The Texans fell 24-13 to the Tennessee Titans in a loss that was much closer than the final score indicated. Tom Savage threw for a single-game career-high 365 yards and one touchdown on Sunday. Three players recorded 70-or-more receiving yards, DeAndre Hopkins, Braxton Miller and Stephen Anderson. Alfred Blue forced a fumble on special teams and the Texans offense converted it into three points.
“It just doesn’t matter, you know? We got to go out there, we got to find a way to win, and I’d rather be one-of-50 with a win than whatever yards I had – I don’t know,” Savage said. “But, it’s just how this team is. It’s frustrating because you see how hard everyone works and how much we put into this, and it’s just not swinging our way right now. We’ll find a way.”
Houston outgained Tennessee when it came to total net yards on offense (384 vs. 344 yards for the Titans) and converted 50 percent of third-down attempts (8-of-16). The Texans defense gave up just 146 net yet passing yards the fewest allowed since Week 6 against Cleveland.
Still, it was not enough.
Injuries mounted as the six Texans players exited the game did not return: Bruce Ellington, Braxton Miller, C.J. Fiedorowicz, Alfred Blue, Jelani Jenkins, Johnathan Joseph. Newly-signed running back Andre Ellington filled in as a slot receiver and Stephen Anderson was the lone tight end for most of the game.
Fighting through the injuries and adversity, Houston remained within one score of the Titans with a chance to take the lead. On their final possession, the Texans overcame fourth-and-19 when Savage completed a 22-yard pass to Stephen Anderson. Driving down the field and deep in Titans territory, the Texans needed a touchdown to take the lead. Trailing 17-13, Houston’s final drive ended abruptly when Savage’s pass to Hopkins in the endzone was intercepted with 1:13 left in the game.
“We just got to keep getting better in these close games but in reality that’s the NFL,” right tackle Breno Giacomini said. “It always comes down to one or two possessions, five or six plays that determine each and every game so we just got to go back to work, there’s nothing you can do.”
The Texans remained alive until the final nail in the coffin came just three plays later, when Derrick Henry scored on a 75-yard touchdown run with 0:46 remaining.
Houston must now regroup and focus on the final four games of the 2017 season, which include two more divisional road games. Bill O’Brien, who led the Texans to a 9-7 finish in his first three seasons, will face a new challenge between injuries and preparing players to step in and fill roles of key contributors on both sides of the ball.
“I have confidence in our ability to coach and I really have confidence in our ability to get a team ready to play week in and week out and that’s what we have to do,” head coach Bill O’Brien said. “We’ve lost a lot of close games. That’s what this league is. Games come down to the fourth quarter like this one did today and we just have to find a way to get over the hump.”
With the loss, the Texans fall to 4-8 on the season. Houston returns to NRG Stadium to host the San Francisco 49ers in Week 14.
The Texans faced AFC South rival Tennessee in Nashville in Week 13.