*From the press box - 3:05 p.m. *A penalty on linebacker Morlon Greenwood for illegal use of the hands gave the Titans a first down at the 39-yard line with a little more than three minutes remaining. The Texans' defense, which has been solid all day, will have to make one last stop to keep the Titans out of Rob Bironas field goal range. The crowd is doing everything it can to help with the noise in Reliant Stadium at a fever pitch.
I have to go down to the field, so that concludes our game blog on HoustonTexans.com. Be sure to check our website immediately following the game for exclusive live press conferences featuring Gary Kubiak and Andre Johnson, among others. Thanks for stopping by.
*From the press box - 3:00 p.m. *Controversy was a-brewin' down on the field a few minutes ago. Matt Turk punted and Tennessee's Carr was going for a fair catch when the ball bounced off of somebody and the Texans recovered the loose ball inside the 10-yard line. But the ruling on the field was that the ball was illegally touched by one of the Texans, making it Titans ball.
Kubiak challenged the ruling on the field, but the call was upheld after it was determined on video review that the ball touched Texans cornerback Demarcus Faggins at the 17-yard line. Looked like the ball bounced off of his head. Houston was charged with its first timeout, and the Titans now have the ball at their own 17-yard line with 3:55 remaining. The Texans still lead 13-12.
*From the press box - 2:54 p.m. *Andre Johnson is on another level than the rest of the players on the field right now. Johnson made a leaping, twisting, turning 40-yard catch near the left sideline over cornerback Cortland Finnegan, putting the Texans into Titans territory with less than five minutes to go and giving him 207 yards receiving on 11 catches.
Johnson is the first Texans player to ever record more than 200 yards receiving in a game.
*From the press box - 2:52 p.m. *With Bironas' fourth field goal of the game, the score is now 13-12 Texans with 5:23 remaining. Gotta hand it to the Texans' defense for holding its ground after being put back on the field when the offense went three-and-out. Bironas' fourth field goal was from 34 yards out.
*From the press box - 2:47 p.m. *The Texans are clinging to a 13-9 lead with 8:16 left in the game. They just punted the ball to the Titans, who will take the field from their own 39-yard line after a 17-yard punt return by Chris Carr.
Brown made a 24-yard field goal to extend the Texans' lead with 11:49 to go in the game. The Texans couldn't get into the end zone from first-and-10 at the Tennessee 12-yard line, but at least they didn't make any mistakes and turn the ball over.
Houston followed up that field goal with a charged-up defensive stop. On third-and-one near midfield, defensive tackle Amobi Okoye broke through the line of scrimmage and dropped Titans bruiser LenDale White for a two-yard loss. After the Texans' offense went three-and-out, the defense is now charged with the dual task of keeping its breath and keeping the Titans out of the end zone.
*From the press box - 2:15 p.m. *Ouch. Kris Brown, who had made 22 consecutive field goals from 40 yards or less, just missed a 26-yard field goal after the Texans had driven 56 yards in 16 plays. As we approach the end of the third quarter, it will be up to the Texans' defense to preserve Houston's 10-9 lead.
On the bright side, the Texans are dominating the time of possession battle 29:09 to 15:12. On their most recent drive, they didn't have a gain of more than eight yards yet spent 9:01 moving the ball from their own 35-yard line to the Titans' nine. Too bad they don't have any points to show for it, but you can bet Brown is already pining for a chance to redeem himself like he did last week at Green Bay, when he missed a field goal early and came back to make the game winner as time expired.
I'm going down to the field to pick up some photos of the game. Be back shortly.
*From the press box - 2:03 p.m. *Slaton may be averaging only 2.4 yards per carry on his 14 attempts, but he has shown plenty of grit today with his second (and third) effort on runs. Two runs in particular stand out - one in the first half when he was stood up by several Titans defenders after four or five yards but pushed a huddle of players forward several more yards for a nine-yard gain. The other was on the Texans' current drive, when Slaton was stopped behind the line of scrimmage on third-and-two from the Houston 43 but continued to push the pile forward, resulting in a three-yard gain and a Texans first down.
*From the press box - 1:57 p.m. *Rob Bironas nailed a 51-yard field goal to close the gap to 10-9 with 9:40 left in the third quarter. Houston got the ball to start the second half but had to punt after being unable to pick up a first down.
