With a chance to tie the game on a 49-yard field goal attempt, Kris Brown's kick missed wide left with six seconds left on the game clock. The result was a 20-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans in front of a record 71,153 fans at Reliant Stadium.
Brown, who missed a 49-yard field goal earlier in the game, spoke to reporters after the loss.
"I don't know what to say," he said. "There are a lot of adjectives I can use right now. Disappointed."
The Texans' record falls to 5-5 with the undefeated Indianapolis Colts coming to town this Sunday, so there's not a lot of time to dwell on this defeat.
"It's very disheartening," coach Gary Kubiak said. "It's a great football game. Give them credit. They're a hell of a football team and they played a great game tonight and we played pretty good ourselves. And we had our chance to keep going in the game, but we didn't get it done.
"We didn't finish right there and stay on the field. So I know we're all very disappointed. We worked very hard and expected a different outcome, but didn't get it."
It was a heartbreaking end to a thrilling game between fierce division rivals. Quarterback Matt Schaub finished with 305 yards on 25-of-39 passing with two touchdowns and no interceptions, while wide receiver Andre Johnson caught four passes for 78 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, the Texans limited running back Chris Johnson from any huge gains, but the NFL's leading rusher still managed 151 yards on 29 carries (5.2 avg.). Houston did have trouble containing quarterback Vince Young's scrambling. The former University of Texas star rushed for 73 yards on 11 carries to go with 116 passing yards and a score. Young's 12-yard scramble on third-and-three from the Tennessee 48 put kicker Rob Bironas in position for the 52-yard game-winning field goal.
"It was devastating," cornerback Dunta Robinson said of Young's scrambling. "Coming into this game, we knew that he had been converting a lot of third downs with his feet, so we emphasized it. But it's easier said than done to go out there and stop it."
Rookie Brian Cushing forced a three-and-out on Tennessee's opening possession to set up Glenn Martinez's 11-yard punt return to the Tennessee 36. Cushing tackled Bo Scaife on a tight end screen for a five-yard loss on third down.
Schaub proceeded to complete his next three throws for 29 yards before his four-yard touchdown on a shovel pass to running back Steve Slaton.
Down 7-0, quarterback Vince Young responded by leading the Titans on a nine-play, 75-yard scoring drive. His 13-yard touchdown pass to rookie Kenny Britt evened the score with 12:50 left in the first half.
Thanks to a 37-yard kickoff return from André Davis, the Texans started their fourth series from their 40-yard line. A four-yard pass to wide receiver David Anderson gave Houston a first down at the Tennessee 47. The drive ended, though, when Schaub was sacked for a five-yard loss by defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch. In the game, Schaub was sacked four times.
He returned to the field with 6:54 left in the contest after another huge tackle by Cushing on third-and-12 from the Tennessee 14. Schaub fired a 32-yard pass to rookie James Casey on the third play from scrimmage. Three plays later, Schaub found Andre Johnson open for a 12-yard touchdown to cap the six-play drive over 2:53.
Before halftime, Young drove the Titans 75 yards on eight plays and handed off to running back LenDale White for a one-yard touchdown. Bironas' extra point tied the score with 54 seconds left.
On the opening drive of the second half, the Titans drove deep into Houston territory in part because of a 15-yard penalty on Cushing, who pushed Young as he was running out of bounds at the Texans' 43-yard line. On the next play, Young scrambled before fumbling off his knee at the 16-yard line. Safety Bernard Pollard recovered the loose ball for no gain.
After a five-yard catch by Slaton on third-and-five, tight end Joel Dreessen caught a 23-yard pass and fullback Vonta Leach was pushed out of bounds for a 14-yard reception. Four plays later, Brown's 49-yard field goal attempt missed wide right, giving the Titans possession at their 31-yard line.
Tennessee moved into Houston territory after a six-yard scramble by Young, who just missed his second giveaway a play earlier when his pass was dropped by Robinson. Later, Young scrambled 12 yards on third down to the 35-yard line. Bironas' 50-yard field goal gave the Titans a 17-14 lead with 2:49 left in the third quarter.
The Texans tied it up with Brown's 26-yard field goal late in the third quarter. Johnson caught a 49-yard play action pass to the Titans' eight-yard line to set up the score.
A 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct on defensive end Antonio Smith gave the Titans a first down at the Houston 30. On third-and-11 from the 31-yard line, Pollard broke up Young's pass intended for Scaife. Houston dodged a bullet when Bironas' 49-yard field goal attempt missed wide left.
With a chance to take the lead with 5:14 left in the game, Schaub led the offense to midfield before Slaton dropped a short pass on third-and-10. Matt Turk's punt pinned Tennessee at its six-yard line.
A 15-yard yard horse collar penalty on safety John Busing, who replaced an injured Eugene Wilson, gave the Titans a first down at the 24-yard line. Johnson broke free for a 22-yard run on the next play. On third-and-three from the Houston 48, Young scrambled left 12 yards for a first down. Four plays later, Bironas' 53-yard field goal attempt split the uprights with 47 seconds left in the game.
With the ball at the 38-yard line, Schaub completed consecutive passes to Anderson for 25 yards to the Titans' 37-yard line before the Texans called a 30-second timeout with 21 seconds remaining in the game. Wide receiver Kevin Walter snagged a six-yard catch on the next play. After Schaub spiked the ball, he dove forward to center the ball at the 30-yard line, where Brown's 49-yard field goal attempt missed wide left.
"We've got to keep at it," Kubiak said. "We've got to let it go. We're coming back Wednesday and we play probably the best team in football right now, and it's going to take a great effort next week."
Injuries: Fullback Vonta Leach left the game in the first quarter with a bruised left knee. He returned to the game in the second quarter. Safety Eugene Wilson left the game in the third quarter with an injury to his left big toe. He did not return.
The Texans received unfortunate news before kickoff, when wide receiver Jacoby Jones (calf) was listed on the inactives list. He's joined by quarterback Dan Orlovsky (3rd QB), cornerback Antwaun Molden, cornerback Fred Bennett, safety Dominique Barber, guard Tutan Reyes, defensive end Tim Jamison and defensive tackle Frank Okam.
Tennessee's inactives included wide receiver Justin Gage, running back Javon Ringer, running back Alvin Pearman, linebacker David Thornton, linebacker Collin Allred, guard Troy Kropog, defensive end Jevon Kearse and defensive tackle Jason Jones.