The Houston Texans waited 10 months to celebrate a victory

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The Houston Texans waited 10 months to celebrate a victory

Postby panxing18 » Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:34 am

So when Sunday's wild game ended , they let it all out.Players mobbed kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn after he made a 37-yard field goal in overtime, jumping up and down before leaving Indianapolis with a wild 37-34 victory to end the league's longest losing streak at nine."We're all happy about it, no doubt," linebacker Whitney Mercilus said. "We finally got a 'W' after being 0-3 for a while. So, I think things are starting to click. Starting to play some complementary football. And so, that's where this momentum is."It's wasn't just three games.Houston (1-3) hadn't won since Nov. 19, hadn't won on the road since Sept. 14, 2017, and couldn't even beat the Colts last season without Andrew Luck.This season, the frustration grew as they lost at New England by seven, at Tennessee by three and at home to the New York Giants by five. Then Sunday, they blew a 28-7 lead to Luck's Colts and two more chances to win — on Fairbairn's 59-yard field goal on the second-to-last play and on their first possession of overtime when a strong drive stalled and Fairbairn made a 29-yard field goal to tie the score at 31 with 1:50 to play.And just when it appeared Houston's winless streak might continue, the Colts went for the win on fourth-and-4 from their 43-yard line. The Texans got the stop they needed and three plays later, Fairbairn made the winning kick — after Indy called timeout just before he missed the kick wide right."It took longer than it needed to," defensive end J.J. Watt said after recording two more sacks to give him 80 in his career. "Very, very tiring, but we found a way. It's a wild game, there at the end and there was a whole lot going on. Man, I respect their decision to go for it there at the end, go for the win instead of the tie."Indy (1-3) has lost two straight and all three losses came with the Colts having chances to take the lead in the final 2 minutes.They've just kept coming up short."We've got to execute. I've got to play better," Luck said. "I've got to throw a better ball. We all know where we have to improve."IN SYNCDeshaun Watson and his receivers certainly were in sync Sunday.Watson was 29 of 42 with 375 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also ran six times for 41 yards and his first rushing TD of the season.Hopkins caught 10 passes for 169 yards and one score while Keke Coutee broke Andre Johnson's franchise record for receptions in an NFL debut. Coutee caught 11 passes for 109 yards. Johnson caught six passes in his first game.SHORT-TERM PROBLEMThe Colts initially lined up for their fourth-down play to try and draw Houston offside. When they didn't, Indy called timeout and coach Frank Reich made the decision to go for the first down and the win with a short, seemingly safe pass on fourth-and-4.But Luck was missing his favorite target, T.Y. Hilton Joe Haeg Jersey , who was out with a hamstring injury, and his pass was too low for Chester Rogers.The bigger problem is that Indy now visits New England on Thursday, presumably without Hilton."Probably not, probably not good, I mean with the hamstring on a short week," Reich said.DEFNSIVE TURNAROUNDHouston's trademark defense also appears to have been rejuvenated. The Texans finished with four sacks against Luck and forced him to fumble twice, recovering one. Jadeveon Clowney scored his second career touchdown by recovering a fumble in the end zone on a botched snap from center Ryan Kelly.Indy had only 107 yards in the first half, 40 coming on Hilton's first catch.While Luck led the Colts back from a 28-7 deficit to force overtime and Indy took a 34-31 lead on Adam Vinatieri's 44-yard field goal, the defense stiffened one last time when Houston needed it most.MILESTONE DAYVinatieri became the NFL's career leader in field goals when he made a 42-yarder with 2 seconds left in the first half to make it 21-10. Hall of Famer Morten Andersen held the previous mark at 565.Vinatieri extended the record to 567 with his overtime field goal and now heads back to New England, where he started his career, needing one field-goal attempt to move past Gary Anderson for No. 2 all-time. He also needs 26 points to break Morten Andersen's career scoring record (2,544).But he would have preferred extending his league record for victories (226)."It's weird, you know, you come off a loss and it doesn't feel quite the same way," he said. "I'm