Week 5 Game Recap: Tennessee Titans 34, Houston Texans 20
What you need to know
This was a what could have been game for Chris Brown. Brown rewarded his fantasy teams with a respectable 91 combined yards. Unfortunately, head coach Jeff Fischer opted not to reward Brown, giving Jarrett Payton a touchdown vulturing third quarter carry from the Texans’ five yard line. Following a fourth quarter end zone pass interference call, Brown was given an opportunity on first and goal from the one yard line, but he lost a yard on the play. Three plays later, after a second pass interference penalty in the end zone offered another first and goal from the one, McNair scored on a keeper. Brown did cross the goal line in the first quarter, but the play was nullified by a holding penalty. Obviously, a frustrating day for Chris Brown owners.
Drew Bennett was questionable to play this week with his injured foot and he was invisible through most of the first half as Steve McNair leaned on Ben Troupe for air support. About three minutes before halftime, McNair remembered Bennett’s number and went on to target him eight times, resulting in five catches for 99 yards and a touchdown. The injury didn’t seem to affect Bennett once he got in the game.
TE Ben Troupe caught all eight balls thrown his way for 67 yards and a touchdown. He was targeted on six of McNair’s first 12 passes, then Drew Bennett became a factor three minutes before halftime and Troupe played second fiddle from then on.
As expected, Houston’s offensive line was overpowered and the Tennessee pass defense applied pressure on David Carr every time he dropped back from center. They notched seven sacks and limited Carr to only 131 yards through the air and a single garbage time touchdown.
The Texans played the type of run first offense that made Domanick Davis an early first round pick in most fantasy drafts and he gave it his all with 85 first half rushing yards. The Texans found this game being pushed out of reach and did not utilize the run as effectively in the second half. Davis did stay involved in the passing game with eight catches for 43 yards, finishing the game as the Texans’ leading receiver. He had a 44 yard break away run in the first half that looked like it would be a touchdown until Andre Woolfolk caught him from behind at the Titans’ 29 yard line. Davis also took a David Carr screen pass into the end zone in the first half, but an illegal block in the back penalty nullified the touchdown.
The Texans’ offensive line is best known for allowing quarterback David Carr very little time to operate. This trend continued as Carr was hurried or hit nearly every time he dropped back to pass and added seven more sacks to his league leading season total, which now stands at 27.
Head coach Dom Capers and the Texans’ offense took some chances and were successful on a pair of short fourth down conversions in the first half, but settled for field goals on both possessions. They went for it again in the second half and David Carr had his pass tipped at the line and intercepted. It is clear that new offensive coordinator Joe Pendry is working to turn around his team’s scoring problems, but there just doesn’t seem to be enough talent on this offensive line to make the shift.
Andre Johnson was targeted on the Texans’ first offensive play and left the game with a calf strain injury. He did not return.
What you ought to know
|QB Steve McNair, Pass: 22 - 31 - 220 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 1 - 1|
McNair completed all six of his passes for 49 yards and a touchdown on the Titans’ opening scoring drive. He continued to play conservative, nearly mistake-free football finishing the game with 22 completions on 31 attempts for 220 yards and two touchdowns. McNair was not sacked this game and was only hurried or hit a handful of times. With a significant second half lead, McNair dropped back to pass only five times in the fourth quarter.
|RB Chris Brown, Rush: 22 - 78 - 0, Rec: 1 - 13 - 0 (3 targets)|
Brown was held to only 31 yards last week against Indianapolis. He eclipsed that number with his first six rushes this week showing some nifty footwork and hard running, finishing the game with 62 rushing yards on only 13 carries. He crossed the goal line on the Titans’ first possession, but the score was called back by a holding penalty. Both he and Jarrett Payton were given short touchdown opportunities, with Payton scoring from the five and Brown losing yardage on first and goal from the one. McNair kept the ball on the Titans’ next short touchdown opportunity and scored, frustrating Chris Brown owners once again. Payton ran out the clock when the game was out of reach.
Payton was given some sweet opportunities, entering the game when the Titans’ offense neared the goal line and scoring his first NFL touchdown on a five yard carry. He had one other positive carry for six yards, but his six other garbage time carries netted a goose egg.
