Watson leads Texans to franchise-record 8th straight win
HOUSTON (AP) — Deshaun Watson threw for 210 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a third as the Houston Texans set a franchise record with their eighth straight win, 34-17 over the Tennessee Titans on Monday night.
In the first game since founder and owner Robert “Bob” McNair died on Friday, the Texans (8-3) honored him by wearing decals on the back of their helmets in the shape of a football with white block letters bearing his initials of “RCM.”
With that reminder on their helmets, they became the first team in NFL history to win eight games in a row after starting 0-3. They lead Indianapolis by two games in the AFC South.
The Texans trailed by 10 early before reeling off 27 straight points. Tennessee (5-6) finally scored again on a 48-yard reception by Corey Davis late in the third quarter, but the second TD by Thomas — this one for 10 yards — made it 34-17 with just more than eight minutes left.
Marcus Mariota, who missed the second half of last week’s game after suffering a stinger, was 22 of 23 for 303 yards and two touchdowns. He completed his first 19 passes before an incompletion with just more than a minute remaining.
Miller’s 97-yard breakaway in the second quarter made it 21-10. It was the longest run in franchise history and the longest run in the NFL since his dash of the same length for a touchdown on Dec. 28, 2014, while with the Dolphins. He’s now the only player in league history with two career rushing touchdowns of 95 yards or longer.
The Titans went ahead 3-0 on their first possession, and Jonnu Smith had a career-long 61-yard catch-and-run touchdown that extended their lead less than halfway through the first quarter.
Houston got going after that, cutting the lead to 10-7 when Thomas grabbed his first touchdown since being traded from Denver on Oct. 30, a 12-yard grab with about six minutes left in the quarter.
Watson put the Texans on top when he scrambled 15 yards for a score on the first play of the second quarter.
The Titans went for it on fourth-and-inches from the 3 later in the second, but tight end Luke Stocker was stopped for no gain.
Miller’s long TD, which helped Houston set a franchise record with 281 yards rushing, came on the next play. He took the handoff in the end zone and darted through a crowd of Titans before shedding one tackle and simply outrunning the rest of the defense.
The Texans kicked a field goal as time expired in the second quarter to take a 24-10 lead into halftime.
The Texans honored McNair in a pregame ceremony, which included a video tribute to him while the Texas A&M Singing Cadets sang “Amazing Grace.” While the video was played, one side of the video board displayed the words: “Faith, Family, Philanthropy, Football.”
Painted on both 25-yard lines was a football with his initials that looked just like the decals on the players’ helmets.
Television cameras panned to several fans with signs honoring the late owner with one that read: “McNair Never Forgotten.”
Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler left in the second quarter to be evaluated for a concussion and did not return. … Houston WR Keke Coutee didn’t return after injuring his hamstring in the third quarter.
Titans: Host the New York Jets on Sunday.
Texans: Host the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
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