On the other hand, all Houston had to do to end its three-game
losing streak was hand the ball to Arian Foster.
The Texans running back rushed 20 times for 151 yards and scored
three touchdowns, leading his team to an easy 30-16 win at sold-out
Foster found the end zone on a 34-yard run, snapping a 3-3 second
quarter tie, and plunged in from the 1 with 5:42 left in the third
quarter for a 27-3 lead which sent some in the audience of 69,143
streaming for the exits.
Foster, who also caught a 5-yard scoring strike from quarterback
Ryan Fitzpatrick with 12:35 remaining in the third, has rolled up
766 yards in just seven games. He missed Houston's Sept. 21 loss at
the New York Giants with a hamstring injury.
"He has a really good ability to get the ball north and south after
his first cut," Texans coach Bill O'Brien said. "I always tell
(running backs coach) Charles London, 'That's great coaching.'"
Meanwhile, Mettenberger's first NFL start went about like it figured
to -- some bright spots with some rookie errors. The sixth-round
draft pick from LSU completed 27 of 41 passes for 299 yards and two
touchdowns on 6- and 12-yard throws to tight end Delanie Walker and
wide receiver Justin Hunter, respectively.
But Mettenberger didn't get much help from a running game which
managed only 36 yards on 13 carries, or an offensive line which left
him vulnerable to Houston's strong pass rush. Defensive end J.J.
Watt notched two sacks, giving him nine in eight games.
His first sack led to a Mettenberger fumble that was recovered by
defensive end Tim Jamison at the Titans 20. It turned into Foster's
touchdown reception three plays later, giving the Texans (4-4) a
"I saw some things to build on," Mettenberger said, "but we just
have to keep working hard. We have to eliminate the penalties and
Mettenberger was named the starter Thursday over Jake Locker, a 2011
first-round pick who has struggled with injuries and inaccuracy in
his four seasons, and career backup Charlie Whitehurst.
Houston cornerback Johnathan Joseph said defensive coordinator Romeo
Crennel mixed coverages in an attempt to keep Mettenberger
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"A guy starting his first game, you want to throw different looks at
him," Joseph said. "At the same time, you want to stay tight in
coverage with the guys so that (Mettenberger) has to make contested
Mettenberger's big mistake was an ill-advised throw for Walker late
in the first half that was picked off by strong safety D.J.
Swearinger and returned 25 yards to the Tennessee 48. It led to one
of three Randy Bullock field goals, a 29-yarder with 19 seconds left
that made it 13-3 Texans.
Fitzpatrick, who played with the Titans last year, connected on 19
of 35 passes for 227 yards despite being sacked five times. Wide
receiver DeAndre Hopkins had five catches for 95 yards.
Tennessee (2-6) lost for the sixth time in seven games, but is
hoping next week's bye helps it bounce back for the season's second
"Absolutely, it helps us," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "We'll get
some players back, good players that can help us. We'll get a chance
to get a little bit of a break."
NOTES: Tennessee RB Shonn Greene was active despite being arrested
Friday night on multiple charges after trying to evade a ticket for
parking in a handicapped spot, and started. Greene ran for a yard on
the first play, his only carry of the day. ... Houston LB Brian
Cushing (knee) was declared inactive and replaced by Akeem Dent. ...
Texans LB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) was active for the first time
since the season opener, although Whitney Mercilus started in his
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