Tennessee Titans turn in a turkey against Houston Texans: Here's how it happened

Ben Arthur
Nashville Tennessean

In their ugliest game of the season, the Tennessee Titans were upset 22-13 by the struggling Houston Texans on a rainy Sunday afternoon at Nissan Stadium. 

The loss snapped the Titans’ six-game winning streak. It marked the Texans’ first win since their season opener Sept. 12.  

A few quick takeaways from the win by the Texans (2-8) over the Titans (8-3): 

Titans' worst start of the season bled into the second half

The Titans had their worst start of the season and couldn’t claw their way out of it. 

It started with a red-zone interception from quarterback Ryan Tannehill on the Titans’ second drive of the game. The interception was returned 82 yards into goal-to-go territory by Texans linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill. Although Houston didn’t score a touchdown, it got a field goal to take a 6-0 lead in the first quarter. 

Then Houston scored a touchdown on its third drive; the 76-yard series was its longest of the game to take a 12-0 lead into halftime. Tennessee had driven into field goal territory to end the second quarter, but Tannehill was hit with an intentional grounding call and clock runoff to end the half.  

The woes continued into the third quarter. 

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Receiver Chester Rogers erred on a punt return, with the ball hitting the back of his foot and the Texans recovering. Houston was gifted a first-and-goal to start its second drive of the third quarter. It took advantage, with quarterback Tyrod Taylor scoring off a scramble to extend Houston’s lead to 19-0.

Ryan Tannehill's bad day

Tannehill was 35-of-52 passing for 352 yards, a touchdown and a career-high four interceptions. 

With the Titans training 19-6 early in the fourth quarter, a 46-yard catch-and-run by receiver Nick Westbrook-Ikhine to the Houston 25 gave Tennessee hope for cutting the deficit to one score. But on the next play, Tannehill was intercepted by Texans cornerback Desmond King.  

Tennessee scored a second touchdown to cut its deficit to 19-13 – running back Dontrell Hilliard caught and fumbled a pass, but it was recovered in the end zone by tight end Anthony Firkser – only to squander its opportunity to take the lead with Tannehill's third interception.

The Titans outgained the Texans, 420-190. 

Tyrod Taylor’s legs hurt Titans

Both of the Texans touchdowns came on scrambles by quarterback Tyrod Taylor inside the 10 – a seven-yard run in the second quarter and a five-yard run in the third quarter. 

The Titans’ pass rush had been on fire in recent weeks, but it recorded just one hit on Taylor. He’s one of the better dual-threat quarterbacks in the NFL.

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Injuries continue to pile up

Receivers Marcus Johnson and A.J. Brown didn’t finish the game. 

Johnson was ruled out in the second quarter with a hamstring injury, and Brown, who returned early in the game from a hand injury, didn’t return to the field in the third quarter after suffering a chest injury that had him down on his knees. He took a hard shot to his upper body after a catch near the sideline. 

Their statuses are unclear. Tennessee already has receiver Julio Jones on injured reserve with a hamstring issue. 

Defensive lineman Teair Tart also was carted to the locker room in the fourth quarter. 

Entering Sunday's game, the Titans had used a league-high 82 players. 

Up next

The Titans travel to New England to face the Patriots next Sunday (noon CT, CBS). 

Ben Arthur covers the Tennessee Titans for The USA TODAY Network. Contact him at barthur@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter at @benyarthur.