Titans beat Texans to win consolation prize
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Their AFC South title hopes dashed last week, the Tennessee Titans earned a consolation prize to end their season Sunday.
Matt Cassel threw for 150 yards and a touchdown as Tennessee finished with its first winning season since 2011 with a 24-17 decision over the division champion Houston Texans at Nissan Stadium.
Playing in place of Marcus Mariota, who broke his leg in last week's 38-17 loss at Jacksonville that ended the Titans' surprise bid for their first playoff berth in eight years, Cassel completed 16 of 26 passes. He hit Rishard Matthews with a 2-yard scoring strike with 23 seconds left in the half, giving Tennessee a 14-0 halftime lead.
The Titans (9-7) also got a 2-yard touchdown run from rookie Derrick Henry with 4:44 left in the third quarter for a 21-7 lead, as well as a 35-yard field goal from Ryan Succop at the 8:30 mark of the fourth quarter to make it 24-10.
Tennessee's first touchdown came just over five minutes into the game when defensive end DaQuan Jones recovered a fumble by Tom Savage in the end zone after linebacker Sean Spence sacked him at the Houston 15.
Savage, making his second career start, completed 5 of 8 passes for 25 yards before leaving the game after the first play of the second quarter. Savage sneaked 2 yards for a first down but was checked for a possible concussion and then returned to the sidelines later in the half after clearing protocol.
Savage kneeled down with the first half's final snap but didn't play in the second half as former starter Brock Osweiler replaced him.
Osweiler completed 21 of 40 passes for 253 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown to C.J. Federowicz with 10:31 left in the third quarter that cut the Texans' deficit to 14-7. Osweiler also scrambled a yard with 3:11 remaining in the game for a score that drew Houston (9-7) within seven points.
Nick Novak added a 26-yard field goal for the Texans, which got 123 yards on seven receptions from DeAndre Hopkins.
Matthews finished with 114 yards on nine catches as the Titans snapped a five-game losing streak against Houston, dating back to 2013.
NOTES: Houston deactivated six starters, including DE Jadeveon Clowney, LB John Simon, RB Lamar Miller, CB Johnathan Joseph, FB Jay Prosch and ILB Brian Cushing. The Texans also deactivated QB Brandon Weeden. ... Tennessee's inactives were WR Kendall Wright, CB Jason McCourty, DB Curtis Riley, OLB David Bass, OG Sebastian Tretola, TE Jace Amaro and DE Angelo Blackson. ... Titans RB DeMarco Murray was held to 21 yards on 11 carries but won the AFC rushing title over the idle Le'Veon Bell of Pittsburgh.