Ka’imi Fairbairn kicked a 54-yard field goal as time expired in overtime and the Houston Texans rallied from a 13-point deficit without C.J. Stroud to beat the Tennessee Titans 19-16 Sunday.
The Texans (8-6) entered the day one spot outside of the AFC’s seven-team playoff field. They kept pace by winning without several key players, including Stroud — their standout rookie quarterback — along with top receiver Nico Collins, right tackle George Fant and a pair of defensive starters out injured.
Case Keenum made his first start since Week 17 of the 2021 season for Cleveland. He filled in for Stroud, the No. 2 overall pick who didn’t practice all week while in the concussion protocol and didn’t travel. Keenum threw for 229 yards and helped Houston outgain the Titans 340-204.
Titans (5-9) rookie quarterback Will Levis left with 1:49 left in overtime after being sacked for the seventh time with his left leg caught underneath him in the pile. He didn’t put pressure on the leg as he was helped off initially, then walked off. He was jogging on the sideline after a check in the medical tent.
Fairbairn, in his first game back after missing the last five with an injured quadriceps muscle, helped the Texans claw back. He made field goals of 23, 27 and 53 yards as the offense stalled close to the goal line.
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Keenum drove the Texans to their lone touchdown with 3:03 left, helping tie it at 16 and force overtime. He found Noah Brown for a 3-yard TD pass.
Devin Singletary ran for 121 yards and nearly finished the game with a 34-yard TD run in the final seconds of overtime. His run was wiped out by a holding call on John Metchie, setting up Fairbairn’s field goal.
The loss clinched the second consecutive losing season for the Titans in coach Mike Vrabel’s six seasons.
The Texans also spoiled Tennessee’s day wearing wearing their Oilers’ throwbacks against the team that replaced them in Houston. The oil derrick logo team founder Bud Adams brought with him to Tennessee in 1997 was at midfield with the Oilers’ nickname in both end zones and decorated the walls along the field.
Vrabel even wore a cowboy hat in honor of late Oilers coach Bum Phillips. Vrabel wore the hat to the stadium, on the field during pregame warmups and in the tunnel as his Titans ran onto the field before kickoff.
Earl Campbell, the Pro Football Hall of Fame running back with the Oilers and the NFL MVP in 1979, attended and visited pregame with the franchise’s current rushing leader Eddie George and current running back Derrick Henry.
Billy “White Shoes” Johnson was inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor at halftime.
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