NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Rookie Zach Mettenberger passed for 299 yards and two touchdowns, finding rhythm in the second half of a 30-16 loss to the Houston Texans.
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.
Mettenberger was 27-of-41 passing with touchdown passes to Delanie Walker (6 yards) and Justin Hunter (12 yards). 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, joining Jacksonville's Blake Bortles (first round), Minnesota's Teddy Bridgewater (first round) and Oakland's Derek Carr (second round).
he Tennessee Titans take the field for a Week 8 game against the Houston Texans at LP Field. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)
"This was my first game starting. There's a lot of things I can improve on and will improve on," Mettenberger said. "I think I did some things to show that we could move the ball and be successful."
Mettenberger completed long passes of 43 yards to Nate Washington and 48 yards to Kendall Wright in the second half, as the Titans set a season-high with 290 net passing yards, topping the previous high of 261 vs. Cleveland Oct. 5.
"I just wish I would have let it rip a little more early on," Mettenberger said. "As I settled down, I was able to let it rip and complete some passes."
Arian Foster combined for 173 yards and 3 TDs for Houston, which improved to 4-4. Tennessee's defense posted five sacks, including four in the first half.
"We made a few plays out there, but we killed ourselves in penalties," said tight end Delanie Walker, whose fourth touchdown catch of the season marked the second-highest total of his career. "If we can stop the penalties, we can get on a roll. Just stay positive, stay as a family and we'll get things going."
The Titans enter their bye week 2-6, returning to action on Sunday, Nov. 9 at Baltimore.
"You want to take care of your body but still stay focused and remain in your playbook," Walker said of the upcoming break. "You want to get off your feet and get refreshed so we can come back and hit the ground running."