the ruling on the field stood (


watch video). Brown's extra point gave Houston a 36-35 lead.

On the final possession, Williams' 46-yard catch over cornerback Dunta Robinson to the Houston 17 set up Bironas' game-winner.

Injury report

  • Matt Schaub left the game in the first quarter with a left ankle injury. He returned on the Texans' second series of the second quarter, but injured his right hip on the Texans' final series of the first half after being sacked by Albert Haynesworth. Rosenfels replaced him on the opening drive of the third quarter. Schaub's return is questionable.
  • Linebacker Shawn Barber left the game in the second half with a neck burner. He will not return to the game.
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