HOUSTON (AP) - The Houston Texans talked all week about the importance of beating Tennessee on Sunday to enter the playoffs on the right track.
In the end, coach Gary Kubiak decided keeping his key players healthy entering next week was more important than a victory.
Houston (10-6) will head into its first postseason on a three-game losing streak. The Texans were locked into the No. 3 seed in the AFC playoffs and Kubiak played mostly reserves in the second half.
"You would never go for two there in any other situation ... but I had to get them to next week," Kubiak said.
Rookie starter T.J. Yates left the game after one series and was replaced by Jake Delhomme. Kubiak said Yates had a bruised left shoulder but could've returned if necessary.
"Obviously, I didn't want him to go back in the game," Kubiak said. "We'll know better where we're at (Monday) at this point."
The 36-year-old Delhomme, signed Nov. 29 in the wake of season-ending injuries to starter Matt Schaub and backup Matt Leinart, completed 18 of 28 passes, including a 5-yard touchdown pass to Bryant Johnson with 14 seconds left.
Kubiak called for a 2-point conversion at the end. But after a false start penalty, backup center Thomas Austin snapped the ball over Delhomme's head and the game was over.
The Texans certainly weren't happy about losing, but won't spend any time thinking about what happened on Sunday.
Tate finished that drive with a touchdown, but Yates came off the field favoring his left shoulder and went to the locker room.
Delhomme threw a 16-yard pass to Andre Johnson to get Houston moving again. Johnson caught two passes and sat out the second half after missing the previous three games with a strained left hamstring.
Neil Rackers kicked a 52-yard field goal with 1:09 left in the first half, but Bironas booted a 43-yarder on the final play before the break to put Tennessee up 13-10. Bironas extended his own NFL record by kicking a field goal of 40 yards or longer for the 10th consecutive game.
Texans linebacker Jesse Nading recovered a fumble by Ahmard Hall with less than two minutes left, and Delhomme completed 5 of 6 passes to drive Houston for the late touchdown.
Notes: Andre Johnson played about 20 snaps. Kubiak said he isn't ready to play 70 plays next week, but that he should be able to go 45-50. ... Kubiak said Houston OLB Bryan Braman has a stinger. ... Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips worked from the press box after missing two games following kidney and gall bladder surgery.