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Week 17 Game Recap: Tennessee Titans 35, Houston Texans 14


What you need to know

Tennessee Titans

The Titans ran all over the Texans to a big win and playoff berth in last week’s game. Derrick Henry finished with his best game of the season, rushing a season-high 32 times for 211 yards and three touchdowns as he captured the NFL rushing title in the process. Ryan Tannehill didn’t need to do much as he attempted only 20 passes, but he finished with another multi-touchdown game, one of which went to top receiver A.J. Brown on a 51-yard catch-and-run touchdown. Brown was targeted eight times and hauled in four of them for 124 and a touchdown--his fourth 100+ yard outing in the past six games.

Houston Texans

It will be the standard business for the Texans heading into the Wild Card game with the Bills. The offense should be back to near full strength after Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins, Darren Fells, Kenny Stills, Carlos Hyde, and Duke Johnson being held out for most of the game.

It is still too early to pin down the status of wide receiver Will Fuller and his groin injury. It will be a situation to monitor as the week progresses.

Tennessee Titans

QB Ryan Tannehill, 61 offensive snaps, Pass: 13 - 20 - 198 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - 20 - 0
Ryan Tannehill’s first touch of the game was a big one as he tucked it and ran himself for a 19-yard pickup coming off a bootleg to the left side. Just a couple of plays later, he would hook up with A.J. Brown for a 51-yard touchdown. Tannehill did a great job buying time and rolling right before finding Brown about 10 yards downfield with an accurate pass while on the run to set up the score. On the following drive, Tannehill stepped into a great throw on 3rd-and-8 to close out the first quarter, finding Tajae Sharpe on an out route for a 13-yard gain to keep the chains moving. He capped off that 16-play drive by finding tight end Mycole Pruitt in the end zone from one yard out, scrambling at least 10 yards back as he bought time for Pruitt to finally get open as Tannehill lofted the ball right between the numbers to Pruitt. Tannehill made a few accurate throws on the third drive that ended in no points, including one big throw on third down that would have been a 20+ yard gain that Tajae Sharpe dropped on the right sideline. Tannehill made another big throw to A.J. Brown to lead off the fourth quarter as he found Brown on a 47-yard deep ball to get the Titans within one yard of the goal line. The throw itself was ill-advised as Brown was double-covered, but Tannehill put it where only Brown could get to the ball as he made the catch while falling out of bounds.

RB Derrick Henry, 47 offensive snaps, Rush: 32 - 211 - 3
Derrick Henry capped off the regular season with his biggest game of the year, finishing with a season-high 32 carries for 211 yards and three touchdowns. Henry started the second drive of the game by fighting for a few first downs, showing great vision to convert on a 2nd-and-3 and followed that up a few plays later by finding the left edge and out-muscling the defender to convert a 2nd-and-4. Henry would get stuffed at the goal line and miss out on a scoring chance at the end of this drive. On the following drive, Henry ran downhill for a 13-yard gain with his first carry of the drive, but he closed out the first half with a marginal 33 rushing yards. The second half, as has been the case all season for Henry, was a big one. He led off the half with a big run of 15 yards, finding space on the left side before stumbling to the ground instead of picking up what could have been a few more yards. A few plays later, the Titans offensive line set Henry up with impressive blocking for another chunk gain of eight yards. Henry continued to pick up chunk gains until finally jogging into the end zone from three yards out to cap off a drive on which he carried eight times for a total of 46 rushing yards. On the next drive, Henry followed up a couple of chunk gains for eight and seven yards by punching in another touchdown from the one-yard line--his second touchdown of the day. After the offense continued to lean heavily on Henry for the next few drives, he busted off another big run near the end of the fourth quarter for 23 yards, coming off a pitch left on which he easily beat the Texans defender to the sidelined and streaked 23-yards downfield. Just a couple plays later, however, Henry capped off this game with the big one--a 53-yard touchdown run right up the middle that would lock up the 2019 rushing title for Henry.

WR A.J. Brown, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 124 - 1 (8 targets)
A.J. Brown may have only finished with four receptions, but he made a huge impact on this game with a couple of very big plays while leading the team with eight targets. Brown’s first touch was a short pass for a minimal gain, but on the very next play, Brown would haul a reception while under tight coverage about 10 yards downfield. Brown shed his would-be tackler and proceeded to race down the sideline, beating safety Eric Reid to the end zone for a 51-yard score. Near the start of the second quarter, Brown made another big play as he found himself wide open over the middle to receive a pass from Marcus Mariota for 24 yards. With his final catch of the day, Brown picked up another huge gain near the start of the fourth quarter as he brought down a deep ball in double-coverage just one yard short of the goal line for a 47-yard pickup. Brown did a great job concentrating to bring the ball in and get both feet down while falling out of bounds with two defenders on top of him.

WR Corey Davis, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 44 - 0 (5 targets)
Corey Davis finished with yet another mediocre stat line after catching four of his five targets for 44 yards. His first catch was a 12-yard out route to convert a 3rd-and-nine near the end of the first quarter. A few plays later, Davis found himself wide open for what could have been at least a 20-yard gain, but Tannehill was under heavy pressure and blatantly overthrew Davis. Later on that same drive, Davis nearly had a touchdown on a six-yard catch if not for stepping out of bounds just a yard short of the goal line. On the following drive, Davis made a nice contested catch for an 11-yard gain despite the defender getting a hand on the ball. His final catch came on the last drive of the first half as Davis hauled in a short pass for 16 yards. He was not targeted at all in a second half dominated by Derrick Henry.


Houston Texans

QB AJ McCarron, 65 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 36 - 225 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 5 - 39 - 1
McCarron received the start and his first since the 2015 season and threw for 225 yards with the bulk of his yards going to DeAndre Carter, Jordan Akins, and Duke Johnson. McCarron looked under control for the majority of the game, and his only mistake is when he left one throw a little too far in front of Akins, which ended up being intercepted. McCarron did bring the Texans within a score after rushing for a one-yard touchdown run that saw him dive over the goal line breaking at least two tackles along the way.

RB Duke Johnson, 21 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 12 - 1, Rec: 5 - 45 - 0 (6 targets)
Duke Johnson played spot downs through the first half until the Texans pulled him to rest him for the playoffs. Johnson was able to start the scoring with a one-yard touchdown run and then able to chip in 45 yards receiving. His longest reception came for 14 yards and saw him break tackles and make defenders miss.

WR DeAndre Carter, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 65 - 0 (7 targets)
DeAndre Carter ended up getting the bulk of the wide receiver snaps despite Keke Coutee being active for the first time in a while. Carter was able to produce 65 yards with his longest reception being 21 yards. Playing both inside and outside, it was clear that McCarron was targeting Carter at all costs.

TE Jordan Akins, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 54 - 0 (7 targets)
Jordan Akins was the only Texans tight end really in the game plan, and he continues to make plays when the ball is in his hand. One thing is for sure when Akins gets the ball in his hands, he is going to break tackles, and he was able to do that once again versus the Titans defense. Akins longest reception was 20 yards and was able to do work on underneath routes too.