Final

Titans 23

(9-7, 4-4 away)

Texans 22

(10-6, 5-3 home)

Coverage: CBS

1:00 PM ET, January 1, 2012

NRG Stadium, Houston, TX 

1 2 3 4 T
TEN 0 13 3 723
HOU 7 3 3 922

Top Performers

Passing: M. Hasselbeck (TEN) - 297 YDS, 2 TD

Rushing: B. Tate (HOU) - 16 CAR, 97 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: N. Washington (TEN) - 4 REC, 92 YDS, 1 TD

Matt Hasselbeck, Titans outlast Texans, but miss playoffs

Associated Press

HOUSTON -- The Tennessee Titans' regular-season finale came down to a 2-point conversion. Their playoff hopes officially ended a few hours later.

Matt Hasselbeck threw two touchdown passes, and Tennessee staved off Houston's last-minute rally in a 23-22 victory Sunday.

Tennessee (9-7) earned its first winning record since 2008 in Mike Munchak's first season, but its postseason fate depended on the outcome of later games in Cincinnati, Oakland and Denver.

When the Broncos lost to Kansas City, the Titans were knocked out of playoff contention.

"I was proud of the guys for bouncing back the last two weeks and putting ourselves in the position to reach the playoffs," Munchak said in a statement, "but we also put ourselves in the position of needing help and it didn't work out for us today."

The Titans got some early help when the New York Jets lost in Miami, but then had to sweat out the final two minutes when Ahmard Hall fumbled, and Jake Delhomme drove Houston for a touchdown with 14 seconds left.

"We knew that was the situation we were in and we could only do what we could do," Hasselbeck said. "We were focused on taking care of business and handling the things that we could control. Finishing 9-7 is something we can be proud about whether we get the help or we don't."

The Texans (10-6) were locked into the No. 3 seed in the AFC playoffs before the game began. They will play Cincinnati (9-7) next Saturday in the franchise's first postseason game. Houston beat the Bengals 20-19 on Dec. 11.

With their position secured and nothing to lose but more players to injury, coach Gary Kubiak called for a 2-point conversion to avoid overtime and win the game in regulation.

"You would never go for 2 there in any other situation," Kubiak said. "But where we were physically, at the end of the game, I had a tight end (Garrett Graham) playing linebacker. Our team, I had to get them to next week."

But tight end Joel Dreessen was flagged for illegal motion, and then backup center Thomas Austin flipped the snap over Delhomme's head and the game was over.

The victory turned out to mean nothing for the Titans.

Tennessee needed the Bengals to lose to Baltimore and victories by Oakland and Denver to earn a playoff berth. And that would've landed the Titans right back in Houston next week to play the Texans.

But a 27-13 loss in Indianapolis two weeks ago proved costly, and the Titans will sit out the playoffs for the third straight season.

"We knew that after we lost to the Colts, which was kind of a low point for us, at that point we were 7-7," Hasselbeck said. "Coach Munchak came and said: 'Hey, there's a lot of things this season that could have gone better, that we could have done better, but we didn't. That's in the past and there's nothing we can do about that.' "

The Texans, meanwhile, will head into the franchise's first postseason on a three-game losing streak and new concerns about their quarterback.

Rookie starter T.J. Yates left the game after one series and was replaced by the 36-year-old Delhomme. Kubiak said Yates had a bruised left shoulder but could've returned if necessary.

"Obviously, I didn't want him to go back in the game," Kubiak said. "We'll know better where we're at (Monday), at this point."

Delhomme, signed Nov. 29 in the wake of season-ending injuries to starter Matt Schaub and backup Matt Leinart, completed 18 of 28 passes in his first action since December 2010.

Johnson ran for 61 yards to go over 1,000 for the fourth consecutive season, and Rob Bironas kicked three field goals for Tennessee.

"It was an interesting ending," Munchak said. "Our goal was to come in here and win this game. We did that. We're 9-7 and that's all we can control."

Yates was sacked on Houston's first snap by Jurrell Casey and Derrick Morgan. He completed passes to Dreessen and James Casey for first downs, before Ben Tate and Derrick Ward started alternating touches for the rest of the drive.

