- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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HOUSTON -- A couple halftime thoughts from Reliant Stadium, where the Titans lead the Texans 13-10.
The Titans smartly came out with something different, using shotgun with an empty backfield. They had great success with it early, but seemed to sag when it didn’t lead to a touchdown drive right out of the gate. An injury to receiver Damian Williams that’s knocked him from the game may force them to use it less than they’d like the rest of the way.
Houston’s front is great. The Texans swarmed against a good pass-protecting offensive line and produced two Antonio Smith sacks of Matt Hasselbeck. The linemen and linebackers just come from a different spot on every play. I think that pass rush is going to key them in the playoffs.
Jake Delhomme got away with a very bad throw late in the second quarter. Cornerback Jason McCourty would have probably gone for a touchdown if he didn’t flub the pass like a man who had casts on two broken hands.
Receiver Donnie Avery benefitted from Williams’ injury and caught the Titans' touchdown on a smartly designed play. Tennessee bunched three receivers right, then had Hasselbeck throw to Avery against Jason Allen on the left from the 1-yard line. It was Avery's first catch of the year.
The Texans should pound it with running backs Ben Tate and Derrick Ward in the second half. I think they can break the Titans' defense that way, and that the Titans could be frustrated they aren’t having an easier time considering Houston didn’t dress Arian Foster, Johnathan Joseph or Owen Daniels.
I thought rules dictated teams announce in-game injuries. But the Texans have not said what prompted T.J. Yates’ trip to the locker room and exit from the game. And the Titans took a long, long time before finally revealing at the half that Williams has a rib injury and his return is questionable.