Mettenberger injured as Titans routed by Texans
HOUSTON — Titans quarterback Zach Mettenberger should be OK after injuring his shoulder on Sunday.
There’s a lot more uncertainty about a Tennessee offensive line decimated by injuries.
Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for a franchise-record six touchdowns and DeAndre Hopkins had a career-best 238 yards receiving and two scores as the Houston Texans rolled to a 45-21 win over the Titans.
Mettenberger was injured playing behind a makeshift offensive line missing three starters. He said he has a sprain and that he’ll have an MRI on Monday.
"As minor as it seems right now we’ll get it straightened out (Monday)," he said. "Hopefully I can put myself in a situation to play next week."
The Titans were missing rookie left tackle Taylor Lewan (ankle), center Brian Schwenke (knee), who was placed on the injured reserve Tuesday, and right tackle Michael Oher (toe), who was active but did not play.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt didn’t provide an update on any of the injured linemen after the game and right guard Chance Warmack’s status is unclear after he injured his ankle late in Sunday’s game.
"With new guys stepping in we’ve got to pick it up on the line," left guard Andy Levitre said. "We’ve got to have more attention to detail, more focus. We’ve got guys who have been here a long time and are fairly new to this offense so our attention to detail has to be that much greater."
Jake Locker took over in the third quarter and threw for 91 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions for the Titans (2-10), who have lost six straight.
"We talked about it in the locker room and we’ll continue to talk about what we need to do," Whisenhunt said. "We’ve got to get better; we’ve got to play better."
Fitzpatrick started after being benched for two games for Ryan Mallett, who suffered a season-ending chest injury last week.
J.J. Watt had his third touchdown reception, two sacks, forced and recovered a fumble for Houston (6-6).
Fitzpatrick passed for 358 yards and came up one short of tying the NFL record by throwing touchdown passes of 8, 7, 58, 34, 4 yards to his receivers before ending his day with a 1-yard TD toss to Watt. It came on the drive after Watt’s forced fumble and elicited chants of "MVP" from the crowd.
Watt has 11 1/2 sacks and five touchdowns to make him the first player to have at least 10 sacks and three or more touchdowns in a season since 1982, when sacks became an official statistic.
Mettenberger found Kendall Wright on a 36-yard pass early in the third quarter to cut the lead to 24-7. Mettenberger said he wouldn’t dare take a fake selfie as a celebration after Watt mocked him with one after a sack in his last game against Houston; Watt was irked that the rookie had been posting them all week.
But Wright apparently didn’t feel the same way and pantomimed one after his score.
He was asked if this game was the low point of a disappointing season.
"Kind of yes, but we are a positive group of guys and no matter what the record shows we come every day and work hard like we still have a chance of going to the playoffs," Wright said.
Mettenberger was injured on the next series when driven to the ground by Watt. He finished with 184 yards passing with a touchdown and an interception. He was replaced by Locker, who was intercepted by Jumal Rolle on his first play.
That didn’t matter much as Jason McCourty stripped the ball from Andre Johnson, picked it up and raced 62 yards for a touchdown to get Tennessee within 24-14.
Hopkins caught a 58-yard touchdown pass to extend Houston’s lead to 24-0 just before halftime. The second score by Hopkins made it 31-14 later in the third quarter. Johnson had a nifty catch in the end zone to extend Houston’s lead to 38-14.
Johnathan Joseph grabbed an interception on Tennessee’s first offensive play and returned it 25 yards to the Tennessee 20. A 7-yard catch by Arian Foster, who returned after missing two games with a groin injury, pushed Houston’s lead to 14-0.