NASHVILLE – The Titans let another one slip on Sunday.
After building an early lead, the Titans were unable to finish against the Texans.
Instead of celebrating back-to-back victories, the Titans left Nissan Stadium disappointed after coming up short in a 19-16 overtime loss to the Texans.
Even harder to digest: With the loss, the Titans were eliminated from playoff contention.
“We felt like we had a chance to be close to getting in if we won,” Titans running back Derrick Henry said. “It’s tough knowing we have three (games) left. It definitely has a sour taste in the mouth. But there are three games and we have to try to give our best to win them and end the season on a positive note. “
The Titans fell to 5-9 on the season. After an emotional win Monday night in Miami, the Titans had a chance to make it back-to-back wins for the first time this season.
The Titans blew a 13-0 lead and saw the Texans win it with a field goal in overtime.
“I don’t expect anyone to roll their tails or bag him,” defender Aziz Al-Shair said. “At the end of the day we have three games left and this 2023 group that we have will be the last time we play together for those last three games. And we have to take full advantage of that, take it day by day, get back to work, try to finish the season strong.”
Titans quarterback Will Lewis threw for 199 yards in the contest while also rushing for a touchdown in the contest.
But Levis was also sacked seven times and he limped out after being sacked in overtime.
Henry ran for just nine yards on 16 carries on a day when the Titans couldn’t generate consistent momentum on offense.
The Texans rallied to force overtime, then won it with a field goal in overtime as time expired.
“I don’t think we’re ready to discuss that,” coach Mike Vrabel said of his team’s elimination from the playoff race. “I think we’re just trying to get back, get healthy. We had a lot of guys play a lot less than 100 percent, which we know is going to happen where we are in the season. A lot of fight, a lot of competitiveness, rely on our leaders and make sure we do everything we can to give them an opportunity to feel confident coming into the game and play hard.”
The Titans got off to a fast start.
After forcing a defensive 3-and-out, the offense drove the ball 83 yards on 11 plays and capped it off with a one-yard touchdown run by Lewis that capped long completions by Traylon Burks (37 yards) and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (33 yards) on the road.
Early in the second quarter, Titans defensive back Elijah Molden intercepted Texans quarterback Case Keenum and he returned it 45 yards for a touchdown. The pick-6 made it 13-0 Titans at 13:56 of the second quarter.
The Titans led 13-3 at halftime after holding the Texans to a field goal on their final possession of the half.
Midway through the third quarter, after an interception thrown by Levis, the Tennessee defense stiffened once again, holding the Texans to a short field goal that made it 13-6 with 6:27 left.
A third field goal by Texas kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn made it 13-9 with 2:42 left in the third quarter.
The Titans got a big stop early in the third quarter on a sack by quarterback Denico Autry. It was Autry’s 10th sack of the season, which set a career high.
Kicker Nick Faulk’s 45-yard field goal made it 16-9 Titans with 7:28 left.
But the Texans drove down the field and scored on a three-yard touchdown pass from Keenum to receiver Noah Brown to tie the game at 16-16 with 3:03 left.
The game then went into overtime and the Titans were unable to win it despite having two offensive possessions.
“It’s very disappointing,” said Dylan Raduntz, who wrestled him. “Our defense kept us in this game the whole time and not being able to execute, that’s tough. Our defense gave us a lot of opportunities to win this game and we absolutely fell short.”
The Titans return to action next Sunday against the Seahawks at Nissan Stadium.