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(Sunday, September 20th)
Final Score: Houston 34, Tennessee 31
Nashville, TN (Sports Network) - Matt Schaub threw for 357 yards and four touchdowns on 25-of-39 passing, but it was Kris Brown's 23-yard field goal with 2:55 left that lifted the Houston Texans to a 34-31 win over the Tennessee Titans in a physical game filled with big plays.
Andre Johnson had 10 catches for 149 yards and two scores for Houston (1-1), which began the season with a home loss to the Jets. The Texans overcame not only a 14-point deficit in the first half, but also a huge performance by the Titans' Chris Johnson, who accumulated 284 total yards and three scores.
"After what happened last week, everyone having so many expectations, we didn't start off the way that we wanted to," Andre Johnson said. "What a way to come back and redeem yourself in an atmosphere like this."
Tennessee's Johnson had touchdown runs of 91 and 57 yards, and also recorded a 69-yard scoring reception, but it wasn't enough for the Titans (0-2), who lost a close game for the second week in a row. Tennessee opened the season with a 13-10 overtime loss to Pittsburgh.
Kerry Collins completed 21-of-33 passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns, but fumbled inside the final two minutes to help the Texans seal the victory.
"I think what you saw out there today was a game of big plays," Titans head coach Jeff Fisher said. "Unfortunately for us, we didn't make enough in the second half to win this ballgame."
The teams combined to score 48 points in the first half, and Brown's field goal was the only scoring in a heated fourth quarter. Intensity between the teams ratcheted up throughout the game and boiled over with just under 10 minutes left, when they had a brief brawl on the sideline that saw Titans defensive lineman Jason Jones ejected.
The brawl came during a Texans drive, with the score knotted at 31-31. A running play continued off the sideline, as more players from both sides concentrated in one area. The fracas ended soon after it began, though the referees assessed two penalties that offset each other.
Houston wide receiver David Anderson was given a personal foul, while Jones got ejected and left the field to cheers from the crowd.
The Texans eventually had to punt, but got the ball back after the Titans went three-and-out. Houston took over at its own 32 with 7:10 left and immediately got into Tennessee territory, as Schaub aired out a 44-yard pass to Jacoby Jones. It brought the ball to the Titans 24, and the Texans got as far as the five-yard line before Brown booted a 23-yard kick through the uprights.
Tennessee still had enough time for a potential game-winning drive, but after the Titans gained a first down with 1:42 left, Collins fumbled without being hit. Texans lineman Jeff Zgonina recovered as Houston ran out the clock.
The low-scoring fourth quarter was almost the exact opposite of the first and second, in which the teams traded scoring blows. The Titans got the game's first TD almost midway through the opening frame, when Chris Johnson got to the left sideline and beat everybody in a 57-yard dash to the end zone.
But the Texans responded with a long drive that took more than six minutes. Houston converted four third downs and ended the drive when Schaub connected with Andre Johnson from 19 yards out. The big receiver, running to the back right corner of the end zone, tipped the ball back to himself and secured it before going out of bounds.
However, for as long as it took Houston to even the game, it took only an absent-minded moment for the Texans to go back down.
On the second play of the next drive, Houston left Chris Johnson completely undefended as he lined up as a receiver on the left side. Collins avoided the pressure of an added rusher and tossed the ball to Johnson for the easy 69- yard score.
The Texans had to punt on their next series and the Titans took advantage of the opportunity as Collins and Nate Washington hooked up for an eight-yard touchdown, giving the Titans a 21-7 lead three minutes into the second quarter.
But this time the Texans struck right back. On the first play of the ensuing drive, Schaub found Andre Johnson open after Titans safety Michael Griffin let him run by. Johnson caught the ball near midfield on his way for the 72- yard touchdown.
A turnover then helped the visitors draw even. Collins threw a bullet up the middle under pressure, and it went directly to Eugene Wilson, who ran it back to the Titans 29.
The Texans took a couple shots downfield, one of which was to an open Jacoby Jones on the left side. He let that pass skim off his hands, but redeemed himself on the next play, catching Schaub's pass as he crossed the goal line with Cortland Finnegan on his back.
Tennessee challenged the call, as Jones dropped the ball after being spun into the end zone. However, the 29-yard touchdown call was upheld, making it a 21-21 game with 10 1/2 minutes left.
For all the early fireworks, the game settled down until halftime. The Texans tacked on a 38-yard field goal from Brown with 2:13 left, and Rob Bironas connected on a 40-yarder with two seconds left to make it a 24-24 game at the break.
The Titans went back on top in the third quarter, though only after they were backed up to their own one-yard line after a muffed punt catch by Ryan Mouton. A penalty gave Tennessee a first down at the nine, and after two plays for no gain, Chris Johnson found a hole between the tackles and again went the distance. The 91-yard score matched the longest run in franchise history.
"It made me feel good coming through the line, I just had one man to beat," Chris Johnson said. "A lot of my offensive line stayed running downfield trying to get blocks downfield to help me have a big day."
But the Texans again tied the contest, thanks to an 11-play, 65-yard drive later in the quarter. A pass interference penalty gave Houston a first down at the one, and Schaub gunned a pass to the middle of the end zone for Owen Daniels to make it a 31-31 game.
Andre Johnson's 10 receptions give him 500 for his career...Texans guard Chester Pitts suffered a right knee sprain with 4:41 left in the second quarter...Titans defensive end Jevon Kearse appeared to suffer a right knee injury, while punter Craig Hentrich also suffered an injury...Houston had no turnovers...Brown's field goals and extra points put him over 1,000 career points. He had 10 in the game, boosting his career point total to 1,008...Texans rookie linebacker Brian Cushing led the team with 10 tackles...Schaub's four TD passes matched a franchise record.
09/20 19:47:13 ET
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