Rapid Reaction: Texans 13, Titans 12

December, 14, 2008
12/14/08
4:22
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

HOUSTON -- All who've doubted the Titans' ability to win a close game late when the run game and defense weren't good enough got a brand new Exhibit A for their evidence file Sunday at Reliant Stadium.

In a game where a number of things went wrong and they needed to go score at the end to win, they couldn't, falling 13-12 to the jubilant home team.

But Tennessee's second loss falls as much, or more, at the feet of its coach, Jeff Fisher, as its players.

Fisher made a baffling decision coming out of the 2-minute warning, going for it on fourth-and-3 from the Texans' 32-yard line instead of allowing big-legged kicker Rob Bironas to try a 49-yard field goal. Kerry Collins overthrew Justin McCareins and the Titans were finished.

The Titans started the day with the possibility of clinching the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs. Now, even if the Steelers lose in Baltimore, the Titans and Steelers will have a lot at stake when they meet at LP Field next week.

This is a giant win for the Texans, who endured an 0-4 start that included the early loss of their bye week and roof damage to their home field as a result of Hurricane Ike. Now, remarkably, they are back at .500 with two games to go, and with two more wins could complete the first winning season in their history.

The Texans got 11 catches for 207 yards and a touchdown from receiver Andre Johnson.

Bironas kicked eight field goals here last season in a 38-36 win and he's 14 for 17 from between 40 and 50 yards this season. The kick would have been into a slight breeze.

But it's completely unlike Fisher not to take a swing at what was hardly a desperation distance for Bironas.

To make things worse, Albert Haynesworth got his lower left leg rolled up on with 1:32 left. He managed to get off the field with some help, but losing him for any length of time would be a big blow.

Back with explanations and details in a while.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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