Three weeks ago the Titans were beaten up and down by the Houston Texans, losing in Houston 20-0. Sunday they returned the favor at LP Field, beating on the Texans and stopping their six-game losing streak with a 31-17 win.
Kerry Collins threw for 237 yards and two touchdowns, getting help from Kenny Britt, who caught six passes for 128 yards, and finally gave the Titans a big play threat they have been missing for weeks.
Collins threw touchdown passes to Nate Washington and Justin Gage in the first quarter and Chris Johnson scored on an 11-yard run to give the Titans a 21-0 lead in the first 13 minutes of the game, putting the Houston well behind the 8-ball for the rest of the afternoon.
“We got it handed to us pretty good,” said Houston head coach Gary Kubiak. Johnson rushed for 130 yards on 24 carries, while Kenny Britt caught six passes for 128 yards to help Tennessee (6-8) to its first win since October 24 over Philadelphia.
Matt Schaub was 35-of-54 for 325 yards, two touchdowns and an interception for the Texans (5-9), who fell to 1-7 in their last eight games. Arian Foster rushed 11 times for just 15 yards in the loss.
The teams also met in Week 12, an easy 20-0 Texans win that was mired by the fight between Houston wide receiver Andre Johnson and Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan. Tennessee quarterback Vince Young was pulled from that game, tossed his pads into the stands and argued with head Jeff Fisher.
“We just were keeping it on the gas,” said Finnegan. “It was personal this week for the last time in Houston when they man-handled us.”
The Titans jumped on Houston for a 21-0 lead in the first quarter.
Collins led a 60-yard drive on the game’s first possession, throwing a three- yard touchdown pass to Washington. Houston turned the ball over on downs when Foster was stopped on a 4th-and-1 play, and Collins hit Britt for a 59-yard completion to the Texans’ two-yard line on the next down.
He then found Gage in the back left corner of the end zone to make it 14-0, and Johnson broke a tackle on an 11-yard touchdown run about four minutes later for Tennessee’s 21-point lead.
“You dig yourself that kind of hole, it’s hard to dig your way out of it,” said Kubiak — and the Texans were never able to.
Houston didn’t get its first points until Neil Rackers’ 37-yard field goal with 5:45 remaining in the second quarter.
Titans cornerback Alterraun Verner intercepted Schaub near the end of the half and Rod Bironas kicked a 30-yard field goal to make it 24-3 at the break.
The Texans had a short week to get ready for Tennessee after losing to Baltimore in overtime on Monday night when Schaub threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown.
“These six days have been tough. We thought we had a good game plan,” said Houston wide receiver Kevin Walter, who had seven catches for 79 yards and a touchdown.
Johnson caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from Schaub on the first series of the second half, drawing the Texans within 24-10. Jason Allen intercepted Collins on the ensuing Titans possession, but Houston ended up punting. 0 Johnson broke off a 42-yard run to the Texans’ seven-yard line, and Javon Ringer rushed for Tennessee’s final points and a 31-10 lead with 28 seconds left in the third quarter.
Walter scored on a four-yard catch in the fourth quarter for the final margin.