NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Titans (8-4) went to NRG Stadium in Week 4 of the 2017 season and were run out of the building by their divisional rivals, the Houston Texans (4-8).
Sunday, back on their home turf at Nissan Stadium, Tennessee held serve and avenged the 43-point loss, topping Houston 24-13.
The win did not come easy, though. With the Texans driving late in the fourth quarter, the Titans led 17-13. Quarterback Tom Savage had his offense in position to pull ahead, completing a 22-yard pass to tight end Stephen Anderson on a fourth-and-19 play to the Tennessee 29.
Reserve cornerback LeShaun Sims, thrust into a starting role late due to injuries, made the back-breaking play on Savage’s next attempt. Sims intercepted an end-zone pass intended for receiver DeAndre Hopkins and put his team back in control. The 75-yard Derrick Henry touchdown dash that followed solidified their position as the leaders of the AFC South.
Tennessee accumulated 198 yards rushing on 25 carries and two scores on the ground between Henry, DeMarco Murray and quarterback Marcus Mariota. In addition to 23 yards and a scramble for a six points, Mariota completed 15-0f-23 passes for 150 yards and a touchdown.
Houston opened the scoring after an early special teams foul-up put them in Titan territory.
Savage and company started the game with the ball and were forced to go three-and-out by Tennessee. Rookie Adoree’ Jackson fielded the ensuing punt at the 12-yard line and brought it back 25 yards to the 37. But running back Alfred Blue knocked the ball free and the fumble was recovered at the Titans 41. The Texans only mustered 36 yards on the nine-play drive but were able to put kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn in range for a 23-yard chip shot for the 3-0 lead.
A Ryan Succop miss from 40 yards away kept Tennessee off of the score board for the duration of the first quarter. The deficit grew to 10 points later in the second quarter when Savage found Anderson for a four-yard score to cap a seven-play, 87-yard possession.
Mariota and the offense reciprocated with a 10-play, 75-yard drive of their own. Henry broke out for a substantial 24-yard gain to set up his quarterback for a nine-yard keeper and six points on the board. A Succop make from 43 yards out with :08 left in the half tied the two teams at 10. Tight end Delanie Walker caught his second touchdown pass of the year on a 24-yard dart from Mariota to take the lead 17-10 late in the third.
Fairburn would miss two more field goals (from 48 and 28 yards) before closing the gap 17-13 with a 42-yard field goal with 4:42 remaining in the game but the Texans would not score again thanks to the Sims interception.
With the victory, the Titans won for the sixth time in seven games and remain alone atop their division with a record of 4-1 over the Texans, the Jacksonville Jaguars (8-4) and the Indianapolis Colts (3-9) this year.
A pivotal Week 17 contest awaits with Jacksonville on December 31st to end the regular season.
Wide receiver Rishard Matthews was inactive against Houston for the second consecutive game with a hamstring injury. Defensive end DaQuan Jones sustained a bicep injury in the third quarter and Logan Ryan was evaluated and diagnosed with a concussion. Neither returned.
UP NEXT: Tennessee goes on the road to Glendale, Arizona to face the Cardinals (5-7).