Texans’ 14th loss 16-10 to Titans nabs top pick

The season finally, mercifully, is over for the Houston

Texans.

Now they’re ready to find out who their next coach will be along

with their future teammate with the No. 1 draft pick overall –

something that can wait until May.

Jonathan Grimes scored the first touchdown of his NFL career,

and Matt Schaub had three of Houston’s four turnovers Sunday as the

Texans wrapped up their season with a 14th consecutive loss, 16-10

to the Tennessee Titans.

Texans owner Bob McNair already has been busy interviewing

coaches looking for someone to replace Gary Kubiak, whom he fired

Dec. 6. Interim coach Wade Phillips would like to be that man, and

several of his defensive players said they would like to see him

promoted.

”But it’s up to whoever makes that decision,” Houston

linebacker Whitney Mercilus said. ”We’ll see what happens from

there.”

Defensive end J.J. Watt said he’s not the man to ask about

whether Phillips is a good fit as head coach.

”I’m a football player and not a football coach or a GM,” Watt

said. ”Wade is a good football coach, and he brought me to this

town and so I will always be appreciative of that. I have no clue

what they are going to do, so that is a decision for people that

are paid a lot more money than me.”

Former Chicago coach Lovie Smith reportedly has interviewed for

the job along with Penn State coach Bill O’Brien and Phillips. With

reports that O’Brien is a leading candidate, speculation centers

around whether Phillips would agree to remain as defensive

coordinator if he is passed over. Phillips had the Texans ranked

seventh in the NFL in yards allowed going into Sunday’s finale.

Phillips said he just couldn’t answer that question after

finishing what might have been his most difficult season as a

coach. His father, Bum, died in October.

”I had some personal things to go through myself,” Phillips

said. ”It was a tough year that way and then the way our season

went. I still believe the guys played hard. I didn’t ask them to

wine very game. I asked them to play hard, and I thought they did

that.”

The Texans (2-14) finish the season not having won since Week 2

when they downed Tennessee in overtime and with 15 players on

injured reserve. Grimes became the fifth different running back to

start this season. He capped the opening drive to give the Texans a

lead they held until the third quarter, but Grimes also lost a

fumble.

The Titans (7-9) scored 16 straight points and converted the

four turnovers into 10 points. Chris Johnson ran for a TD and 127

yards in becoming only the sixth man in NFL history to start his

career with six straight 1,000-yard seasons in what might be his

last game in a Titans uniform with $29 million and three years’

left on his contract.

Schaub got his second straight start in what might have been his

final game in Houston after losing his job to Case Keenum and with

the Texans now getting the pick of the 2014 quarterback class.

He was intercepted twice, giving him 14 for the season, with one

ball bouncing off a defender’s face mask to Titans linebacker Akeem

Ayers and the second ending the Texans’ last hope of ending this

skid this year.

”Matt’s going to play somewhere,” Phillips said. ”If not

here, I think he’ll play somewhere.”

Pro Bowl receiver Andre Johnson said he couldn’t come up with

words to really describe what the Texans went through this season

except nobody wants to experience that again. Now he’s waiting to

see what changes take place once on a franchise where he wants to

finish his career.

”We will just see what happens with the whole process,”

Johnson said.

NOTES: Johnson finished with six catches for 49 yards for

Houston. … The Titans snapped a three-game skid to Houston in

this series. The Texans had won three of the past four in

Nashville.

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org