Notebook: Titans Survive To Keep Playoff Hopes Alive

The Titans survived a late turnover and defeated the Texans 23-22 Sunday in Houston, keeping alive their playoff hopes.

Tennessee did everything it could to remain in line for the final spot in the AFC playoffs but needs Baltimore to beat Cincinnati, Oakland to beat San Diego and Denver to beat Kansas City.

If all those scenarios shake out, Tennessee (9-7) will make a return trip to Houston (10-6) next week. The Texans, who won their first AFC South title this season, locked up the No. 3 seed in the playoffs regardless of Sunday's game but played down to the wire.

Tennessee took a 23-16 lead on a 23-yard touchdown pass from Matt Hasselbeck to Nate Washington with 4:31 remaining. The Titans forced the Texans to punt and were trying to run out the clock when Ahmard Hall took a severe hit from Tim Dobbins and Brandon Harris.

Hall was shaken up on the play and fumbled the football, which Jesse Nading recovered for Houston at the Tennessee 36-yard-line with 1:49 left in the game.

Reserve quarterback Jake Delhomme hit Bryant Johnson for a 5-yard touchdown with 14 seconds to go, and the Texans lined up for a two-point conversion to win the game and end the Titans' season with a loss. Tight end Joel Dreessen committed a false start, and the ensuing snap sailed over Delhomme's head.

Tennessee defensive lineman William Hayes tracked down the football and secured it. The Titans corralled the Texans' onside kick attempt and took a knee to earn the 400th win in Titans/Oilers franchise history in their former city.

WASHINGTON HITS MILESTONES: Washington caught four passes for 92 yards, including a 55-yarder that set up the third and final field goal of the day by Rob Bironas.

Washington caught his seventh touchdown of the season, setting a career high, and finished the regular season with career bests of 74 catches and 1,023 yards. The seventh-year pro has caught at least one pass in 62 straight games.

AVERY SCORES ON FIRST CATCH: Receiver Donnie Avery's first catch as a Titan occurred in the end zone. Avery, who was born in Houston and played collegiately at the University of Houston, scored on a quick throw from Hasselbeck against single coverage to give the Titans a 10-7 lead in the second quarter.

It was Avery's first touchdown since November 2009 when he was in his second year in St. Louis. Avery missed the entire 2010 season with a torn ACL and started this year with the Rams, who cut him before the season started. He signed with the Titans in September after Kenny Britt tore his ACL and MCL.

Avery caught three passes for 45 yards, including a 21-yarder on the game-winning drive.

CJ JOINS CAMPBELL, GEORGE: Titans running back Chris Johnson rushed 15 times for 61 yards, finishing the regular season with 1,047 yards on the ground.

Johnson joined Earl Campbell (1978-81) and Eddie George (1996-2000) as the only men in Titans/Oilers history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in at least four straight seasons.

Johnson also caught four passes for 49 yards, the last of which secured an important first down on a third-down play by the nose of the football. The conversion occurred three plays before Washington's winning grab.

BIRONAS EXTENDS STREAK: Bironas kicked field goals of 21, 43 and 33 yards. He kicked a field goal of more than 40 yards for the 10th straight game, extending his NFL-record streak.

Related Content

Fan Zone

Titans + Nissan Stadium App

Titans + Nissan Stadium App

Stay up to date with team and stadium news, concert and event announcements, stream live Titans games and more!

Tennessee Titans Marketplace

Tennessee Titans Marketplace

A one-stop shop for Titans memorabilia, autographed items and more!

Tennessee Titans Email Newsletter

Tennessee Titans Email Newsletter

Get Titans news sent straight to your inbox.