Texans-Titans MNF game blog

From the press box - 10:50 p.m. Game over. Titans win 20-17. Brown missed wide left from 49 yards out with one second showing on the clock. The Texans had moved 31 yards in three quick plays to set up the try.

Schaub connected with Anderson twice to start the drive - an 11-yard pass and a 14-yard pass. After the 14-yard gain, the Texans called their second timeout with 21 seconds remaining. Schaub then threw a six-yard pass to Walter to the 31 before spiking the ball to stop the clock with eight seconds left.

The ball was on the left hash, so Schaub ran to his right on third down after the spike to set Brown up in the middle of the field. With six seconds on the clock, the Texans called their final timeout.

Brown's kick hooked left, and the Texans found themselves a missed field goal attempt away from overtime for the second consecutive game. Their record now sits at 5-5 as they prepare for a home game in six days against the undefeated Indianapolis Colts.

If you're reading, thanks for checking out my blog during the game tonight. I've got to run down to the locker room now for postgame interviews; I'll post a summary of some of tonight's major story lines in a postgame notebook on HoustonTexans.com later on.

From the press box - 10:39 p.m. The Titans lead 20-17 with just 47 seconds left in the game. Bironas just nailed a 53-yard stadium-silencing field goal to complete a 59-yard scoring drive. It took 2:09 off the clock. The Texans have two timeouts left.

**On third-and-three from the Tennessee 48, Young dropped back and then took off to his left for a 12-yard gain. Then, surprisingly, the Titans threw it twice from the 40. After back-to-back incompletions, Young hit Britt over the middle for five yards to set up the field goal.

Leach returned a short kickoff 15 yards to the 38. They'll have 44 seconds to try to tie or win the game.**

From the press box - 10:30 p.m. We're at the two-minute warning. The Titans have quickly advanced the ball to their own 41. Chris Johnson scampered for 22 yards up the middle on the play preceding the two-minute warning. A play earlier, John Busing was flagged for a heavily-booed horse-collar tackle penalty after tackling Johnson at the sideline around the nine-yard line.

From the press box - 10:25 p.m. The Texans drove to near midfield at their own 47 before having to punt. Slaton dropped a pass over the middle on third-and-10. He was about five yards shy of the first-down marker and had some room to run, but it would've been close as to whether or not he got the first.

After another great punt by Turk (a 47-yarder down to the Tennessee 6-yard line, the Titans took over with 2:43 to play in a tied game.

From the press box - 10:17 p.m.The Texans forced the Titans to punt from their own 38 with 5:14 left to play. Jeff Fisher and the Titans ran a fake punt on fourth-and-seven that looked like it was going to work, but the officials blew the play dead because the Titans didn't get the snap off in time and were flagged for a delay of game.

Following the penalty, Martinez fielded a punt at the 20-yard line and made a nifty return for about 10 yards, but Glover Quin was flagged for holding to back the Texans up to their own nine.

Today's paid attendance was just announced at 71,153, a new Texans record. It's the 77th consecutive sellout for the Texans.

From the press box - 10:09 p.m.Bironas missed wide left on a 49-yard field goal attempt with 10:18 remaining. It was the same set of uprights that Brown missed wide right on in the third quarter. That gives the Texans the ball back 10 yards away from midfield with the score tied at 17.

Young continues to make plays with his feet. He ran 10 yards for a first down on second-and-six from the 37. He has eight carries for 51 yards.

On third-and-two from the 45, Young threw incomplete to Britt, but the officials showered the field with penalty flags. Robinson was called for holding on Britt, which was declined. Defensive end Antonio Smith was called for unnecessary roughness, a 15-yard penalty. Pollard broke up a pass over the middle intended for Scaife a few plays later.

As I was typing about that, the Texans' drive after the missed field goal just ended with a three-and-out. Chris Brown gained five yards on first down, but Schaub was sacked for a nine-yard loss on the next play by defensive tackle Tony Brown to lead to a punt.

