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Texans' defense hammers sloppy Titans

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Does anyone want to win the AFC South? That's up for debate, but the Texans used a single-game franchise record seven sacks to knock off Tennessee 20-6. Here's what we learned:

1. Brian Hoyer came into the game having thrown a trio of touchdowns in back-to-back games. He added two more against the Titans defense on Sunday. Hoyer completed 10 straight passes at one stretch, although much of that was check-down material. While the Texans still need to find their quarterback of the future in the draft, Hoyer now has 13 touchdowns to just three picks on the year. He's a placeholder under center, but it's shocking that Houston's coaching staff repeatedly opted for the recently dumped Ryan Mallett.

2. Titans quarterbacks have lost 16 of their last 17 starts. With Zach Mettenberger filling in again for the banged-up Marcus Mariota, the shaky Tennessee passer threw for just 33 first-half yards. It went south from there, with Mettenberger committing two critical turnovers and crumbling against Houston's active pass rush. This game should help Titans fans feel good about Mariota: Tennessee is worlds more intriguing with the No. 2 overall pick under center.

3. After Texans end Jadeveon Clowney limped off the field with a back injury, Whitney Mercilus stepped up to post 3.5 sacks and cause constant headaches for Tennessee. J.J. Watt also put on a show with another 2.5 takedowns, eight quarterback hits and a momentum-swinging forced fumble of Mettenberger. Watt has multiple sacks against the Titans in six of their last seven meetings. After giving up an average of 34.8 points per game over their past four outings, Houston's defense responded well to last week's Dolphins wipeout with its best performance of the year.

4. With second-year running back Antonio Andrews taking over as Tennessee's starting running back, Bishop Sankey didn't help his case with a game-changing fumble in the first half that set up a Texans field goal. Andrews is far from eye-popping material, but the second-year runner led Tennessee with 64 yards off 16 totes.

5. There's very little hope this season for a Texans team forced to run the ball without Arian Foster. While Titans defensive aide Dick LeBeau praised Houston's committee of backs, Chris Polk and Alfred Blue ran for just 56 yards on the day at 2.4 yards per carry.

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