NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 15 PFF ReFocused: Houston Texans 24, Tennessee Titans 21

Nashville, TN, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver Kenny Stills (12) celebrates after a win against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Texans took control of the AFC South (for now at least) Sunday by beating the Tennessee Titans 24-21 in the first of their two games in three weeks.

PFF's ReFocused series features immediate takeaways from the two analysts who graded the game live. The two offer a detailed breakdown of the game's most notable performances before the grades and advanced stats are reviewed and finalized by Senior Analysts.

All of PFF's grades and advanced stats from this game and the other games played this week will be finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle. ELITE subscribers can view player grades, advanced statistics, positional snap counts and more in Premium Stats.

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Final Score

Houston Texans 24, Tennessee Titans 21

Houston Texans

The Texans played with a single-digit lead for much of the game, and that make the short-yardage situations all the more important. While the offensive line did a fine job of up front, Carlos Hyde appeared to have additional juice in the take on every carry. Hyde carried the team to victory by using up the clock to limiting the opportunities for the Titans’ offense that resulted in over 100 yards on the ground.

Kenny Stills was the early MVP for the Houston offense with a pair of receiving touchdowns during the second quarter. The first came on a crosser with Logan Ryan in coverage, in which Ryan was also called for holding, and the second occurred on a fade for 16 yards with Tye Smith trailing behind. Stills has seen an uptick in usage following some injuries to Will Fuller, and the additional touches carried over upon Fuller’s return.

D.J. Reader was his usual dominant self inside, as he helped hold the Tennessee ground game in check (with the exception of a huge run by TE Jonnu Smith). He had his normal multiple run stops, and continually forced the Titans' RBs to change the POA due to his penetration.

Zach Cunningham was outstanding against the run. He was extremely aggressive to the line of scrimmage, allowing him to take on blockers in the point of attack as well as beat blockers to the ball for multiple run stops.

Tennessee Titans

QB Ryan Tannehill saw almost no pressure in the pocket until the fourth quarter, and played an excellent game as a result. He showed accuracy and velocity to all parts of the field, but was hurt in the first half by a couple of drops by his receivers in the first half, as well as multiple contested catches that did not go Tennessee's way.

Rookie A.J. Brown doesn't look anything like a rookie right now, as he is clearly Tannehill's favorite target. The Texans threw three different cornerbacks at him in man coverage, and none of them could prevent him from consistently moving the chains throughout the day.

The Tennessee defense as a whole played quite well throughout the game. The absence of Adoree’ Jackson is an observable burden, as the secondary, understandably, found difficulty containing DeAndre Hopkins, who surpassed 100 receiving yards, yet again. Other than the touchdown allowed to Kenny Stills, slot CB Logan Ryan played a solid game throughout with a handful of defensive stops.

On the defensive line, Kamalei Correa recorded a couple splash plays that included defeating RT Chris Clark for a sack of Deshaun Watson. Jeffery Simmons made his presence felt with defensive stops against the run, and batting a pass that ended up in the hands of Jayon Brown for one of the two interceptions forced.

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