Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) – Ryan Fitzpatrick threw two of his career-
high six touchdown passes to DeAndre Hopkins as the Houston Texans cruised
past the Tennessee Titans, 45-21, in an AFC South blowout on Sunday.
Fitzpatrick, back as Houston’s starter because of the injury to Ryan Mallett,
and Hopkins hooked up nine times and accounted for 238 of the quarterback’s
358 passing yards.
J.J. Watt punctuated the rout with his third touchdown catch of the season and
threw in two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery for good measure.
Arian Foster, who missed the previous two games with a groin injury, totaled
105 yards from scrimmage and caught a touchdown pass for the Texans (6-6), who
still trail the division-leading Colts by two games with four to play.
The Titans (2-10) dropped their sixth straight and saw starting quarterback
Zach Mettenberger exit with a shoulder injury in the third quarter.
Mettenberger and Kendall Wright connected on a 36-yard touchdown pass out of
the break, but on the next series, Tennessee’s rookie QB took a big hit from
Watt and exited with a right shoulder injury.
Jake Locker, who was replaced by Mettenberger as the starter last month, came
on in relief, and his first pass was intercepted by Jumal Rolle.
On the next snap, however, Jason McCourty stripped Andre Johnson, picked up
the loose ball near the sideline and sprinted 62 yards untouched to pull the
Titans within 24-14.
The Texans answered with the next 21 points to win going away.
Hopkins caught a 34-yard toss from Fitzpatrick with cornerback Brandon Ghee
draped all over him in the end zone, then had a 56-yard catch-and-run to set
up Johnson’s 4-yard touchdown catch early in the fourth quarter.
Watt stripped Locker on the ensuing series, recovered the fumble, then made a
diving catch in the end zone with his fingertips after another Hopkins catch
put the ball on the 1-yard line.
Locker threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Nate Washington to account for the
Houston took the opening kickoff and held the ball for nearly 7 1/2 minutes.
Hopkins caught a pair of third-down passes from Fitzpatrick, who kept the
drive alive by rushing for a first down on 4th-and-2 from the Tennessee 35.
On the 14th play of the trek, Ryan Griffin was left uncovered out of the
backfield and caught Fitzpatrick’s 8-yard touchdown pass.
Johnathan Joseph picked off Mettenberger’s first pass and returned it to the
Titans 20, and Foster’s 7-yard grab made it 14-0 just over 10 minutes in.
Randy Bullock tacked on a 37-yard field goal with 3:25 left in the half, and
the Texans got the ball back with under a minute to play.
Hopkins got behind the secondary and hauled in Fitzpatrick’s perfectly-thrown
bomb, and the 58-yard strike gave the hosts a 24-0 cushion at halftime.
Watt has accounted for six takeaways this season … Mettenberger finished
with 184 yards on 13-of-19 passing, while Locker was picked off twice and
tossed for 91 yards on 6-of-12 throws … Wright caught seven passes for 132
yards … Foster and Johnson remain tied for the most touchdowns (63) in