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Houston Texans

Texans-Titans postgame notebook


The Texans pulled off one of the biggest wins in franchise history with a 13-12 upset of the AFC South-leading Titans. Houston improved to 7-7 with their fourth consecutive win and became just the second team this season to beat Tennessee.

Kubiak revels in upset: For a week, the Texans had heard that the Titans had their number, owning an 11-2 record over Houston. It didn't help matters that Tennessee came into the game with the best record in football (12-1) and ranked third in the NFL in defense and rushing. Few people thought the Texans stood a chance.

"We've had a hard time beating this group," coach Gary Kubiak said. "To me, they're the best team in football right now. And for us to step up today and play the way we did, I'm just proud and happy for everybody to be able to walk out of there with a smile on their face today."

The Texans proved how tough they are on both sides of the ball. The defense did not allow the Titans to score a touchdown, held Tennessee to 2-of-13 on third downs and forced four three-and-outs. The Texans totaled 375 yards and controlled the ball for 36:22.

"We got in a nasty, physical football game," Kubiak said. "We're willing to play that way all day long and find a way to win like that. They're a heck of a football team. I'm proud of our effort."

{QUOTE}The win gives Kubiak a 9-4 record in December since joining the Texans in 2006. The team will play at Oakland and at home against Chicago to close out the season and could finish with a winning record for the first time in franchise history.

"I'm excited," Kubiak said. "You know I'm excited. I don't show it much, but I am very excited."

Slaton hits 100: Running back Steve Slaton entered the game as the only player to rush for 100 yards against the Titans this season. Now, the rookie can say he's done it twice.

"They're just good up front," Kubiak said. "They're so big and physical, so big. You can't reach the big guy (defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth) in there, so it's hard to get the ball outside. The ball stays between the tackles.

"The thing that has impressed us so much about this kid is he seems to run better at the end of games. For a small player, he gets stronger as the game goes on."

The 5-9, 203-pound Slaton, who recorded 116 yards rushing in his starting debut at Tennessee, found ways to move the pile and get first downs with extra effort. He did not have a breakout run until there was 1:55 left on the clock when he rushed for 34 yards and helped seal the win.

"Early on, the going was tough, and that's the way it is against a defense like that," quarterback Matt Schaub said. "You are going to get those one-, two-, three-yard runs. But eventually, when you wear them down, you are going to break out and get your 30-, 40-yard run like we saw there at the end. He just remained patient and trusted the offensive linemen with his reads and was able to break out of the pack there at the end and get a first down at the end of the game."

Slaton finished the game with 24 carries for 100 yards. It was his third consecutive 100-yard rushing game. By comparison, Titans rookie running back Chris Johnson, the NFL's leading rookie rusher, had 13 carries for 65 yards.

"We knew it was going to be a very tough game that was going to last to the last second, and it definitely did," Slaton said. "We knew that we had a good game plan running against them, and that's what we did."

Schaub hangs tough: The Titans had been Schaub's kryptonite since arriving in Houston. Last season, the quarterback was knocked out of both games against Tennessee, with one hit leading to a season-ending shoulder injury. In a Week 3 game this season, Schaub was sacked three times by the Titans, struggled to connect with receivers and threw three interceptions.

This time around, it wasn't exactly smooth sailing for Schaub, but he did find a way to withstand three sacks and an illegal hit when cornerback Cortland Finnegan was called for roughing the passer.

"We play them twice a year and that's how they play, and that's how we stand up and play it back to them," Schaub said. "Each person within himself did that today. They stood up and said, 'We aren't going to take that today. We are going to take it right back at them.'"

Schaub was harassed by defensive end Jevon Kearse, who recorded a sack, forced fumble and two passes defensed. But Schaub maintained his composure in the pocket and didn't throw an interception. He was 23-of-39 for 284 yards and a touchdown, helping wideout Andre Johnson finish with a career-high 207 receiving yards.

"I knew they were going to bring pressure and they were going to get to me," Schaub said. "But it's my job to drop back and get rid of it. You know they are going to do what they do, and I'm just going to keep throwing the ball and keep getting back up. And that's what we were able to do today."

DelJuan, the other Robinson: When the name Robinson is called over the loudspeakers at Reliant Stadium, it's usually directed at cornerback Dunta Robinson. That was not the case on Dec. 14. Defensive tackle DelJuan Robinson made a name for himself by recording three tackles for a loss, helping to hold the Titans to 100 yards rushing. Tennessee had been averaging 146.1 rushing yards per game.

"They have been drilling it in us all week, 'We have to stop the run, we have to stop the run,'" Robinson said. "We just got off the football. Plus, I have a teammate over there that plays offensive line from college (Titans tackle David Stewart) and he was talking smack. So I was like, 'Hey, we're here to play.'"

Injury notes: Cornerback Antwaun Molden suffered a season-ending injury when he fractured his ankle on a special teams play. Linebacker Xavier Adibi injured his groin and did not return to the game.

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