The Titans are only one-of-eight on third down today, with their first successful conversion coming on third-and-one on their most recent scoring drive.
*From the press box - 1:44 p.m. *Halftime by the numbers:
* 10-6:* The score, in favor of the Texans
18:36-11:24: Time of possession, in favor of the Texans
201: Total yards for the Texans
135: Total yards for the Titans
97: Yards the Titans have gained via six penalties on Houston
154: Receiving yards for Andre Johnson, the most by any NFL player in a first half this season
100: Receptions for Johnson this season
117.1: Passer rating for Matt Schaub, who is 12-of-17 for 177 yards and a score
2.3:Yards per carry for the Texans on 14 attempts
5: Tackles for linebacker Kevin Bentley, which leads all Texans
3: Tackles for DelJuan Robinson, who has been a force in run support
*From the press box - 1:37 p.m. *After the Texans had held the Titans to 111 yards on their first six possessions, they gave up 93 on a last-minute drive in the second quarter. The Titans drove from their own two-yard line to the Texans' five, thanks largely in part to a 36-yard pass interference penalty on Ferguson, and Bironas kicked his second field goal of the game to make it 10-6 at the half. Kerry Collins also had a 40-yard pass to wideout Brandon Jones on the drive as the Texans' defense struggled when it went conservative at the end of the half. Halftime by the numbers to come shortly.
From the press box - 1:27 p.m.
More stout run defense by the Texans led to another third-and-long for Tennessee (third-and-11 from the Tennessee 12) and another punt. After DelJuan Robinson stuffed LenDale White for a one-yard loss on second-and-10, Robinson's third tackle of the game, John McClain of the *Houston Chronicle *exclaimed in the press box that "DelJuan's going crazy today!"
The Texans started a drive inside Titans territory with 1:43 left in the half after the punt and Jacoby Jones' 11-yard return. Schaub was sacked for a seven-yard loss on first-and-10 from the 33-yard line, and it was initially ruled that he fumbled, but an official review overturned the call. But the Texans then backed themselves up with a false start penalty and couldn't past the Tennessee 40-yard line before punting.
Before the punt, Andre Johnson made his 100th catch of the season. Unless the Texans get the ball back before intermission, Johnson will head into the locker room at halftime with an otherworldly eight catches for 154 yards and a touchdown in just 30 minutes of football.
From the press box - 1:10 p.m.
Considering the opponent, this might be the best the Texans' defense has played all season. Safety Nick Ferguson forced a fumble at the Tennessee 15-yard line by popping Justin McCarreins immediately after he'd made a 17-yard catch on third-and-11. Tennessee is one of the best teams in the league at protecting the ball, coming into today's game 11 in turnover margin on the season. The Texans were -11 before today's game. Houston is 1 so far today.
Through their first five possessions, the Titans have only 80 yards and four first downs.
Rookie linebacker Xavier Adibi suffered a groin injury. His return is questionable.
*From the press box - 12:59 p.m. *There's a light rain down on the field. It's the first time ever that there has been rain at a Texans home game. And for the most part, it looks like the fans are all staying in their seats.
The Texans have now forced the Titans into two consecutive three-and-outs. Defensive tackle DelJuan Robinson made two big tackles in run support against Titans running back Chris Johnson on the Titans' most recent possession to lead to yet another third-and-long and yet another punt. The Texans punted it right back after they couldn't convert on third-and-one from their own 48-yard line. Schaub went deep for Johnson on the play, but his pass sailed just beyond 'Dre's grasp at the left sideline.
*From the press box - 12:53 p.m. *In the words of **Marc Vandermeer**- Rock & Roll! Touchdown, Andre Johnson on a 13-yard catch, and the Texans have a 10-3 lead. The Schaub-Johnson connection looks as good as ever. No. 8 hit No. 80 for 69 yards on the Texans' first play of the scoring drive after Houston's 'D' forced the Titans into a three-and-out. The Texans were backed up at their own 11-yard line after a punt. Schaub fixed that in a hurry by unleashing a beauty of a deep pass over the middle for Johnson, who had burned whatever Titans defender was trying to keep up with him.
