HOUSTON (AP) - Never mind that they've already clinched the AFC
South and a first-round playoff bye, the Tennessee Titans are
miffed about their 13-12 loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday.
A letdown could be expected after securing their playoff spot
last week, but a win against Houston and a Pittsburgh loss later
Sunday would have secured home-field advantage throughout the
Now, next week's game against the Steelers will have much more
"Hopefully we'll be up for the challenge and guys will come
back from vacation," linebacker Keith Bulluck said. "I think we
were on vacation this week, knowing we got a bye and whatever other
good stuff happened for us last week. But I know as a team we need
to get our heads out of our (expletive) and come out and play
football. Pittsburgh is playing for way more than us next week."
Andre Johnson had a career-high 207 yards receiving and a
touchdown, and Kris Brown added a pair of field goals to lead the
Texans to their fourth straight win.
Already eliminated from playoff contention, the Texans (7-7) are
shooting for the first winning season in franchise history. Sunday
marked the first time they've won four games in a row, and the
victory snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Titans.
"They weren't doing that well, but it was their Super Bowl and
credit them for being the good team today," Titans cornerback
Cortland Finnegan said.
Johnson struggled in Houston's first game against Tennessee
(12-2), finishing with just 29 yards receiving and dropping two
would-be touchdown passes. On Sunday, Johnson got going early, with
eight catches for 154 yards before halftime. It was the most
first-half yards receiving in the NFL this season.
Johnson put the Texans up 10-3 with a 13-yard touchdown catch in
the second quarter. He set that up when he got in front of Michael
Griffin for a 65-yard catch-and-run four plays earlier.
He has a career-high 1,408 yards receiving this season.
"Andre was special today," coach Gary Kubiak said. "The
reason he's special is because I can move him all over the place
and it doesn't bother him."
Johnson had more than a little help from his defense. The Texans
held Tennessee to 100 yards rushing after the Titans had gained 527
in the previous two games. It was the first time they didn't score
a touchdown since a 17-6 loss to the Chargers in last year's AFC
wild card playoff game.
With two minutes left, the Titans went for it on fourth-and-3
from the Houston 32, but Kerry Collins' deep pass to Justin
McCareins flew just out of his reach.
"That field goal may have won us the game, but I think we did a
lot of things to lose the game before that," Bulluck said. "I
think Coach (Jeff Fisher) made the decision he needed to make."
Fisher said he thought the kick wasn't in Rob Bironas' range.
"It was not a good coaching decision," Fisher said.
Tennessee's LenDale White put the loss in perspective.
"It's a big win for them as an organization," White said.
"(But) no matter what they do, they'll still go home (during the)
playoffs. We have a lot to look forward to."
Steve Slaton's runs helped the Texans to one more first down and
Houston ran out the clock. Slaton had 24 carries for 100 yards. He
had 116 yards rushing in the teams' first meeting, making him the
only player to rush for more than 100 yards against the Titans this
"The thing that has impressed us so much about this kid is that
he seems to run better at the end of games," Kubiak said. "For a
small player he gets stronger as the game goes on."
The Titans had to settle for a 34-yard field goal that made it
13-12 when Mario Williams tackled Collins short of the first down
on third-and-12 with about 5 1/2 minutes to play.
Brown's 24-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter pushed
Houston's lead to 13-9. Finnegan had two costly penalties on that
drive, one for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Matt Schaub and another
for spearing when he jumped head first to make a tackle.
Tennessee defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth was injured near
the end of the game when his left leg was caught under the pile. He
remained on the turf for several minutes while Titans officials
looked at him. He finally got up and hobbled off the field.
Fisher didn't have an update, but his teammates were concerned.
"We shouldn't have lost this game," defensive end Jevon Kearse
said. "We had plenty of chances to win this game and then for one
of our big defensive players to go down ... hopefully if he's not
able to go next week we have somebody else who can step in and pick
up the slack."
NOTES: Texans CB Antwaun Molden broke his ankle and will miss the
last two games. ... Slaton has 1,124 yards rushing this season to
set the franchise record for yards rushing by a rookie.