Texans get 27-20 win over Titans despite Osweiler's mistakes

BY foxsports • October 2, 2016

HOUSTON (AP) Brock Osweiler has helped the Houston Texans to a 3-1 start.

But the quarterback, who is in his first year in Houston, knows he has to clean up his mistakes if the Texans hope to keep winning.

A tiebreaking 67-yard punt return by rookie Will Fuller helped Houston overcome two interceptions by Osweiler and get a 27-20 victory over the Tennessee Titans (1-3) on Sunday.

Osweiler has thrown six interceptions and just five touchdowns this season.

''It just boils down to decision-making, and that's something I know I need to be better at,'' he said. ''I put the team in some very poor positions, and I know that ... I will make better decisions. I promise you guys that I'm going to clean these interceptions up because that football team is working too hard, and they deserve better.''

Both of his interceptions on Sunday came on passes intended for DeAndre Hopkins on a day when the Titans limited the Pro Bowl receiver to just one reception for 4 yards.

Coach Bill O'Brien didn't fault Osweiler for trying to get the ball to Hopkins, and said he'll look to design better plays to help Osweiler avoid turnovers.

''I think the guy's playing well,'' O'Brien said. ''I really enjoy coaching this guy. He's very bright. He works very hard ... I thought overall, with the exception of the turnovers, I thought the guy played a good football game.''

Osweiler threw touchdown passes on Houston's first two drives on Sunday to give the Texans an early 14-0 lead before the offense stalled. He's looking for ways to sustain the success the team showed early as they prepare to visit Minnesota next week.

Some things we learned from Houston's win over the Titans on Sunday.

MARIOTA'S MISTAKES: Like Osweiler, Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota has more interceptions (five) than touchdowns (four) this season after throwing one interception on Sunday. The interception came when it looked as if he threw the ball directly to Houston's Quintin Demps in the second quarter.

''It was just a miscommunication on my part,'' Mariota said. ''Delanie (Walker) did a great job of just sitting in the hole. Just a bad throw. I should have just put it on him a little more.''

MCKINNEY'S CONTRIBUTION: Houston linebacker Benardrick McKinney had nine tackles to lead the Texans for the second straight week after piling up a career-high 16 stops last week. McKinney, who had 63 tackles as a rookie last season, already has 38 tackles and two sacks this season.

WALKER AND WRIGHT RETURN: Walker returned on Sunday after sitting out last week with a right hamstring injury. Walker, who had a career-high 94 catches for 1,088 yards last season, had two receptions for 34 yards on Sunday. The Titans also had receiver Kendall Wright back on Sunday after he missed the first three games with a hamstring injury. Wright finished with two receptions for 14 yards.

Mariota was glad to have Wright back.

''He's a playmaker for us,'' Mariota said. ''The more I give him the ball, the better he gets.''

FULLER'S BIG START: Through four games Fuller , who was the 21st overall pick in the draft, has 19 receptions for 323 yards and two touchdowns to lead all rookies. His punt return was Houston's first for a touchdown since 2013 and he became the first player in franchise history to have a TD reception and a punt return for a score in the same game. Fuller's 5-yard touchdown reception made it 14-0 in the first.

''I know there's a lot of room from improvement from me,'' he said. ''So I'm just going to continue to try to get better and just keep working.''

WORKING WITHOUT WATT: Sunday was the first time Houston had played without J.J. Watt since the 2010 season after the star defensive end, who is out for the season after back surgery, had started 83 straight games since being drafted in 2011. Several players, including 2014 top overall pick Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus , had solid games on Sunday to lead Houston's defense in his absence. Owner Bob McNair is certainly disappointed to be without last season's Defensive Player of the Year, but hopes that having so much time to recover will help him in the long run.

''The good news is maybe he extended his career an extra year or two,'' McNair said. ''We will keep up with him and help him in every way we can. We miss him, but others will step up. I think it will give them an opportunity to play. I'm looking forward to it.''


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