Titans eke out 13-10 victory over Texans

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Dec. 11, 2005) -- The Houston Texans aren't sure how many more ways they can find to lose games at the end. The Tennessee Titans know enough not to be picky.

Kris Brown hooked a 31-yard field goal short and wide left on an untimed play with no time left even as Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher was trying to call a timeout, and the Titans held on for a 13-10 victory over the hapless Texans.

Brown also had a 37-yard field goal attempt blocked by Tank Williams with 3:48 left.

Rob Bironas kicked a 21-yard field goal with 10 seconds left that gave Tennessee (4-9) the sweep of its AFC South rival, the Titans' third sweep in the four seasons since the Texans replaced them in Houston.

Tennessee tried to keep the ball out of Jerome Mathis' hands by squibbing the kickoff, but Todd Washington pitched it to the rookie returner. Mathis took off, and only Reynaldo Hill grabbing him by the face mask on the right sideline kept him from scoring. The penalty put the ball at the Tennessee 13 -- except the kicker jerked the ball left.

Fisher was grateful the officials didn't see him asking for the timeout.

"I don't know if I have another way to describe that other than that was ugly," Fisher said.

The Texans (1-12) lost their sixth straight in yet another game they had plenty of chances to win, especially at the end. After blowing a 24-3 lead against St. Louis and a late lead last week against Baltimore, Houston had not one, but two chances in this game -- the blocked kick and then the final one.

"In 20 years, I have never been through three weeks like we have been through here," Houston coach Dom Capers said.

Steve McNair set up Bironas' first career game-winning field goal by driving the Titans 70 yards in 10 plays with his second-longest run this season, an 18-yarder on third-and-4.

Brown said he had hoped Mathis would give him another chance after being low on his blocked kick, and he had been warming up on the sideline.

"I didn't pull my end of the bargain today," Brown said.

Rookie Adam "Pacman" Jones also scored the first touchdown of his NFL career on a 52-yard punt return after rejoining the Titans late Saturday night following a funeral for a close friend and the death of an aunt.

The Titans also sacked David Carr six times, including two by Kyle Vanden Bosch for a career-high 12 1/2 sacks this season. They held the Texans to 234 yards offense, and Vanden Bosch called the ending crazy.

"I thought we won, then I thought they brought it back. Then I thought the game was over, then I thought we were going to overtime. Then we ended up winning. It was crazy," Vanden Bosch said.

The emotions were very different for the Texans.

"Why can't we just find a way to make one more play?" Carr asked. "It's offense, defense, special teams, myself included. We all have to find a way to make one more play, and we won't be in that situation."

The Titans had to overcome their own ineptness in a sloppy game that featured a 21-yard punt by the Texans and a kickoff that would have gone out of bounds if not touched by Jarrett Payton at the Tennessee 15.

Tennessee turned the ball over on downs three times, missed a field goal wide right in the first quarter and had passes dropped in the end zone on two possessions.

The Titans were lucky all tickets for this game were sold in July because the stadium was half full on a cold, windy day.

Domanick Davis ran for 139 yards and caught seven passes for 50 more, and he gave the Texans a 10-3 lead with a 3-yard reception just before halftime.

Capers certainly tried to give his Texans every chance to win. He had Brown fake a field goal attempt in the fourth quarter on fourth-and-5, and the kicker ran for the first down only to see his field goal attempt blocked four plays later.

The Texans had been protecting Carr a little better since matching their season-high by allowing seven sacks to Tennessee on Oct. 9. Not this Sunday as the Titans sacked Carr once on each of the Texans' first three possessions.

The Titans couldn't take advantage with two receivers and a tight end missing the game with injuries, bogging down every time they got near the end zone. They finally scored on a Bironas field goal with 4:28 left in the second.

Notes:

McNair finally passed John Elway for fourth among NFL quarterbacks in yards rushing with his 18-yard run.
Jones' return for a TD was the Titans' first since Justin McCareins returned a punt 58 yards for a touchdown at Atlanta on Nov. 23, 2003.
Tusecond quarter that was his career-long.
Brown, who was a perfect 5-of-5 for field goals last week, was 1-of-3 against the Titans.

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