Defensive end Mario Williams sacked quarterback Brett Favre in the first half.
A 75-yard touchdown run by All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson was exactly how the Texans didn't want to begin their Monday Night Football game against the Minnesota Vikings.
In the aftermath, the Texans lost 17-10 in front of a national audience and 70,191 fans at Reliant Stadium.
Last week against New Orleans, the Texans allowed a 46-yard touchdown by running back Mike Bell. On both long touchdowns, coach Gary Kubiak saw the same defensive breakdown.
"The bottom line, we made the same mistake on the backside of the play and how we insert the play from a defensive end and corner standpoint," Kubiak said. "It was disappointing, but they responded after that."
The Texans forced three consecutive punts following Peterson's home run. Defensive end Mario Williams' sack on quarterback Brett Favre stalled one drive, while two tackles by linebacker DeMeco Ryans stopped Minnesota's other drives.
The Texans' offense had trouble finding a flow until late in the first half. Quarterback Matt Schaub had one pass intercepted, leading to a 36-yard field goal for Ryan Longwell. In one half, Schaub finished 10-of-14 passing for 108 yards and one interception.
He rolled his ankle on a rollout during the Texans' 11-play, 71-yard scoring drive. Running back Steve Slaton's four-yard touchdown cut the Vikings' lead to 10-7 with 3:38 left in the first half.
Favre proceeded to lead the Vikings 74 yards on nine plays, capping the series with a 28-yard touchdown pass to running back Chester Taylor.
Hobbling on one bad wheel, Schaub engineered a four-play, 37-yard drive in the final 27 seconds of the half to set up Kris Brown's 46-yard field goal. It ended up being the final points of the game.
Leading up to the contest, Texans players reflected on from defensive end Jared Allen's low hits on Schaub last year that resulted in four missed games for the starting signal-caller. Tempers flared at one point in the first half as both teams were flagged for unnecessary roughness.
The bad blood between the teams likely will continue after Favre threw an illegal crackback block on safety Eugene Wilson, which resulted in a 13-yard penalty midway through the third quarter. Wilson lay on the field for a few minutes and fortunately was alright, but the play drew a cascade of boos from the crowd.
Quarterback Dan Orlovsky replaced Schaub on the opening drive of the third quarter. He completed his first two passes for nine yards before finding wide receiver Andre Johnson open for a 58-yard pass to the Minnesota 12. The Vikings challenged that Johnson stepped out of bounds at the 24-yard line, and the officials concurred after video review.
On fourth-and-one at the Minnesota 15, the Texans called a timeout before running back Chris Brown bulled his way for a first down. Orlovsky's next pass was intercepted by safety Madieu Williams at the four-yard line after the ball deflected off Johnson and sailed into the air.
"That was on me," Orlovsky said. "Knowing the way they were playing (Andre), he was singled up on the back side. The corner was sitting hard inside and I just tried to force it to him down there. Just a bad play by me."
The Vikings dug out of their end zone thanks to Favre's 13-yard pass to wide receiver Percy Harvin on third-and-nine from the five-yard line. On third down, rookie Connor Barwin's pass deflection forced a punt with 2:47 left in the third quarter.
Tarvaris Jackson replaced Favre early in the fourth quarter with the Vikings' offense beginning at its 20-yard line. He was sacked by veteran defensive tackle Jeff Zgonina, leading to a punt with 9:32 left in the game.
On the Vikings' following drive, former Texans quarterback Sage Rosenfels replaced Jackson. He tripped and fell on his second snap, and Zgonina sacked him for a six-yard loss. Minnesota punted five plays later.
Former seventh-round pick Alex Brink took over for Orlovsky on the Texans' final drive and completed two passes for 25 yards before his fourth down attempt to Anderson sailed for an incompletion.
NOTES: The Texans played without defensive tackle Travis Johnson, who was traded to the San Diego Chargers earlier today in exchange for a conditional fifth- or sixth-round draft choice. The move is not official until Johnson passes a physical.
Other players not dressing for the game included cornerback Jacques Reeves, linebacker Chaun Thompson, linebacker Brian Cushing and tight end Joel Dreessen.
Wide receiver Kevin Walter left the game in the second quarter with a right hamstring injury. Schaub left the game in the second quarter with an injury to his left ankle. Fullback Vonta Leach left the game in the second quarter to get his knee examined. He returned later in the game.