NFL Game Summary - Tennessee at Houston
(Sunday, January 1st)
Final Score: Tennessee 23, Houston 22
Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Despite a tight victory over Houston,
Tennessee's slim chances of making the playoffs went awry Sunday afternoon.
Nate Washington caught four passes for 92 yards and a touchdown, including the
game-deciding 23-yard score late in the fourth quarter, as the Titans took a
23-22 victory over the Texans.
Matt Hasselbeck threw for 297 yards and two scores on 22-of-35 passing for
Tennessee (9-7), which was eliminated from postseason contention when Denver
lost at home to Kansas City later in the day.
"I think it just means as a team we're heading in the right direction. You won
more than you lost so that's a good thing," Titans head coach Mike Munchak
said about his team's record. "The good thing is the 9-7 means we're on the
After Washington's touchdown, the Titans held the Texans to a punt and were
going to try to run out the clock, but Ahmard Hall fumbled to give Houston the
ball back at the Tennessee 36.
Jake Delhomme found Bryant Johnson in the back of the end zone for a five-yard
touchdown with 14 seconds left on the clock to bring Houston within a point.
With the No. 3 seed in the AFC already locked up and perhaps not wanting to
risk an injury in overtime, the Texans went for a two-point conversion.
But Texans tight end Joel Dreessen was whistled for a false start on the first
attempt and the snap sailed over Delhomme's head on the second, with Tennessee
recovering for the win.
"We wanted to win the football game. That was important," Texans head coach
Gary Kubiak said about his decision to go for the two-point conversion. "Now
we've got to move on. Now we have a very, very big football game for this city
and this football team."
The Texans will host Cincinnati in the wild card round next Saturday at 4:30
T.J. Yates started at quarterback for Houston, but left the game in the first
quarter with an injury. Yates completed all four pass attempts for 47 yards in
his lone drive. Delhomme replaced him and completed 18-of-28 passes for 211
yards and a touchdown.
Ben Tate carried the ball 16 times for 97 yards and a score, while James Casey
caught seven balls for 91 yards for the Texans (10-6), who ended the regular
season on a three-game losing streak.
After a 22-yard field goal by Neil Rackers on the first snap of the fourth
quarter tied the game at 16, neither team crossed the 50-yard line until
Tennessee started a drive at its own 44 with seven minutes left in the game.
Faced with a 3rd-and-9 on his own 45, Hasselbeck found Chris Johnson over the
middle right at the first down marker to cross midfield. The referees brought
out the chains for the measurement and the tip of the ball just barely made
contact with the marker to keep the drive alive.
Two plays later, Hasselbeck floated a pass to Washington, who had worked
behind his defender and made a leaping 23-yard touchdown catch for a 23-16
Titans lead with 4:31 left in the game.
Delhomme tossed a 40-yard strike near the right sideline to Bryant Johnson on
the first play of Houston's ensuing drive to move the ball into Titans
But Tate was hit for a one-yard loss on first down and Delhomme was sacked for
a nine-yard loss on second down before having his third-down pass knocked to
the ground, forcing a punt and setting up the late fumble by Hall.
Houston marched 90 yards down the field on its first possession with a 13-play
drive that lasted almost seven minutes.
The Texans converted two third downs and moved down the field with a mix of
short passes and runs before Tate rumbled into the end zone from four yards
Yates took several big hits on the drive, though, and left the game with an
Each team traded three-and-outs over the next two touches before the Titans
took over at their own 28 and drove down to the Houston three. Chris Johnson
had a 27-yard run down the left sideline, but the Titans could not push the
ball into the end zone and had to settle for a 21-yard Rob Bironas field goal
early in the second quarter.
Houston later started a drive at its own three and managed to move near
midfield with a couple of big gains, but Delhomme was stripped of the ball by
Titans defensive end Dave Ball and Tennessee recovered at the Houston 33.
Hasselbeck turned the favorable field position into a one-yard touchdown pass
to Donnie Avery in the left corner of the end zone for a 10-7 Titans lead.
Rackers knotted the game by splitting the uprights from 52 yards out on the
Texans' ensuing possession, but Bironas snuck a 43-yard kick inside the right
upright as time expired in the half to give Tennessee a 13-10 lead at the
Tate opened the second half with a 56-yard rush up the middle after starting
right and cutting back to his left, but Houston would not get another first
down and Rackers nailed a 37-yard kick to tie the game at 13.
The Titans regained their three-point lead near the midpoint of the third
quarter after a 55-yard reception down the left sideline by Washington set up
Bironas' 33-yard kick.
Tennessee leads the all-time series 14-6...Hasselbeck's 297 yards gave him
3,571 for the year, marking his third career season with over 3,500 yards. His
day also gave him 33,150 yards for his career, making him the 25th player in
NFL history to throw for that many yards...Chris Johnson carried the ball 15
times for 61 yards to give him 1,047 for the year, joining Hall of Famers Earl
Campbell and Eddie George as the only players in Titans history to rush for
1,000 yards in four consecutive seasons...Washington ended the season with
1,023 receiving yards to surpass 1,000 yards for the first time in his career.
01/01 22:21:39 ET
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