NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Derrick Henry took a direct snap and ran 5 yards for a touchdown 3:30 into overtime and the Tennessee Titans remained undefeated, rallying to beat the Houston Texans 42-36 on Sunday.
The Titans (5-0) overcame two turnovers, Stephen Gostkowski having a field goal blocked and missing another and the defense giving up 335 yards passing and four touchdown passes to Deshaun Watson.
Watson’s final TD pass put Houston (1-5) up 36-29 with 1:50 left, but a 2-point conversion attempt failed.
Ryan Tannehill, who had three of his 19 career game-winning drives to start this season, drove the Titans 76 yards before finding A.J. Brown on a 6-yard TD pass with 4 seconds left. Gostkowski made the extra point, and the Texans fielded a squib kick to send it into overtime.
Henry, last season’s rushing leader, ran for 202 yards in regulation, including a 94-yard TD run. In overtime, he took a screen pass 53 yards on the second play. He capped the six-play, 82-yard drive with a wildcat snap for his second TD of the game, finishing with 212 yards rushing and 52 yards receiving.
Titans have their second-best start in franchise history since this franchise won its first 10 games in 2008. Their win, combined with Pittsburgh’s victory over Cleveland, sets up a showdown between the AFC’s last two undefeated teams here in a week.
The Texans (1-5) came in as the two-time defending AFC South champs and nearly gave interim coach Romeo Crennel a second straight victory.
Tennessee led 21-10 at halftime. Houston safety Justin Reid blocked a 27-yard field goal attempt by Stephen Gostkowski, who later missed a 37-yarder wide left, in the third quarter to set up David Johnson’s 1-yard TD run.
The Titans lost left tackle Taylor Lewan to an injured knee on the next drive, and J. J. Watt sacked Tannehill two plays later, stripping him of the ball. Jacob Martin recovered for Houston at the Titans 4, and Watson found Randall Cobb at the right pylon for a 4-yard TD pass and a 23-21 lead.
That started a scoring spree.
Henry broke off a 94-yard TD run, racing to the other end zone in 14 seconds. Watson answered two plays later with a 53-yard TD pass to Will Fuller for a 30-29 lead with 8:37 left.
The Titans had fans in the stands for the second time this season with capacity bumped up to 15% or about 10,000.
Better yet, they had a handful of players back from the reserve/COVID-19 list: defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons, receivers Adam Humphries and Cam Batson, cornerback Kristian Fulton and fullback Khari Blasingame. Only wide receiver Corey Davis and tight end MyCole Pruitt from the active roster remain on that list.
Texans cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III went down late in the second quarter, but he returned in the third. Texans cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr. was hurt tackling Henry in overtime.
Lewan did not return after walking gingerly to the locker room. Titans tight end Jonnu Smith limped to the sideline and had his right foot and ankle retaped.
The Texans host the Packers next Sunday.
The Titans host Pittsburgh next Sunday.