Thankfully, Turk is on his game today. He sent off a booming 55-yarder that Titans punt returner Kevin Kaesviharn caught for a fair catch at the 10-yard line. Three of Turk's four punts today have been downed inside the 20.

From the press box - 9:55 p.m.The third quarter ended with a 26-yard field goal by Brown that tied the game at 17-all. The Texans moved 58 yards in seven plays leading up to the score.

The Texans' offense started at its own 34-yard line after a short Bironas kickoff was picked up by Leach. The Texans started the drive with two runs by Brown for nine yards. That set up a beautiful play-action pass on third-and-one. Throwing to his right, Schaub threw a perfect pass to Andre Johnson that went for a 49-yard gain. The game-tying field goal came four plays later after the Texans couldn't muster any more yards.

Vanden Bosch was injured late in the drive with an undisclosed injury. It was announced a few minutes ago that Eugene Wilson injured his left big toe. His return is questionable.

From the press box - 9:43 p.m.With a 50-yard field goal by Rob Bironas, the Titans have taken their first lead of the game. It's now 17-14, Tennessee, with 2:49 left in the third quarter. Bironas' field goal capped a 10-play, 28-yard drive that took 5:19 off the clock. The Titans didn't have to move far down the field after the Texans' long missed field goal.

The Texans saw a turnover slip out of their hands eight plays before the field goal. Cornerback Dunta Robinson made a great break on a deep ball from Young but dropped an interception that was right in his breadbasket. On the next play, Young evaded a pass rush and scrambled six yards to the right for a first down on third-and-four.

The Texans had the Titans in a third-and-nine at the Houston 47 three plays later, but Young scrambled left for 12 yards and another first down. On third-and-five from the 30, the Titans tried a designed run to the left with Young. Pollard greeted him two yards behind the line of scrimmage and stood Young up at the 32 along with a little bit of help from defensive end Tim Bulman. That brought on Bironas for the go-ahead field goal.

Texans free safety Eugene Wilson left the field during the drive with an undisclosed injury. He was replaced by John Busing.

From the press box - 9:34 p.m.A promising Texans drive came up empty as kicker Kris Brown missed wide right on a 49-yard field goal attempt with 8:08 left in the third. He had missed wide left on his previous kick, a 42-yarder as time expired at Indianapolis two weeks ago.

A 23-yard catch by tight end Joel Dreessen and a 14-yard catch by Leach helped to position Houston for the field goal attempt. Schaub targeted Casey on third-and-four from the 31, but his pass over the middle was batted down by linebacker Keith Bulluck.

From the press box - 9:29 p.m.On the opening possession of the second half, the Titans were poised to take the lead after driving deep into Texans territory. That scoring chance disappeared when Young fumbled the ball away to the Texans at the Houston 18-yard line. Young had run up the middle for 10 yards, but with linebacker Zac Diles lunging at his back, he lost control of the ball and Bernard Pollard recovered at the 16 with 12:35 left in the third quarter.

A play earlier, Cushing was flagged for unnecessary roughness when he made contact with Young after he ran out of bounds for a three-yard gain. The crowd didn't like the call - Cushing lightly pushed the Titans QB - but it moved Tennessee well into Teans territory.

Pollard, who had two interceptions in the Texans' last game at Indianapolis, now has two fumble recoveries this season. The Texans are marching down the field on offense and now have the ball past midfield.

From the press box - 9:18 p.m.The start of the second half is moments away, with the Titans set to receive. Here's a statistical look at the first two quarters in "Halftime by the numbers":

