NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Thoughts on the Texans’ 24-10 win over the Titans at LP Field:
What it means: The 11-1 Texans secured a spot in the playoffs and continue to rank as the favorite to secure home-field advantage throughout. The Titans lost to Houston for a second time this season and, at 4-8, they can’t match last season’s 9-7 mark or post a winning record this season.
What I liked, Texans: They didn’t skip a beat despite a big shuffling at linebacker because of injuries and they were able to endure losses at cornerback, as well. Opportunistically, they took advantage of great field position provided by multiple takeaways for short scoring drives. They got a big, tone-setting play on their first possession when Lestar Jean took a mid-range throw to the left sideline, watched Michael Griffin miss an attempted kill shot, and raced 54-yards for a touchdown that made it 7-0.
What I didn’t like, Titans: Receivers got little separation for most of the game and let a number of catches go through their hands, including one to Jared Cook that would have been a touchdown and gotten the Titans within range in the fourth quarter. Jake Locker didn’t get a great deal of help, but he wasn’t accurate, throwing three picks. Two of those interceptions were deflected and another Nate Washington let slip through his hands. Locker also lost two fumbles, took six sacks and didn’t show a lot of feel for defenders being in his throwing lanes ready to get hands on his passes.
Injury issues, Texans: Already thinned out at cornerback and playing without Johnathan Joseph and Alan Ball, the Texans saw Brice McCain go down with a left foot injury. Tight end Garrett Graham left the game with a head injury.
Injury issues, Titans: For Tennessee, right tackle David Stewart suffered a fractured right leg and the team’s third tackle, Mike Otto, is hardly the mauler Stewart can be. Left guard Steve Hutchinson was knocked out with a knee injury, though he returned briefly when needed. Hutchinson’s replacement, Kevin Matthews committed penalties that washed away a couple of big plays for the Titans.
What’s next: The Texans play on "Monday Night Football" in New England in a game that could determine who hosts the AFC Championship Game. The Titans play at Indianapolis, hoping to avenge their loss to the Colts in Nashville earlier this season.