Derrick Henry rushed for 211 yards and clinched the NFL’s regular-season rushing title as the Tennessee Titans secured a playoff berth on Sunday with a 35-14 victory over the host Houston Texans.
Henry’s last carry, a 53-yard touchdown run with 2:54 left in the game, enabled him to pass Cleveland’s Nick Chubb for the top spot among NFL rushers with 1,540 yards. He also scored on 3- and 1-yard runs in the second half as sixth-seeded Tennessee (9-7) earned a trip to AFC East champion New England next weekend for their wild-card game.
Ryan Tannehill completed 13 of 20 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns for the Titans. Tennessee finished with 467 yards of offense and improved to 7-3 since Tannehill became the starter in Week 7.
The Texans (10-6) sat out several key players, but were in the game for three quarters thanks to a good performance by backup quarterback A.J. McCarron. He hit on 21 of 36 passes for 225 yards and rushed for a 1-yard touchdown late in the third quarter that pulled them within 21-14.
Fourth-seeded Houston will host Buffalo next weekend in an AFC wild-card matchup.
Houston had nothing at stake in its regular-season finale, and coach Bill O’Brien opted to rest quarterback Deshaun Watson and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins minutes after Kansas City’s win over the Los Angeles Chargers.
Still, McCarron guided an impressive 15-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to start the game — the team’s first TD on an opening drive this year. Duke Johnson lunged the ball over the goal line from 1 yard out for a 7-0 lead with 7:25 left in the first quarter.
Tennessee responded in less than two minutes, with Tannehill and A.J. Brown hooking up on a 51-yard touchdown pass to tie the game.
Tannehill made it 14-7 with 9:42 remaining in the first half on a 1-yard scoring strike to MyCole Pruitt, capping a 16-play, 90-yard march that lasted 8:04.
—Field Level Media