The Tennessee Titans were the first dog out of the gate, going up 10-0 thanks to a defensive pass interference penalty on Justin Reid and a dump-off to Jonnu Smith that became a 61 yard touchdown after Tyrann Mathieu turned and chased, leaving the center of the field open. Down, instead of up early, the Texans faced adversity for the first time in forever. They were forced to actually do something on offense.
And that they did. Play-action was used to create easier passes. They hammered Lamar Miller on the left side of the line of scrimmage and flirted with 300 rushing yards, thanks to a 97 yard Lamar Miller touchdown run. Demaryius Thomas caught two touchdown passes, thanks to UT solving the unsolved mystery. Watson tiptoed around the pocket and was sharp throughout the game.
The Titans couldn’t do what Houston did. They fell behind and wallowed in it like they’ve done all season long. Rather than push the ball downfield and attack Houston’s cornerback talent, they instead dumped it off and dumped it off again. Marcus Mariota was a nice guy, taking sacks and refusing to throw the ball downfield in order to complete every pass except for one. When Tennessee did push it downfield, Corey Davis had three catches on three targets for 89 yards and a touchdown, all along the deep left sideline. That may not even be the most blasphemous part of Tennessee’s offense; they attempted to convert a 4th and 1 at the three-yard line by giving it to their third string tight end who came into the tackle straight up. What a stupid team. Somewhere, Mike Mularkey is howling. You never go kind of, sort of Exotic Methmouth. It’s like a tribal tattoo. It’s a lifestyle. It’s not something you can run away from.
Again, always and forever this year, when the Texans play teams that have to run the ball, they win. When they play teams that can spread Houston out and throw it around, the Texans will probably lose. This was another game where the Texans shut down an offense that is not only run heavy but also terrible at running the ball.
As a result, the Texans win. They’ve now won eight games in a row. They are now 8-3 and will play the Cleveland Browns next Sunday at 12 p.m. CST at NRG Stadium.