14-14:The score
172-164: Total yards for both teams, in favor of the Titans
127-70: Passing yards, in favor of the Texans
102-37: Rushing yards, in favor of the Titans
127.1: Matt Schaub's passer rating, on 15-of-20 passing with 2 TDs
122.9: Vince Young's passer rating, on 7-of-10 passing with 1 TD
40: Receiving yards by Texans receiver Kevin Walter, which leads all players
32: Yardage on Texans rookie tight end James Casey's career-long catch in the second quarter
7.0: Yards per carry for Steve Slaton, on three attempts
6: Carries for Texans running back Chris Brown
0: Touches for Texans running back Ryan Moats
86: Rushing yards for Titans running back Chris Johnson, the league's leading rusher
6: Tackles for Texans rookie linebacker Brain Cushing, which leads the team
0: Turnovers by either team
70: Yards gained by André Davis on two kickoff returns
From the press box - 9:07 p.m.It's halftime, and the score is tied at 14. After Andre Johnson put the Texans up by seven, Young and the Titans responded with their second 75-yard scoring drive of the game. It culminated in Young handing off to LenDale White for a one-yard touchdown run 50 seconds before halftime. Chris Johnson picked up almost half of the yards on the drive on one play, a 36-yard carry down to the Houston 25-yard line.

I was having some technical difficulties with the blog, so please excuse my delays midway through the second quarter. It looks like I'm back up and running now. I'll soon be posting a statistical look at the game in what I like to call "Halftime by the numbers."

From the press box - 8:52 p.m.Touchdown, Texans. Schaub to Andre Johnson for a 12-yard score, which made it 14-7 with 4:01 left in the first half. It was a quick-strike scoring drive that covered 58 yards in just six plays and 2:53.

A 32-yard catch by rookie tight end James Casey was the big play of the drive. It came on third-and-three from near midfield. The rookie from Rice has been targeted three times today and has two catches.

Before the Texans started their scoring drive, the crowd gave a couple of assists to the Texans' defense. On third-and-seven from the 19-yard line, the Titans called a timeout. Out of the timeout, they were flagged for a false start.

The crowd then went into a frenzy when Cushing stuffed Johnson for no gain at the 14-yard line. Cushing tried to do some sort of Michael Jackson-esque celebratoin but was mobbed by his teammates before he could pull it off.

From the press box - 8:38 p.m.Another nice return by Davis set the Texans up with good field position after the Titans' touchdown. Davis gained 37 yards to the 40-yard line, giving him 70 yards on his two kickoff returns today.

The Texans got across midfield on a four-yard pass from Schaub to David Anderson. The drive went backwards from there. On first-and-10 at the Tennessee 47, Brown lost two yards on a carry. That was followed by a seven-yard loss on a sack by safety Vincent Fuller, who came unblocked on a blitz from Schaub's blindside, and a five-yard loss on a sack by defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch on third-and-19.

That led to another punt. Turk again pinned the Titans inside their own 20 after his 45-yard punt was fair caught at the Tennessee 16.
From the press box - 8:31 p.m.It's a tied game, 7-7. Young to rookie receiver Kenny Britt for a 13-yard touchdown with 12:50 to go in the second quarter. That capped a nine-play, 75-yard scoring drive.

The score came on third-and-three. Young faked a handoff to the left to Washington on an end-around. He then rolled right and found Britt in the end zone with Dunta Robinson in coverage.

Vonta Leach is now back on the field to help block on the ensuing kickoff.

From the press box - 8:23 p.m.The first quarter has come to an end with the Texans leading 7-0. The Titans are driving, with the ball at the Houston 36 when play resumes in the second quarter. The last play of the first quarter was a 17-yard run by Johnson on an option pitch from Young.

The first quarter was pretty even statistically. The Texans, who received the opening kickoff, gained 88 yards to the Titans' 58. They picked up five first downs to the Titans' four and had the ball for 8:30 compared to 6:30 for Tennessee. The Texans were penalized three times for 17 yards, compared to one five-yard penalty on the Titans.

The Texans are giving Young plenty of time to throw. He nearly made a huge play on the third play of the Titans' current drive, rolling to his right from his own 28-yard line and unleashing a deep bomb to Washington. It was a great throw, but Washington dropped it at the 22-yard line as safety Eugene Wilson applied pressure.

From the press box - 8:16 p.m.The Texans didn't pick up another first down after Slaton's nine-yard run. They punted from the Tennessee 45-yard line; Turk's kicked sailed into the end zone for a touchback.

