AFC South: 2013 Week 2 TEN at HOU

Locker Room Buzz: Houston Texans

September, 15, 2013
HOUSTON -- Observed in the locker room after the Houston Texans' 30-24 overtime win over the Tennessee Titans:

Happy owner: Texans owner Bob McNair walked out of the locker room before it opened to media and held court. Afterward he kept repeating, smiling, "What a game."

Dejected kicker: Randy Bullock's face as he greeted a crowd of reporters postgame reflected the kind of game he had. He missed all three of his field goal attempts and seemed shell-shocked. "I don't think I've ever had a game like this," he said. "It was frustrating, but at this point all I can do is move forward and come back for more work this week."

Baby cameo: Inside linebacker Brian Cushing brought his son to the podium for his news conference. Cayden was born last Oct. 15, days after Cushing tore his anterior cruciate ligament, giving Cushing an emotional high off the field right after an emotional low on the field. Cayden remained peaceful for most of the news conference, but eventually started batting at the microphone.

Locker Room Buzz: Tennessee Titans

September, 15, 2013
HOUSTON -- Observed in the locker room after the Tennessee Titans' 30-24 overtime loss to the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium:

No intent: Brian Cushing was lost to an ACL injury last year on a block thrown by Matt Slauson of the Jets. Titans center Rob Turner was flagged for a similar peel-back block on J.J. Watt at the end of the third quarter. Cushing spoke of more than a penalty and a fine being needed as a deterrent. But Turner said he had no ill intent. “I didn’t think about it on the screen,” Turner said. “It was a bad decision on my part to throw [it]. As a lineman, you get kind of ingrained, ‘Run a screen, throw a cut, run a screen, throw a cut.’ I tried saying something to him after the game, saying, ‘Look, I wasn’t trying to take your legs out.’”

Looking ahead: Last week Jurrell Casey delivered a postgame one-liner about what the Texans could expect. The defensive tackle may be good in that department every week. “We're just going to respond, do what we need to do next week against the Chargers and let them feel our pain,” Casey said. “That’s it.”

Spiky shoes: Apparently spike-covered shoes are a thing. I missed the memo on that, but Kendall Wright said he’s hardly the first guy on the Titans to have them. Chris Johnson set the tone. Check out Wright’s shoes on my Instagram: pkuharsky.

HOUSTON -- A few thoughts on the Houston Texans' 30-24 overtime win over the Tennessee Titans:

What it means: On the day the Texans unveiled their 2012 division-championship banner, they took a step in their quest for a three-peat. It's a title they absolutely should keep this season, but the Titans will be pesky foes. A lot could change between now and the next meeting between these teams, in the regular-season finale.

Stock watch: Texans kicker Randy Bullock is having a rough start to his NFL career. He went 0-for-3 in regulation Sunday, and after missing what could have been the game-winning field goal in regulation he fell to 1-for-5 this season. (His one make was the game winner in San Diego.) This was an area the Texans hoped to upgrade this season, but so far that hasn't been the case.

Facing deficits: Down one, Texans quarterback Matt Schaub threw an easy pick-six to Titans cornerback Alterraun Verner with about five minutes left in the game. I'd argue that an eight-point deficit that late in the game is more daunting than a 21-point deficit early in the third quarter. Schaub got them out of one situation last week and into the other one this week, in part because he was constantly under duress.

Hopkins breaks out: A huge fourth-quarter drive saw Schaub go to his new toy, DeAndre Hopkins, regularly. The rookie delivered. But it was veteran Andre Johnson's catch that set up the Texans' game-tying touchdown. Johnson grabbed the pass, kept his feet inbounds, even as Bernard Pollard doled out a helmet-to-helmet hit, and hung onto the ball all the way to the ground. The catch took its toll, though. Johnson lingered on his back for a while and went to the locker room after jogging off the field. Later, the Texans got another big gain from second-year receiver Keshawn Martin, who broke a tackle and ran for a 32-yard gain that set up what could have been Bullock's game-winning field goal. Hopkins eventually played the hero, making an incredible 25-yard catch in overtime and following it a few plays later with another incredible catch -- this one for the winning touchdown.

What's next: The Texans head on the road to face Super Bowl champion Baltimore. The Ravens look a bit different than the last time the teams met. Houston won that matchup in a blowout. Safety Ed Reed won't start that game as Texans coach Gary Kubiak has said he won't start the first time he plays for the Texans. But will he play?

HOUSTON -- A few thoughts on the Tennessee Titans' 30-24 overtime loss to the Houston Texans:

What it means: A team that looked to have a terribly scheduled two-game start nearly started 2-0 but ultimately made too many mistakes to win. We were skeptical of the defense last week because the Steelers were so bad on offense. But the Texans are a far more dangerous offense, and Tennessee handled them for a good while, too. Still, they need more balance and can’t disappear on offense for long stretches, and that’s what did them in here. They simply didn’t make enough plays. The defense gave up a touchdown drive to open overtime, so the Tennessee offense didn't get a possession in the extra period.

Stock watch: When the Titans needed him most, Jake Locker didn’t deliver. They got the ball with 1:53 left in regulation and did nothing. Locker threw a wobbler to Nate Washington and had Kenny Britt open as a big blitz came at him. Both throws were too high and the Titans had to punt the ball back to Houston with roughly a minute left. The Texans had a crack at a game-winning 46-yard field goal, but Randy Bullock hit the left upright.

Crusher: Cornerback Jason McCourty spearheaded a nice effort against Andre Johnson, but on the play that set up the Texans for the winning score, he couldn't find the ball as rookie DeAndre Hopkins plucked it just before the right front pylon for a 25-yard gain. Hopkins then caught the 3-yard game winner on McCourty three plays later on the right side of the end zone.

Wake-up call: The Titans' offense couldn’t get out of the shadow of its own goal line for 20 minutes in the second half. Then they put together an incredible 99-yard touchdown drive to take the 17-16 lead with 6:37 on the game clock. After that the defense ramped up its efforts, swarming Matt Schaub even more effectively. But they let up and allowed a tying TD drive and two-point conversion and we wound up with overtime.

Injury update: Defensive tackle Sammie Hill left the game in the first half with an ankle injury and didn’t return. They signed him to be a run-stopping force but he’s hardly been a force through two games, with limited snaps Week 1 and the injury Sunday.

Fourth-quarter reversals: Gary Kubiak won two challenges in the fourth quarter, earning his team a safety and a 21-yard reception by Johnson. The safety and the two-point conversion that tied the game were crucial plays.

What’s next: The Titans play their home opener at LP Field against the San Diego Chargers, who beat the Eagles on Sunday and are 1-1.