Game Notes: Titans vs. Texans

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FOUR ROOKIE STARTERS:The Titans had four members of their 2014 draft class in the starting lineup against the Texans: inside linebackerAvery Williamson(fifth round), defensive backMarqueston Huff(fourth round), quarterbackZach Mettenberger(sixth round) and left tackleTaylor Lewan(first round).  It marked the first time the Titans started four rookies in a contest since a win over the New York Giants on Nov. 26, 2006 (quarterbackVince Young, fullbackAhmard Hall, linebackerStephen Tullochand defensive endSean Conover).  In addition to Williamson, Huff, Mettenberger and Lewan, rookie running backBishop Sankey(second round) did not start against the Texans but led the team in rushing attempts and rushing yards.  The only other 2014 Titans draftee, defensive linemanDaQuan Jones** (fourth round), was inactive.

METTENBERGER'S FIRST START: Rookie Zach Mettenberger recorded the first start of his career. The sixth-round pick became the fourth rookie for the franchise to start at quarterback in the last 20 seasons, joining Steve McNair (1995), Vince Young (2006) and Rusty Smith (2010).  Mettenberger also became the fourth NFL rookie quarterback in 2014 to start a game.  The others were Jacksonville's Blake Bortles(first round), Minnesota's Teddy Bridgewater (first round) and Oakland's Derek Carr (second round).

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he Tennessee Titans take the field for a Week 8 game against the Houston Texans at LP Field. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

NET PASSING YARDS:** The Titans set a season high with 290 net passing yards against the Texans, topping the previous high of 261 against Cleveland on Oct. 5.

PENALTIES DOWN IN SECOND HALF: After being penalized six times for 61 yards in the first half, the Titans did not have any penalties enforced in the second half.  It was the first time the Titans went a full half in 2014 without a penalty enforced.

METTENBERGER'S TOTAL THE MOST BY TITANS ROOKIE QB IN FIRST START: In his first career start, quarterback Zach Mettenberger was 27-of-41 passing for 299 yards with two touchdowns, an interception and a passer rating of 93.4.  He completed his first career touchdown pass on a six-yard throw to tight end Delanie Walker in the third quarter and added a 12-yard touchdown toss to wide receiver Justin Hunter in the fourth quarter.  His 299 passing yards were the most by a Titans quarterback through eight weeks of the season and the most in franchise history by a rookie quarterback in his first start.  His two touchdown passes were the most for the franchise by a first-time rookie starter since Jacky Lee's three touchdown passes against Denver on Nov. 20, 1960.

CAREER LONG FOR WRIGHT: In the third quarter, Kendall Wright posted the longest reception of his career, hauling in a 48-yard pass from Zach Mettenberger to top his previous long of 45 yards at St. Louis on Nov. 3, 2013.  Wright totaled three catches for 53 yards against Houston.

LONG RECEPTION BY WASHINGTON: Wide receiver Nate Washington's 43-yard reception in the fourth quarter was his longest catch since a 77-yard grab against the Jets on Sept. 29, 2013.  Washington led the team with 68 receiving yards on four catches.

WALKER REACHES 2,500: With four receptions for 37 yards against the Texans, including a touchdown, tight end Delanie Walker reached the 2,500-yard receiving mark for his career.

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WALKER SCORES:Tight endDelanie Walker** scored a touchdown in the third quarter on a six-yard reception.  It was his fourth touchdown catch of 2014, the second-highest total of his nine-year career.  He had six touchdowns in 2013.

FIRST QUARTER SHUTOUT FOR DEFENSE: The Titans defense kept the Texans scoreless in the first quarter.  It marked the third time in 2014 that Tennessee's opponent was shut out in the opening quarter (Sept. 7 at Kansas City and Oct. 5 vs. Cleveland).  

FOUR SACKS IN FIRST HALF: The Titans recorded four sacks in the first half against the Texans, marking the first time since Dec. 1, 2013 against Indianapolis that the defense recorded four sacks in a half.  Michael Griffin, Daimion Stafford, Avery Williamson and Kamerion Wimbley recorded sacks in the first two quarters against the Texans. Defensive end Ropati Pitoitua added a sack in the second half.  The five total sacks in the game made up the team's second-largest total of the season through eight games (six vs. Jacksonville on Oct. 12).

WIMBLEY NOTCHES SACK: Outside linebacker Kamerion Wimbley helped limit the Texans to a field goal late in the first half by registering a nine-yard sack on a play that began at the two-yard line.  The sack was Wimbley's second of the season, and it gave him 53.5 sacks in nine NFL seasons.

WILLIAMSON'S FIRST SACK: In the second quarter, rookie linebacker Avery Williamson notched the first sack of his career.  The fifth-round draft pick took down Ryan Fitzpatrick for a seven-yard loss.

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FIRST CAREER SACK BY STAFFORD:Second-round safetyDaimion Staffordrecorded a 12-yard sack ofRyan Fitzpatrick** on the final play of the first quarter.  It was the first sack of the former seventh-round pick's career.

ANOTHER SACK FOR GRIFFIN: In the first quarter, safety Michael Griffin dropped Texans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick for a six-yard loss.  The play gave Griffin three sacks in 2014 and six sacks in his eight-year career.  Previously, Griffin never had recorded more than one sack in a single season.

KERN PINS TEXANS WITH 62-YARD PUNT: In the third quarter, Brett Kern booted a punt that took a friendly bounce and went 62 yards.  It pinned the Texans on their own two-yard line.  Kern has a punt of at least 60 yards in three of the Titans' eight games this season.

BIG RETURN PUTS McCLUSTER OVER 1,000 PUNT RETURN YARDS: Dexter McCluster recorded a season-long punt return of 48 yards in the first quarter to help set up a field goal.  The return put the fifth-year veteran over the 1,000-yard mark for his career on punt returns.

GORDON STARTS IN FIRST APPEARANCE: The Titans offense began the game in a heavy formation, which included recently-acquired tight end Richard Gordon.  The fourth-year NFL veteran was signed on Oct. 22, only four days prior to the game.  He recorded his third career start and his first since 2012 as a member of the Oakland Raiders. 

INACTIVES: The Titans' seven inactive players were quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, wide receiver Kris Durham, cornerback Coty Sensabaugh, running back Antonio Andrews, tackle Will Svitek, tight end Taylor Thompson and defensive lineman DaQuan Jones.   

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