Titans ball at their own 20. Texans still lead 7-0 with 2:18 left in the first quarter.

From the press box - 8:13 p.m.Pinned on their own eight-yard line to start their third possession, the Texans got a big play on second down on a 27-yard pass from Schaub to Walter. Walter got behind cornerback Nick Harper on the right side of the field and made his catch near the sideline.

Slaton followed that up with two carries for 14 yards. On the second run, a nine-yard gain, he hit the hole with explosiveness and knocked over Harper before being dragged down.

Bad news on the play, though: Fullback Vonta Leach, a game captain tonight, was injured on the play. He was down on the field for a couple of minutes before limping off with a team medical staff member on both sides. He has a bruised left knee; his return is questionable.

From the press box - 8:05 p.m.The Titans gained one first down before being forced to punt again with about five minutes left in the first quarter. Vince Young connected with Nate Washington for 14 yards on the first play of Tennessee's drive. Three plays later, rookie cornerback Glover Quin batted down Young's pass intended for Washington on third-and-four from the 34-yard line. Quin, a fourth-round pick out of New Mexico, is making his seventh consecutive start tonight.

From the press box - 7:59 p.m.Touchdown, Texans. Slaton scored on a three-yard touchdown pass, an underhanded shovel pass from Schaub, with 6:36 left in the first quarter. It was a seven-play, 36-yard scoring drive that took 4:48 off the clock. The score is 7-0.

Running back Chris Brown is getting plenty of action against his former team. He started the game at fullback as the Texans came out Brown and Steve Slaton on the field. On the scoring drive, he had three carries and one reception, totaling 15 yards on the four touches.

Kevin Walter made a key play on the drive, laying out for an eight-yard catch and a first down on third-and-two from the 13-yard line. There was a scrum on the drive involving several players after a two-yard run by Brown to the Tennessee 19-yard line.

After the score, Davis and Foster combined for an outstanding special teams play, tackling Titans kickoff returner Michael Griffin at the Titans' 14-yard line.

From the press box - 7:51 p.m.Feeding off of an electric crowd at Reliant Stadium, the Texans' defense forced a three-and-out of its own on the Titans' first possession. Houston defense looked every bit like the league's No. 1 rushing defense since Week 4; Shaun Cody stopped Chris Johnson, the league's leading rusher, for a three-yard gain on first down, and Mario Williams dropped Johnson after a one-yard run on the next play.

After a five-yard penalty due to an illegal shift, the Titans lost five yards when Brian Cushing and Williams teamed up to throw down Bo Scaife in the backfield on a screen pass. The Texans started their next possession at the Tennessee 36-yard line thanks to an 11-yard punt return by Martinez.

From the press box - 7:44 p.m.The Texans' first drive was a three-and-out. Davis returned the opening kickoff 33 yards to the 37-yard line. Schaub threw an incompletion to Andre Johnson on first down and a one-yard pass to tight end James Casey on second down. He was sacked for a one-yard loss on third-and-nine by defensive tackle Tony Brown, leading to a quick punt.

Matt Turk's punt ended up inside the 20 with a fair catch by the Titans at the 19-yard line.

From the press box - 7:37 p.m.The coin toss was just completed with former Oilers coach Bum Phillips at midfield. Tennessee won the toss and deferred to the second half. The Texans will receive. They'll be looking to end a scoreless drought on opening drives this season; the Texans are 0-9 on their first possession so far this season.* *Country music artist Neal McCoy is singing the national anthem now.

From the press box - 7:32 p.m.The Texans' defensive starters were just introduced one-by-one to a raucous crowd. The energy in the stadium is palpable - the players are feeding off of the crowd already, and vice versa.

We've got all the TVs on ESPN up here in the press boxhere. The ESPN Monday Night Football Countdown crew made their picks for the game a few minutes ago. Five of eight ESPN analysts picked the Texans to win: Steve Young, Matt Millen, Stuart Scott, Cris Carter and Tom Jackson. Mike Ditka, Keyshawn Johnson and MNF Countdown host Chris Berman picked the Titans.

