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TITANS 42, TEXANS 36 (OT)

Derrick Henry his usual unstoppable to keep Tennessee perfect

Derrick Henry had another dominant day for Tennessee on Sunday against Houston, accounting for 264 yards, including a 94-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter and 63 yards on the winning drive in overtime.
Derrick Henry had another dominant day for Tennessee on Sunday against Houston, accounting for 264 yards, including a 94-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter and 63 yards on the winning drive in overtime.Wade Payne/Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Expectations for Derrick Henry already are pretty high, with his history of mighty stiff arms and long touchdown runs.

Last season’s rushing leader keeps finding new ways to top himself, taking the Tennessee Titans along with him yet again.

Henry took a direct snap and ran 5 yards for a touchdown 3:30 into overtime and the Titans remained undefeated, rallying to beat the Houston Texans, 42-36, after a questionable Houston 2-point conversion attempt in the final two minutes of regulation.

“Obviously, we all witnessed somebody taking a game over,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said of Henry.

The Titans (5-0) finished with a franchise-record 601 yards of total offense. That helped them overcome 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.

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Watson’s final TD pass put Houston up, 36-29, with 1:50 left, but his pass to Randall Cobb on the 2-point conversion attempt failed. Coach Romeo Crennel, in his second game since replacing the fired Bill O’Brien, said he went for the conversion in a bid to put the game out of reach. Crennel also didn’t take a timeout before the game-winning TD.

“That play was run in practice, and we should have been prepared,” Crennel said of the wildcat play.

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 7-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 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 his second TD of the game, finishing with 212 yards rushing and 52 yards receiving.

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The Titans are 16-0 when Henry runs for at least 100 yards. Asked about his performance, Henry kept giving credit to his teammates.

“I just had to do my job,” Henry said more than once.

The Titans are off to their best start since the 2008 team opened 10-0. 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.

Tannehill finished with 364 yards and four TD passes. He had seen Henry make huge plays before coming to Tennessee.

“He just has that rare size, strength and speed combination that it’s extremely rare,” Tannehill said.

The Texans (1-5) came in as the two-time defending AFC South champs and nearly gave Crennel a second straight victory.

“We did not finish the game on defense,” Texans star J.J. Watt said. “We had multiple opportunities and we didn’t do it. And as a leader of the defense, I put that squarely on my shoulders. So this one is very difficult to take.”

Tennessee led, 21-10, at halftime. Houston safety Justin Reid blocked a 27-yard field goal attempt by 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 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.

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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 have scored at least 31 points in four straight games, and came in ranked sixth in the NFL averaging 30.5 points a game. They scored in each of the first two quarters, extending their streak to 15 straight before going scoreless in the third.

They also have scored at least 42 points in back-to-back games for the first time since 1961. The then-Houston Oilers beat the Titans of New York (later the Jets) 48-21 and the Raiders 47-16 in the final two weeks of the 1961 season before beating the Chargers the next week for the AFL title.