Bennett, who was listed as questionable for this game with a foot injury, started but was forgotten by Steve McNair until three minutes before halftime when McNair looked his way three times. McNair continued to target him in the third quarter and Bennett finished as the Titans’ leading receiver with five catches for 99 yards and a touchdown. Bennett also drew a pass interference penalty in the end zone that would have been an easy touchdown.
The rookie caught three of the four passes hurled his way by McNair for 21 yards.
Calico was thrown to only once this game, in the fourth quarter.
Troupe was targeted twice in the red zone on the Titans’ first scoring drive and was McNair’s favorite first half target. On a third and goal play, he showed excellent poise in extending the ball across the goal line for a touchdown. Troupe was less active in the second half with only two targets.
Kinney grabbed all four passes aimed at him for 27 yards. He saw one red zone target.
The Titans’ third tight end was targeted once in the second quarter.
The rookie kicker hit from 52 yards out in the second quarter. He missed a 58 yard free kick field goal attempt with four seconds remaining in the first half, but was later successful from 49 yards and made all of his extra points.
Domanick Davis hung 130 rushing yards on the Titans’ defense with only 19 carries, including a break away 44 yarder in the first half. Had the Texans been able to make some defensive stops and keep the game close, Davis likely would have added much more to his total as he repeatedly picked his way through the defensive line for some nice gains.
The Titans’ pass rush was all over David Carr, limiting him to only 131 passing yards and a garbage time touchdown. Tennessee finished the day by sacking the league’s most hit quarterback seven times and hitting or hurrying him nearly every other time he dropped back to pass. Andre Woolfolk, who already made his bid for defensive player of the game by catching Domanick Davis from behind on a break away run, had the game’s only interception.
|QB David Carr, Pass: 18 - 27 - 131 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 5 - 24 - 0|
Carr was sacked 20 times in the Texans’ first three games this season and was hoping this trend would end under new offensive coordinator Joe Pendry. Unfortunately, this was not the case as the Titans added seven more sacks to Carr’s total. While he is doing a better job of getting rid of the ball when possible, he is still being blindsided by oncoming rushers and has absolutely no time to look downfield for his receivers. Contributing to his dismal day was the early exit of Andre Johnson who suffered a calf strain on the Texans’ first offensive possession. Carr did manage a touchdown in garbage time, finishing with only 131 passing yards.
It looks like the Texans’ new offensive leadership will prove advantageous for Davis as the team established the running game early and successfully. He provided the only upside to an otherwise dismal game for Houston, accounting for 183 of the Texans 302 total offensive yards. Even when the Texans were out of the game, Carr continued to hit him on short passes for positive yards. Davis scored on a screen play in the second quarter, but it was called back by an illegal blocking penalty.
Wells spelled Davis a handful of times.
Bradford caught Carr’s only touchdown pass and the ensuing two point conversion. He finished with four catches for 35 yards. Early in the third quarter, Bradford had coverage beaten in the end zone but the ball glanced off his fingertips.
It’s hard being a long ball threat when your quarterback has no time to look long. Gaffney caught two of his three targets for 24 yards and ran an end around for no gain.
Mathis saw his chances increase in Andre Johnson’s absence, but didn’t do much with the opportunity, catching only two balls for 15 yards.
Johnson left with a calf strain injury on the second play of the game and did not return. He was targeted unsuccessfully on the Texan’s first offensive play.
The tight end is not a fantasy factor in this offense.
For most of the game, it looked like Brown would provide the Texans’ only points. He made four field goals of 32, 38, 43, and 47 yards.
The Texans did a decent job keeping Chris Brown in check, 78 rushing yards, and stopped Titans’ runners for negative yardage on six of their last 12 rushing plays when they were trying to run out the clock. That said, it wasn’t enough to get the job done and the Texans still haven’t caused a turnover yet this season.
The Texans’ secondary was given two very good opportunities this week to record their first interception of the season and missed out on both. They just aren’t making plays and their team’s offensive woes are helping to keep the defense on the field far too long.