Johnson already has five catches for 129 yards and a touchdown, and we've still got 11 minutes left in the first half. This is his seventh 100-yard game of the season.
The 89-yard scoring drive took only five plays and 2:50 off the clock.
*From the press box - 12:41 p.m. *Tie game. The Texans capped a penalty-filled drive with a 32-yard Kris Brown field goal on the first play of the second quarter, and the score is now 3-3. The 16-play drive was the Texans' longest of the season. Brown made his 22nd consecutive field goal from 40 yards or less.
Here's a look at the penalty fest that led to the score:
1-10 TEN 38:Intentional grounding on Schaub. Result: 15 yards and a loss of down
3-23 HOU 49: Roughing the passer on defensive end William Hayes, Kyle Vanden Bosch's injury replacement. Result: 15 yards and a first down
3-1 HOU 27:False start on the Texans for backfield movement. Result: Five-yard loss
3-6 HOU 32:Pass interference on Titans safety Chris Hope, who grabbed tight end Owen Daniels around the waist. Result: Four yards and a first down.
On the drive, Texans coach Gary Kubiak elected to go for it on fourth down and one from the 19-yard line - much to the delight of the home crowd - and rookie running back Steve Slaton rammed his way up the middle for a two-yard gain. It's been tough sledding thus far for Slaton, though. He had 116 yards on 18 carries in Week 3 against the Titans (he's the only player with more than 100 yards against Tennessee this season). Today, he has eight carries and only 11 yards.
From the press box - 12:21 p.m.
Wow, what a play by Schaub and Johnson on third-and-10. The Texans emptied out the backfield, the offensive line gave Schaub time to throw, and he threw an absolute strike to Johnson over the middle, threading the needle through two Titans defensive backs as Johnson made the catch in stride with arms extended. The 22-yard gain moved Houston to the 48-yard line.
*From the press box - 12:20 p.m. *Andre' Davis had trouble fielding a short Bironas kickoff and ended up with a 19-yard return to the Houston 26-yard line. Let's see what the Texans' offense can do in its second time on the field. Schaub hit Andre Johnson for a 15-yard pass on Houston's first offensive play of the game, but that was the only production out of the offense because Schaub fumbled on the next play.
*From the press box - 12:17 p.m. *The Texans' defense held its ground on a short field, limiting the Titans to a 26-yard Rob Bironas field goal. It's 3-0 Titans with 8:42 remaining in the first quarter.
The Texans have been able to force the Titans into third-and-long on two consecutive drives now. On the first, they came away with an interception on third-and-eight. This time, they forced a field goal by putting the Titans in third-and-11 from the 26-yard line.
*From the press box - 12:13 p.m. *The Texans managed only one offensive play before turning the ball right back over to the Titans. Titans defensive end Jevon Kearse blew past right tackle Eric Winston and forced quarterback Matt Schaub to roll to his left. Kearse tracked him down and caused a fumble that was recovered by Albert Haynesworth at the Houston 32-yard line.
*From the press box - 12:10 p.m. *The Texans, riding a three-game winning streak, came out of the locker room charged up. They turned that emotion into a turnover on the Titans' first drive when cornerback Fred Bennett picked off Kerry Collins in the end zone on a deep pass on third down from the Housotn 37. Collins' ball sailed to the right of wideout Justin McCareins, and Bennett came away with his second interception of the season.
*From the press box - 12:01 p.m. *Tennessee won the toss and elected to receive. And away we go.
From the press box - 10:44 a.m.
The Texans (6-7) are about 75 minutes away from going for .500 against the division rival Tennessee Titans (12-1), who have clinched the AFC South title and are playing to secure homefield advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. The roof is open at Reliant Stadium, and it's a beautiful day with 72-degree weather.
Titans defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, who has 4.5 sacks this season, is inactive. The rest of the inactives for the Texans' matchup with the Titans are below.
Check out all of our gameday coverage on HoustonTexans.com on the **Gameday Central** page.
Texans inactives are:
|16||QB||Craig Nall (3rd QB)|
Changes to the Texans' starting lineup:None.
Titans inactives are:
|8||QB||Chris Simms (3rd QB)|
|93||DE||Kyle Vanden Bosch|
Changes to the Titans' starting lineup:Dave Ball will start at right defensive end for Vanden Bosch.