News & Analysis

NFL Week 17 PFF ReFocused: Tennessee Titans 41, Houston Texans 38

Jan 3, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Tennessee Titans kicker Sam Sloman (2) reacts after making a field goal during the fourth quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee Titans needed to defeat the Houston Texans to take home the AFC South crown in Week 17. And Tennessee did just that, handing Houston its 12th loss of the season in epic fashion, 41-38. 

This Week 17 bout was not only the best of the slate but also one of the best in recent memory, as it included: Derrick Henry rushing for over 2,000 yards on the season, Deshaun Watson leading a would-be game-tying drive and the Texans leaving A.J. Brown one-on-one with 18 seconds remaining en route to a game-sealing Titans field goal. 

Editor's note: All of PFF's grades and advanced stats from this game will be finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle.

STORY OF THE GAME

Henry notched a career-high 250 yards and two touchdowns on his 34 carries, bringing his season total to 2,027 on the year — one of just four running backs since 2000 to reach the 2,000-yard mark. Pending review, Henry forced 10 missed tackles and took five of his carries for 10-plus yards, further highlighting just how dominant he was against a porous Texans defense. 

Ryan Tannehill did not have to do all that much behind Henry’s production, but he did complete 18-of-27 passes for 216 yards and one touchdown while adding another two red-zone rushing scores. As far as receiving weapons goes, it was all Brown today — he hauled in 10 receptions for 151 yards and a touchdown. 

Although his team finished with a 4-12 record, Watson was nothing short of spectacular all season long, and that remained true against the Titans. He completed 5-of-7 throws targeted 20-plus yards downfield for 134 yards, two touchdowns and zero turnover-worthy plays. After throwing no touchdowns and one interception in the first half, Watson bounced back and completed 13-of-16 passes for 203 yards and three touchdowns, though it was not enough to propel his team to victory. 

David Johnson was productive in the backfield, taking his 17 touches for 120 total yards and a rushing score. Keke Coutee racked up 90 receiving yards and Pharaoh Brown reeled in a touchdown, but it was Brandin Cooks who stole the show among the pass catchers. On 11 receptions, the wideout took the top off the Tennessee secondary for 166 yards — his most since 2016 — and two touchdowns. 

ROOKIE WATCH

Only offensive guard Aaron Brewer saw significant playing time for the Titans among their crop of rookies. He was solid in the run game and allowed just one quarterback pressure on 15 pass-blocking snaps, though it was a sack. 

Charlie Heck (63), Jonathan Greenard (50) and Ross Blacklock (35) all saw more than 30 total snaps for the Texans. Heck conceded one sack and a quarterback hurry on 42 pass-blocking reps but was not impactful in the run game. Greenard generated 3 quarterback pressures on 22 pass-rushing snaps and netted five tackles for loss against the run with one tackle for loss and one missed tackle. Blacklock was unable to record any significant plays during his time on the field. 

ELITE subscribers can view player grades, advanced statistics, positional snap counts, and more in Premium Stats 2.0.

Know tomorrow, today. Western Southern Financial Group.
Sponsor

NFL Featured Tools

  • 250+ three-page scouting profiles - advanced stats, 3-year grades, player comps, combine data and Senior Bowl grades - for the 2021 draft class.

    Available with

    Edge
  • PFF's Big Board for the 2021 NFL Draft offers three-year player grades, combine measurables, position rankings, and in-depth player analysis for all of the top draft prospects.

    Available with

    Edge
  • PFF's exclusive metrics provide matchup previews, position rankings, grades, and snap counts.

    Available with

    Edge
  • Our exclusive database, featuring the most in-depth collection of NFL player performance data.

    Available with

    Elite
Pro Subscriptions

Unlock NFL Player Grades, Fantasy & NFL Draft

$9.99 / mo
$39.99 / yr

Unlock Premium Stats, PFF Greenline & DFS

$34.99 / mo
$199.99 / yr