Tate plowed into the end zone with 5:15 left in the first quarter, but Yates came off the field favoring his left shoulder and went to the locker room.

Yates jogged back to the Houston sideline for the start of the second quarter. But after Bironas kicked a 21-yard field goal, Delhomme returned for the Texans' next possession.

Titans defensive end Dave Ball sacked Delhomme and knocked the ball loose, and safety Chris Hope recovered at the Texans 33. Hasselbeck threw a 25-yard pass to Jared Cook, then found Donnie Avery in the corner of the end zone to move Tennessee in front.

Hasselbeck completed 22 of 35 passes for 297 yards without an interception.

Delhomme threw a 16-yard pass to Andre Johnson to get Houston moving again. Johnson caught two passes and sat out the second half after missing the previous three games with a strained left hamstring.

Game notes


Hall and Titans LT Mike Otto left with "probable" concussions, Munchak said. WR Damian Williams has a rib injury, Munchak said, and would be re-evaluated Monday. ... The Texans dropped to 5-1 in season finales under Kubiak. ... Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips worked from the press box after missing two games following kidney and gall bladder surgery.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
TEN
HOU
1st Downs1722
Passing 1st downs
1511
Rushing 1st downs
29
1st downs from penalties
02
3rd down efficiency
6-145-14
4th down efficiency
0-00-0
Total Plays6065
Total Yards361387
Yards per play6.06.0
Total Drives1412
Passing275235
Comp-Att
22-3522-32
Yards per pass
7.26.7
Interceptions thrown
00
Sacks-Yards Lost
3-223-23
Rushing86152
Rushing Attempts
2230
Yards per rush
3.95.1
Red Zone (Made-Att)1-42-4
Penalties6-477-55
Turnovers11
Fumbles lost
11
Interceptions thrown
00
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession25:2234:38

Passing Leaders

TENC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Hasselbeck22/352978.5203-22
HOUC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Delhomme18/282117.5102-18
Yates4/44711.8001-5

Rushing Leaders

TENCARYDSAVGTDLG
Johnson15614.1027
Harper4194.8012
HOUCARYDSAVGTDLG
Tate16976.1156
Ward12504.2015

Receiving Leaders

TENRECYDSAVGTDLG
Washington49223.0155
Cook46315.8025
HOURECYDSAVGTDLG
Casey79113.0021
Johnson24522.5140

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERTENHOU
houTD5:20Ben Tate 4 Yard Run (Neil Rackers Kick is Good)
Drive info: 13 plays, 90 yds, 6:43
07
SECOND QUARTERTENHOU
tenFG13:09Rob Bironas 21 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 10 plays, 69 yds, 4:20
37
tenTD3:52Donnie Avery 1 Yard Pass From Matt Hasselbeck (Rob Bironas Kick is Good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 33 yds, 2:41
107
houFG1:14Neil Rackers 52 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 7 plays, 46 yds, 2:39
1010
tenFG0:05Rob Bironas 43 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 7 plays, 55 yds, 1:09
1310
THIRD QUARTERTENHOU
houFG11:50Neil Rackers 37 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 5 plays, 61 yds, 3:14
1313
tenFG7:26Rob Bironas 33 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 5 plays, 62 yds, 1:46
1613
FOURTH QUARTERTENHOU
houFG15:00Neil Rackers 22 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 12 plays, 76 yds, 7:25
1616
tenTD4:39Nate Washington 23 Yard Pass From Matt Hasselbeck (Rob Bironas Kick is Good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 56 yds, 2:32
2316
houTD0:19Bryant Johnson 5 Yard Pass From Jake Delhomme (Jake Delhomme Run For Two-Point Conversion is No Good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 36 yds, 1:35
2322

Research Notes

NEXT LEVEL: Matt Hasselbeck completed 7 of 9 passes for 120 yards an touchdown against the Texans base defense on Sunday. Entering the game, the Texans ranked the top five in the NFL in opponent completion percentage, yards per attempt and TD to Int ratio in their base defense
  [+]

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