HOUSTON (AP)Derrick Henry dominated the Houston Texans again, running for 219 yards and two touchdowns to carry the Tennessee Titans to a 17-10 win on Sunday.
It was Henry’s fourth straight 200-yard game against the Texans, making him the first player in NFL history to have at least 150 yards and two touchdowns on the ground in four consecutive games against the same opponent. The 28-year-old has six 200-yard games in his career, tying O.J. Simpson and Adrian Peterson for the most in NFL history.
With rookie quarterback Malik Willis making his first start for the injured Ryan Tannehill, the AFC South-leading Titans (5-2) went to Henry early and often. He ripped off a season-long 41-yard run on his second carry of the game and never looked back against Houston’s NFL-worst run defense.
Henry had a season-high 32 carries and touchdown runs of 29 yards and 1 yard to help the Titans build a 14-3 lead.
The Titans were up by 14 when Davis Mills connected with rookie Dameon Pierce on a 3-yard touchdown pass that cut the lead to 17-10 with less than 30 seconds left in the game. But Tennessee recovered the onside kick to seal it.
Henry’s big day gives him 75 career touchdowns (72 rushing and three receiving), passing Eddie George for most TDs in franchise history.
Henry has run for 892 yards and nine touchdowns combined in his last four games against Houston. He missed both games against the Texans last year with a broken foot, making Sunday his first game against them since the finale of the 2020 season, when he ran for a career-best 250 yards to surpass 2,000 for the year.
The last-place Texans (1-5-1) weren’t just terrible on defense Sunday. They also couldn’t get anything going on offense and didn’t crack 100 yards until late in the fourth quarter. They finished with 161 yards and were 2 of 14 on third down.
Mills was 17 of 29 for 152 yards with an interception and a touchdown, struggling more than usual with top receiver Nico Collins out with an injury.
Willis, who was the 86th pick in the draft, threw for 55 yards with an interception as Tannehill sat out for the first time since the seventh game of the 2019 season.
Henry put the Titans up 7-3 when he shed two defenders and stiff-armed another as he tumbled into the end zone on a 29-yard run with about four minutes left in the second quarter.
He pushed the lead to 14-3 when waltzed in on fourth-and-goal from the 1 midway through the third. Dontrell Hilliard had runs of 21 and 30 yards to set up that touchdown.
The Titans finished with 314 yards rushing as Hilliard added 83.
Steven Nelson intercepted Willis and returned it 34 yards to the Tennessee 11 early in the second quarter. But the Texans lost 13 yards on the ensuring drive and settled for a 43-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead.
Randy Bullock, who was 4 for 4 on field goals last week to win AFC special teams player of the week, missed a 48-yard attempt on Tennessee’s first drive.
Mills was intercepted by Kristian Fulton on Houston’s opening drive, but the Titans couldn’t take advantage of the error and had to punt.
Robert Woods fumbled a punt return in the first quarter, and the Texans recovered. It was the third fumble on a punt return for the Titans this season but the first by Woods.
The Texans couldn’t cash in on that mistake, either.
Tannehill missed the game with a sprained ankle and an illness. … Titans S Amani Hooker injured his shoulder in the first quarter and didn’t return. … Houston DB Grayland Arnold injured a quadriceps in the second half and didn’t return. … OL Justin McCray left in the fourth quarter to be evaluated for a concussion.
Titans: Visit Kansas City next Sunday night.
Texans: Host undefeated Philadelphia on Thursday night.
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