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Six Things That Stood Out

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Six Things That Stood Out for the Titans in Sunday's Win Over the Texans


NASHVILLE – The Titans beat the Texans 28-25 here on Sunday at NRG Stadium.

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

Taking Care of Business

Last week, the Titans celebrated winning the AFC South. Here on Sunday, they celebrated capturing the No.1 seed in the AFC. It's quite an accomplishment – until Sunday, it had only happened two other times in franchise history, in 2000, and 2008. Let's face it, these Titans weren't given much of a chance when running back Derrick Henry went down with a foot injury at the midway point of the season. Yet here they were in Houston staking claim as the top-seeded team in the AFC, ready to take advantage of a first-round bye. None of this will matter, of course, if the Titans don't keep the momentum going in the playoffs. But hey, the Titans have put themselves in the best position to do something special, and that's a start.

Gut-Check Tannehill

Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill played like a man who refused to be denied on Sunday. From his Houdini-like escape of a sack to his gut-check throws, Tannehill willed the Titans to a win against the Texans just when it seemed like things might be falling apart. Tannehill completed 23-of-32 passes for 287 yards and four touchdowns in the game, with a passer rating of 138.9. Tannehill completed passes to nine different targets, and he made some big throws when it mattered. Sure, Tannehill missed on a couple of deep balls, but this guys deserves some serious props.

Hello, Julio

Titans receiver Julio Jones talked this week about opportunities, and wanting to make the most of them. After being acquired via a trade with the Falcons, Jones just hasn't been a regular playmaker for one reason or another. Jones sure delivered at the right time on Sunday, however. Jones led the Titans with five catches against the Texans, and they went for 58 yards and a touchdown – Julio's first TD as a Titan. His longest catch of the day was for 19 yards. Several players made nice contributions for the Titans on Sunday – A.J. Brown had four catches for 68 yards and a score, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine had four catches for 78 yards and a touchdown, tight end Anthony Firkser four catches for 56 yards and a touchdown. But wasn't it nice to see Julio more involved?

Holding On

OK, admit it. The second half was scary, as Titans fans had to have been thinking: What in the name of Sam Sloman is going on? A 21-0 halftime lead shrunk to 21-18, and after jumping back ahead 28-18, the Texans cut the lead back to 28-25 in the closing minutes. After a dominant performance on defense in the first half, the defense was shaky in the second half. After getting into a rhythm in the second quarter, the Titans looked out of sync in the third quarter. But hey, the Titans made the plays when they needed to on Sunday, and that included the last third down run from Dontrell Hilliard that went for a first down, and they got the win.

Tackles for a Loss

I was prepared to praise the defense more in here, but the second half struggles caused me to tone it down. Man, Texans quarterback Davis Mills got way too comfortable down the stretch, huh? Still, the Titans defense sure flexed their muscles during stretches of Sunday's game. The Titans had four tackles for losses during a five-play stretch, and the defense finished the contest with eight tackles for a loss. Linebacker Zach Cunningham led the team with 11 tackles, including two tackles for a loss, and Kyle Peko (2), Elijah Molden, Amani Hooker, Jeffery Simmons and Rashaan Evans all had tackles for a loss as well. Peko and Simmons added sacks. The Titans defense failed to create a turnover, and again, the second half performance was shaky. But there were glimpses of greatness that need to be shown in the playoffs.

Titans Fans

Take a bow, Titans fans. Head coach Mike Vrabel praised Titans fans for their support this season, and earlier this week he encouraged them to show up in Houston. Titans fans listened. The Texans announced a paid attendance crowd of 66,722 for Sunday's game, and attendance wasn't anywhere near that number. But Titans fans stole the show, especially in the lower bowl. "Let's go Titans!" chants could be heard all day, and the celebration at the end was a loud one as Titans fans took over NRG Stadium. "Fantastic," Vrabel said of the Titans fans after the game. "Just appreciate them coming down here. I wish we could have given them a better third quarter, but it was great to come out of that tunnel early this morning and see (Titans fans) there and excited."

The Tennessee Titans take on the Houston Texans in Week 18 at NRG Stadium.

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