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Danieal Manning and Kareem Jackson each returned an interception for a touchdown, Matt Schaub threw for two touchdowns and 208 yards, Arian Foster found the end zone once and by the end of the day the Houston Texans (4-0) were able to finally claim that they made it out of the month of September undefeated for the first time in their history.
It took four games into the franchise’s 11th NFL season, but a convincing 38-14 victory over the Tennessee Titans (1-3) on Sunday in Texas brought Houston to what had previously been uncharted territory – the land of 4-0.
“Feels like we are little kids in the backyard, having fun,” said Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, who recorded two sacks and a fumble recovery. “We literally do not care who gets the credit.”
Titans quarterback Jake Locker exited the game for good after injuring his left shoulder during Tennessee’s second offensive series following a blitzing hit from Texans safety Glover Quin. The second year quarterback had the same shoulder banged up in the season opener against the New England Patriots.
“I didn’t see [Quin],” Locker said. “I would have done something if I had seen it.”
Veteran quarterback Matthew Hasselbeck, who was demoted to the backup role this season, filled in for Locker for the remainder of the game. He had just 193 passing yards to go along with two interceptions and a lost fumble.
“It’s frustrating because I feel like we’re not that far away,” Hasselbeck said. “But we didn’t play great and we had turnovers and I was a part of three of them. It’s just frustrating because I know we’re capable of a lot more.”
An 11 yard touchdown pass to fullback James Casey capped off a seven play, three minute and nineteen second drive on the game’s opening series. With about less than a minute remaining in the first quarter, Foster punched in a run from four yards out to extend the Houston lead to 14-0.
Tennessee tight end Craig Stevens’ 19 yard touchdown reception with 7:52 left in the first half cut the deficit in half at 14-7. The score would not change going into halftime.
The game turned with less than 10 minutes on the clock in the third quarter when Texans veteran cornerback Danieal Manning intercepted a deep pass by Hasselbeck and returned it 55 yards for the score.
Schaub threw his second and final touchdown pass to tight end Owen Daniels late in the third, and the Texans were running away with it, up 28-7.
Houston’s defense imposed its will. They would only give up another seven points the rest of the game, which came on an 11 yard touchdown pass to rookie receiver Kendall Wright during the final minutes of the fourth quarter, once the game was well in hand.
It wasn’t a perfect day for Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, however. His crew had a great deal of difficulty trying to contain Titans running back Chris Johnson. Johnson posted 141 yards on 25 carries.
“It was a pretty good game,” Johnson said. “We ran the ball. I felt like my offensive line went out there and did a great job from the first snap, just getting up on guys, pushing those guys back, and just giving me somewhere to run.”
Ten fourth quarter points for the Texans, seven of which came as a result of an interception taken all the way back 63 yards by cornerback Kareem Jackson, was plenty enough to seal the comfortable victory.
But despite not having tasted defeat a quarter of the way through the season, Schaub refused to make too much of the feat.
“There is a lot of things we can correct from this game,” said Schaub, “but we are fortunate to be 4-0.”
Image Courtesy of Houston Texans