Glover Quin grades the Texans' D an A+ vs. Titans
The Texans were in control from start to finish.
Houston scored on their opening drive with a 54-yard touchdown pass from Matt Schaub to Lestar Jean. After a five-yard touchdown catch by James Casey and a two-yard touchdown run by Arian Foster, it was 21-3 Texans by halftime and they rolled to a 24-10 win.
The Texans defense, although short handed because of injuries was all over the field. Houston set a franchise record forcing six turnovers. Jake Locker threw three interceptions and fumbled twice.
Once again the Texans won the time of possession battle as they continue to lead the NFL in that category.
The turning point
The Texans took control of this game from the opening drive. Schaub found Jean for a 54-yard touchdown pass that capped off an 80-yard, six-play drive that took just 2:31
What it means
With the win the Texans have secured a trip to the playoffs for the second consecutive season. The win also gives the Texans 11 wins this season, the most in franchise history. It's Houston's sixth straight road win, also a franchise record.
As a unit the Texans did everything they had to do offensively to get the win. Schaub went 21-for-35 for 207 yards and two touchdowns. Ben Tate returned to the Texans' backfield and had three carries for 18 yards. Justin Forsett led the team in rushing with 65 yards and Arian Foster once again found the end zone for his league leading 13th rushing touchdown of the season.
Chris Johnson was no where to be found Sunday. Johnson finished with 13 carries for just 51 yards. Johnson averaged 3.9 yards a carry and was held off the scoreboard. Johnson racked up 141 yards against the Texans the first time they met this season.
It's no surprise anymore that J.J. Watt is the name that stands out each game. Watt is the best defensive player in football What was a surprise was that Watt had never forced a fumble in his career, until Sunday when he stripped Johnson in the second quarter. On Sunday, Watt had three tackles for loss giving him a NFL leading 28 on the season. With two passes defended against the Titans, Watt has a defensive lineman season record 15 passes defended. Watt also finished with a sack, five tackles and two quarterback hits Sunday.
The Texans secondary was littered with injuries but once again gave up over 300 yards through the air. Johnathan Joseph missed Sunday's game with a sore hamstring. Brice McCain left the game early with an injury. Houston needs to find a way to slow down the passing game with Tom Brady and the Patriots coming up next week.
Watt sacked Titans quarterback Locker in the second quarter to reach 15.5 sacks for the season. Watt and Reggie White were the only two players in NFL history to have 15 sacks and 13 passes defended until Watt tipped two pass and became the only player in NFL History to have 15 plus sacks and 15 passes defended in a season. Five of Watt's tipped passes have been intercepted by the Texans.
Did you know?
Rookie linebacker Whitney Mercilus recorded his first NFL start Sunday and recorded two sacks, two quarterback hits and a fumble recovery. Mercilus has five sacks on the season in his limited role and the rest of the Texans' linebackers as a unit have six sacks on the season.
The Texans set a franchise record with six takeaways.
After playing almost 10 quarters of football in five days, the Texans had 10 days to prepare for the Titans. For the second week on a row they will have extra time to prepare for their opponent. Houston will take on New England on Monday night next week. The Patriots have a huge lead in the AFC East after taking down the Dolphins Sunday. New England is chasing the Texans for home field advantage during the playoffs. This will be a huge test for the Texans but is not the end all be all if they lose. If both the Texans and the Patriots both win out the rest of their games, and the Texans do lose to the Patriots Monday, the Texans would still finish with the best record in the AFC and be slated with the top spot in the playoff picture.