sure I'll look back at in years to come and it will be pretty special." Titans safety Kevin Byard knows if any Philly green shows up in the Tennessee family section, his relatives likely will be to blame.That's the challenge for someone born in Philadelphia who grew up watching the Eagles alongside most of his family. Shoot, Byard even had a Lito Sheppard jersey growing up and remembers going to a Super Bowl party watching Philadelphia even as his father and uncle criticized Donovan McNabb for never winning a title.Now Byard is an All-Pro safety and will have a lot of family on hand Sunday when Tennessee plays the Eagles (2-1) in a chance for the Titans (2-1) to test themselves against the defending champs."It's not a must-win game, but it's a game that's going to be definitely a good measuring stick to see where we are right now," Byard said. "A team that was just in the Super Bowl, just won the Super Bowl, you're always going to want to put your best foot forward against those guys. I think that they know every single game this year they're going to get that best effort from every single team, and it's no doubt with this team right here."Philadelphia got Carson Wentz back at quarterback last week in a 20-16 win over Indianapolis . Marcus Mariota will start for the Titans after coming off the bench in a 9-6 win at Jacksonville.Eagles coach Doug Pederson has been impressed by how the Titans have found ways to finish games the past two weeks under first-year coach Mike Vrabel."I look back to my first year, two years ago, and one of the things that we didn't do a very good job of was learning how to finish games, and a way to coach games Authentic J'Marcus Webb Jersey ," Pederson said. "That's something that Mike has been able to do with his team. Just seeing his influence on defense, obviously, the impact that he has brought has these guys flying around and making plays. They're learning how to finish games. That's important with a new head coach."Some things to watch between the Eagles and Titans:GETTING HEALTHYBoth teams are hoping to get at least a couple players back from injuries. Titans right tackle Jack Conklin could be back after tearing his left ACL in the playoffs last January, and Mariota has improved enough he practiced fully this week. Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery might make his season debut after fixing a torn rotator cuff , while running back Jay Ajayi practiced fully after missing the Colts game with an injured back.TOP TARGETSInjuries to Jeffery, Mike Wallace and Mack Hollins have forced Philadelphia to rely even more on tight ends in the passing game. Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert and Josh Perkins combined for 13 catches for 156 yards and one TD vs. the Colts last week. Ertz is a Pro Bowl pick who caught the go-ahead TD in the Super Bowl. Goedert, a second-round pick, only had one catch in the first two matches before his breakout game."Obviously he's a big target down the field," offensive coordinator Mike Groh said. "He's easy to find and he can elevate and make plays above the rim, too. He's got really strong hands. He's just three games in, so we'll continue to put more and more on his plate, but he's done a nice job with what we have asked him to do."YOUTHFUL RECEIVING CORPSThe Titans cut veteran wide receiver Rishard Matthews on Thursday after he asked to be cut or traded, upset at a lack of playing time. That leaves Corey Davis, the fifth pick overall in 2017, leading a very young group. How young? The Titans' five receivers have a combined 156 career catches.The Eagles won't have safety Rodney McLeod because of a knee injury, and Corey Graham will replace him.NO RUN ZONEThe Eagles had the best run defense in the NFL last season and are first again, allowing 61.7 yards per game. But the Titans are averaging 122 yards per game on the ground, and they're built to run the ball. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said Tennessee has invested heavily in everything from the offensive line, a Heisman Trophy winner at running back in Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis as a free agent, to a running quarterback in Mariota.STINGY DEFENSESThe Titans have yet to allow a point in the first quarter and rank fourth in the NFL giving up 16.7 points per game. Asked why Tennessee is starting games so well, defensive coordinator Dean Pees had a short answer: "Isn't that what we're supposed to do?"AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi contributed to this report.Follow Teresa M. Walker at teresamwalker

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