Texans headed back to playoffs after topping Titans
Nashville, TN (Sports Network) - Matt Schaub completed 21-of-35 passes for 207 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Houston Texans to a 24-10 win over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
The Texans' defense forced three interceptions and recovered three fumbles, while Arian Foster carried the ball 14 times for 38 yards and a touchdown and Lestar Jean had a 54-yard touchdown reception for Houston (11-1), which clinched its second consecutive playoff berth with the win.
"It's amazing. Last year we clinched and the players were euphoric, this year they expect to get there," Texans head coach Gary Kubiak said.
Tennessee's Jake Locker was 21-for-45 passing for 309 yards and a touchdown, but threw three interceptions. Nate Washington had three catches for 96 yards and Chris Johnson rushed for 51 yards on 13 carries for the Titans (4-8), who have dropped four of their last five games overall.
"It is very frustrating to work so hard to turn everything around and go out and have a performance like that," Johnson said.
Dowell Loggains made his debut as Tennessee's offensive coordinator, but was anything but encouraged with the result.
"Nobody can be satisfied with this game from myself on down," Loggains said.
Earlier in the week the Titans fired offensive coordinator Chris Palmer, who entered the game ranked 24th in the NFL in total offense.
Houston scored on the game's opening possession when Schaub found Jean near the left sideline for a 54-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown. Jean started toward the middle, but cut back to the sideline and Schaub delivered a strike to the receiver. Jean then turned it up field and reached across the goal line as he was hit for the touchdown.
Rob Bironas' 37-yard field goal on the ensuing drive made it a 7-3 game. Earlier, Locker found tight end Jared Cook for a 25-yard reception and Johnson followed with a 26-yard rush to put the ball at the Houston 24. Locker's pass on 3rd-and-5 fell incomplete and the Titans were forced to settle for the Bironas field goal.
After the teams traded a pair of punts, Schaub hooked up with James Casey for a 5-yard touchdown pass. Schaub faked a hand off to the left side, rolled out to his right then found Casey all alone for the score. Keshawn Martin set the Texans up with excellent field position after returning Brett Kern's punt 42 yards down to the Titans' 20.
Locker's pass near the midway point of the second quarter was intercepted at the Titans 10 by Tim Dobbins and returned seven yards to the Tennessee 3. Two plays later, Foster waltzed into the end zone untouched to put Houston up 21-3.
After trading punts to open the second half, Locker was stripped by Antonio Smith and Whitney Mercilus recovered the ball at the Tennessee 36. The Texans were stopped on 3rd-and-2, however, and settled for a 50-yard field goal from Shayne Graham.
Locker found Kenny Britt for a 34-yard touchdown later in the third quarter to pull Tennessee within 24-10.
The Titans had chances to make it a one possession game on their next three possessions, but turned it over each time. Tennessee drove down to the Houston 7, but on 4th-and-3 Locker fumbled.
Houston was forced to punt six plays later, and Locker once again led the Titans into Houston territory, but on 4th-and-5 at the Texans's 33, Locker's pass to Kendall Wright was batted down and Houston took over.
After forcing another Texans' punt, Locker threw an interception to Darryl Sharpton and Houston was able kneel it three times to run out the clock.
"The team played very well offensively in the first half and played very poorly offensively in second," Kubiak said. We're missing some key defensive players, so you have to play well offensively. Then we turn around and play as good a defensive game as we played all year. That just tells you that you're a team, the defense was execution."
J.J. Watt had two passes defensed, and now has an NFL-record 15 on the year. Reggie White has 13 for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1991 ... Houston will take on the New England Patriots next Monday ... Titans right tackle David Stewart left in the first quarter with a fracture right leg ... Washington extended his streak of consecutive games with at least one reception to 74 -- 60 of which have come with Tennessee.
12/03 02:22:41 ET