UPDATE (7:38 p.m.): Here's a photo from pregame intros from my vantage point in the press box. This was taken while rookie linebacker Brian Cushing was being announced.

11-23-intros.jpg

From the press box - 7:23 p.m.I would be remiss if I didn't mention the press box food menu, a home game tradition in my blog. Here's what we were served thsi evening from the wonderful catering folks at Aramark, along with a customary rudimentary photo from my iPhone:

Baked chicken
Andouille cheesy mac
Smoked cheese flautas
Sauteed green beans
Fresh fruit salad
Apple cobbler served with ice cream

11-23-press-box-food.jpg

From the press box - 7:11 p.m.The Titans just ran off of the field after pregame warmups toward their tunnel and the visiting locker room. More boos from the Reliant Stadium crowd. Setting the stage for a hostlie night in Houston.

The Texans are still on the field finishing with their warmups right now. Kickoff is about 30 minutes away.

From the press box - 6:53 p.m.One of the big questions on Houston sports radio today leading up to the game was how the Reliant Stadium crowd would receive Titans quarterback Vince Young, a local hero from Madison High School and the University of Texas. Young is 3-0 against the Texans and received a loud ovation from the crowd in 2007 when he ran 39 yards for a game-winning touchdown in overtime.

Judging by the chatter on the airwaves today, I'm expecting to see some burnt orange #10 Texas jerseys in the crowd tonight, as well as some Titans Vince Young jerseys. Haven't seen many yet, but when Young and the Titans' quarterbacks ran on to the field a few minutes ago, a heaping of boos rained down from the Reliant Stadium rafters. Color me shocked.

From the press box - 6:49 p.m.Number change: Rookie running back Arian Foster will wear number 27 tonight. He wears 37 in practice, but 27 was his college number at Tennessee. Practice squad running back Chris Henry wears number 27 during the week, and as it's been explained to me, Foster will be 37 during practice and 27 during games.

This is Foster's first-career game. He was called up from the practice squad after the Texans' bye week.

From the press box - 6:45 p.m.
Some Houston football royalty is in the building tonight - and, wiht all due respect to the Titans' quarterback, I don't mean Vince Young. Houston Oilers legends Warren Moon, the Hall of Fame quarterback, and Bum Phillips, the beloved cowboy hat-wearing coach of the Luv Ya Blue Oilers, are at Reliant Stadium to sign autographs for fans. Phillips will be the game's honorary captain and flip the coin at midfield.

Former Texan Tony Bosseli, the first pick of the 2002 expansion draft, will be on the field tonight as a sideline reporter for Westwood One Radio.

From the press box - 6:27 p.m.
It's about 90 minutes 'til kickoff for the second-ever Monday Night Football game at Reliant Stadium. The Texans (5-4) and Titans (3-6) are scheduled to kickoff around 7:40 p.m. CT. The Texans will be in their red jerseys with white pants tonight.

The stadium gates have recently opened, and fans are starting to file into their seats. Stuart Scott, Steve Young and Matt Millen are seated at their on-field stage for the Monday Night Countdown, which is airing live on ESPN as we speak/blog. The roof is open and it's a clear night with perfect 66-degree weather.

As noted in the inactives, wide receiver/kick returner Jacoby Jones is out tonight with a calf injury. He suffered the injury against the Colts and aggravated it over the bye week, as the swelling in his calf increased. Jones practiced on a limited basis last week, but he wasn't deemed healthy enough to play.

Jones won't be easily replaced. He has four touchdowns - three receiving, one on a kick return - this season and consistently has put the Texans in good field position with excellent kickoff and punt returns. Luckily, the Texans are deep at returner. André Davis is expected to return kicks; he had three kickoff return touchdowns in 2007. Glenn Martinez will return punts; he returned a punt for a touchdown against the Titans (on Monday Night Football, no less) in 2007.

I'm going to go see what's on the press box pregame menu. I'll report back shortly.

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