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Six Things That Stood Out

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Six Things That Stood Out for the Titans in Saturday's Loss to the Texans


NASHVILLE – The Titans lost to the Texans 19-14 on Saturday at Nissan Stadium.

Here's a look at six things that stood out from the contest:

Derrick Henry's Day

Titans running back Derrick Henry racked up nearly half of his team's offensive yards on Sunday. Henry ran for 126 yards and a touchdown – a 48-yard burst in the first half. But Henry beat himself up after the contest because of his fourth quarter fumble, which turned the game. With the Titans leading 14-10 and driving, Henry had the ball ripped from his arms. The Texans jumped on the loose ball, and then proceeded to score a field goal. It set the stage for nine straight points for the Texans to close out the game. "I'm putting this one on me. ... I feel like crap right now," Henry said. "I have to take care of the ball. The organization puts a lot on me to carry the ball, and I put a lot on my shoulders to do what I can for this team. That's three games in a row I've fumbled the ball, and I need to be better. I feel terrible about it."

Malik Willis Ups and Downs

Titans rookie quarterback Malik Willis had his moments on Saturday. He tucked the ball and ran for a 14-yard touchdown, escaping the grasp of five Texans defenders on the way to the end zone. Willis also threw some darts while completing 14-of-23 passes for 99 yards. But Willis also had his share of struggles. He was sacked four times, and he threw a pair of interceptions in the closing minutes. Willis was picked off when he tried to find receiver Treylon Burks near midfield, and his desperation heave was picked off near the goal line. "They just knocked us off what we were doing, knocked us off our rhythm in the second half, with turnovers," Willis said. "If we didn't win, no I didn't (put forth a winning effort)," Willis said. "So, we can do better." Vrabel said Willis "took a few steps back in some areas" but he thought he settled down.

Denico Autry's Return

The Titans sure missed defensive lineman Denico Autry over the last four weeks. As Autry was sidelined with a knee injury, the Titans weren't nearly as disruptive up front during a four-game losing streak. Autry returned on Saturday, and he made a big impact. On the final stat sheet, Autry was credited with seven tackles, one sack, two quarterback hits, two tackles for a loss and two passes defensed. Autry came up big on a fourth-and-one stop for the Titans against the Texans. Asked about Autry, Vrabel replied: "We need everybody that could potentially make a play for us in all three phases to be available for us the last couple of weeks."


I mentioned Henry's fumble earlier. Same for the two interceptions by Willis. A handful of plays helped decide Saturday's contest, and unfortunately the Titans also weren't able to make enough of their own. Linebacker Zach Cunningham failed to haul in what should have been an interception at the goal line early, and the Texans ended up scoring a touchdown. The Titans committed five penalties for 30 yards, and the turnovers doomed them. Right now, the Titans good enough to overcome their mistakes. "No, we are not built right now to be able to overcome those things," Vrabel said. "The margin for error is very thin. So, we'll keep trying to improve those things – the consistency and the ability to sustain drives, create turnovers, the things we need to do right now."

Jack Gibbens Making Plays

With Cunningham sidelined once again with his elbow injury, rookie Jack Gibbens was called into action yet again. The undrafted rookie from Minnesota made some plays on Sunday. Gibbens intercepted Texans quarterback Davis Mills in the second half. Later, Gibbens stopped Texans running back Rex Burkhead short of the goalline on a third and goal from the nine, which forced the Texans to kick a field goal. Gibbens was credited with seven tackles in the game on defense, along with an assist on special teams. "I was happy to make a play," Gibbens said. "Obviously I wish it would have come in a win, but if feels good to be out there the last couple of weeks and be able to contribute."

Pregame Delay, and Cold

Among the things that stood out on Saturday: What happened before kickoff. Due to the extreme weather and power outages affecting the region, kickoff was postponed one hour. The decision was made in partnership with the NFL, Office of Emergency Management, Nashville Electric Service and the Mayor's Office in an abundance of caution "to ensure that the game would not negatively impact our community in any way." Warmups were delayed prior to the game, but that didn't keep offensive lineman Jordan Roos from coming out before the game in a sleeveless shirt and shorts, like it was a beautiful fall day. Temperature at kickoff, by the way, was 20 degrees, with a wind chill of six degrees, making it the coldest home in Nissan Stadium history.

The Tennessee Titans take on the Houston Texans in Week 16 at Nissan Stadium.

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