By Ron Wynn

NASHVILLE, TN — The Tennessee Titans put together their worse game of the season in a most unexpected manner, with their 22-13 home loss to the Houston Texans reducing their division lead over the Colts to two games, and snapping their six-game winning streak. The Texans had lost eight straight before Sunday, but they took a 19-point lead over the Titans, then held on when it seemed as though Tennessee would find a win to rally. 

For the past couple of games, the Titans seemed able to withstand the wave of injuries that’s seen them use a league-high 82 players before Sunday. They lost two more receivers Sunday, as Marcus Johnson and A.J. Brown were both hurt in the first half and left the game unable to return.  Late in the fourth quarter they also lost defensive lineman Teair Tart. who was carted off to the locker room,

But playing in wet conditions throughout, QB Ryan Tannehill had his worse game since joining the team. He had a career-worse four interceptions, including a red zone one in the first quarter that got things off to bad start. The Titans’ defense actually didn’t allow a touchdown on that one, but it helped the Texans get a field goal and expand their early lead to 6-0.

The defense gave up a touchdown on a 76-yard drive, but the Texans missed the extra point to lead 12-0. Later a muffed punt by Chester Rogers allowed the Texans to get a quick third quarter score and go ahead 19-0 before the Titans cut it to 19-6 and then 19-13. But interceptions prevented the Titans from getting into position for a gp-ahead sore and ultimately led to the Texans’ final field goal and eventual 22-13 margin,

Tannehill did complete 35 of 52 passes for 352 yards and one score, but the Titans’ five turnovers proved too much to overcome. Tight end Anthony Firsker got his first touchdown of the season on a recovered fumble in the end zone. Wide receiver Nick Westbrook-Ikhine had his first 100-yard plus receiving game of the season including a key 46-yard reception in the fourth quarter. But despite outgaining the Texans 420-190, the Titans couldn’t do two key things defensively. One was prevent Texans’ QB Tyrod Taylor from scoring twice on touchdown runs of seven and five yards, and the other was sack him. 

So the Titans now head to New England, going against a team that’s won five in a row and whose defense has been the best in the league the last few weeks. It’s strange that the Titans this season have beaten five teams who were in the playoffs last year, but lost to the Jets and the Texans. They also are now only a half-game ahead of the Baltimore Ravens for best record in the AFC.