NASHVILLE — Gary Kubiak can tell his Houston Texans are maturing both as a franchise and as a championship contender with a simple glance around his locker room.
This time, they acted like they've been in the playoffs before.
Yes, the Texans are excited about clinching a second straight postseason berth and setting a franchise record for wins in a season by beating the Tennessee Titans, 24-10, Sunday.
‘‘We’re very happy, I can tell you that,’’ Kubiak said. ‘‘But I think they expected to get there, and they got there today. There’s a lot more to work on. We've got to continue to push our group.’’
Rookie linebacker Whitney Mercilus recovered a fumble and had two sacks as the Texans (11-1) remained tied with Atlanta for the best record in the NFL with their sixth straight win. After needing overtime the past two games, the Texans turned six turnovers into 10 points and had six sacks of Jake Locker when the Texans weren’t batting down a handful of other passes.
Houston is the only unbeaten team on the road this season at 6-0.
‘‘It’s good to know we’re in,’’ said quarterback Matt Schaub, who was injured when Houston clinched its first postseason berth a year ago. ‘‘It’s a great feeling to know that we've reached that goal, but we've got a lot more to accomplish.’’
Schaub threw for 207 yards and two touchdowns, and Arian Foster ran for a TD. Houston will encounter a playoff atmostphere next Monday night at Gillette Stadium against the Patriots in a matchup of the AFC’s top two seeds.
The Titans (4-8), with new offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, scored on a 34-yard pass from Locker to Kenny Britt late in the third quarter to pull within 24-10. Tennessee had plenty of chances to get closer, including third and 3 at the Houston 7 early in the fourth quarter before Locker was sacked and fumbled on fourth down.
Darryl Sharpton sealed the win with the third interception with 2:05 left.