The Houston Texans took sole possession of first place in the AFC South on Sunday with a 24-21 win over the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee.
Houston overcame a three-touchdown performance by Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill, as Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson threw a pair of touchdowns and running back Carlos Hyde rushed for the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter.
With the victory, Houston improved to 9-5 on the season, and it controls its own destiny for a division title and playoff spot. Meanwhile, the Titans fell to 8-6 and are currently outside the playoffs in the AFC.
The loss ended a four-game winning streak for Tennessee, while the Texans gained some much-needed momentum on the heels of last week's disappointing home loss to the Denver Broncos.
Notable Fantasy Stats
Deshaun Watson, QB, HOU: 19-of-27 for 243 YDS, 2 TD, 2 INT; 7 CAR for 32 YDS
Carlos Hyde, RB, HOU: 26 CAR for 104 YDS, 1 TD
Kenny Stills, WR, HOU: 3 REC for 35 YDS, 2 TD
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, HOU: 6 REC for 119 YDS
Will Fuller V, WR, HOU: 5 REC for 61 YDS
Ryan Tannehill, QB, TEN: 22-of-36 for 279 YDS, 2 TD, 1 INT; 3 CAR for 10 YDS, 1 TD
Derrick Henry, RB, TEN: 21 CAR for 86 YDS
A.J. Brown, WR, TEN: 8 REC for 114 YDS, 1 TD
Jonnu Smith, TE, TEN: 5 REC for 60 YDS; 1 CAR for 57 YDS
Texans Overcome Interceptions, Blown Lead to Beat Titans in Tennessee
Houston made some mistakes Sunday and squandered a 14-point halftime lead, but it still managed to come through with a key road win over the team it was tied with for the AFC South lead.
The Texans overcame a red-zone interception by quarterback Deshaun Watson on the first drive of the game and eventually took the lead in the second quarter off a huge defensive play by Whitney Mercilus. With the Titans going in for a score, the ball was jostled free from Anthony Firkser and returned 86 yards by Mercilus:
Although he didn't score, Watson still managed to make the Titans pay with a 12-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kenny Stills:
On Houston's next drive, Watson connected with Stills again from 16 yards out to extend the lead to 14-0, which is the advantage the Texans held at halftime:
Per ESPN Stats & Info, that marked Watson's 70th career touchdown pass and put him in some elite company:
With the Titans failing to score in the first half, some may have wondered if Tannehill was reverting back to his old form, but NFL.com's Chris Wesseling suggested Tennessee's struggles weren't the fault of Tannehill:
The first drive of the second half was hugely important for Tennessee in terms of seizing back some momentum, and it did so by marching 76 yards on 15 plays and taking 9:26 off the clock.
The Titans went for it on 4th-and-goal, and they converted when Tannehill executed a play-action bootleg and ran it in for the touchdown:
Houston seemed poised to answer on the next drive, as it took the ball all the way down to the Tennessee 4-yard line, but Watson's pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage and intercepted by Jayon Brown in the end zone, marking Watson's second pick of the game:
With momentum on their side, the Titans got deep into Houston territory quickly on a creative pitch play to tight end Jonnu Smith, who ran it 57 yards:
A five-yard touchdown pass from Tannehill to rookie wide receiver A.J. Brown coupled with an extra point tied the game at 14-14 early in the fourth quarter:
Watson made up for his interception on the previous drive with a 35-yard completion to wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to put Houston in position for the go-ahead score.
Running back Carlos Hyde cashed in from 10 yards out with 10:34 remaining to put the Texans on top for good.
Houston added a field goal with 3:31 left, and although Tannehill threw an 11-yard touchdown to running back Dion Lewis with 2:04 remaining, it was too little too late with the Texans recovering the ensuing onside kick.
Houston has a potentially tough game next Saturday on the road against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers followed by its Week 17 home rematch with Tennessee.
The Titans will face one of their toughest challenges of the season next Sunday when they host the New Orleans Saints before a road clash with the Texans in Week 17.