Titans seek to end losing skid

Titans rushing fior yards. (photo: Sarah Anne Mayes)

Titans rushing fior yards (photo: Sarah Anne Mayes)

This weekend the Tennessee Titans will play their first road game in over a month as they travel south to face their AFC South division rival, the Houston Texans (2-5). The Titans (1-5) were last on the road at Cleveland in Week 2, where they lost to the Browns on Sept. 20. The Titans have now lost every game this season except their season opener at Tampa Bay.

Last week, the Titans suffered a 10-7 loss at Nissin Stadium at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons. The 10 points allowed by the Titans were the fewest by an opponent since the 10 points by the Chiefs in the 2014 season opener at Kansas City.

Prior to last week, Marcus Mariota had started the first five games of the season. His left knee was injured Oct. 18 against the Miami

Dolphins, and although he was able to finish that game, he was inactive against the Falcons. Mariota, the second-overall draft pick, owns a 93.2 passer rating as a rookie, completing 103 passes for 1,239 yards, nine touchdowns and five interceptions on 161 attempts.

Second-year quarterback Zach Mettenberger started against the Falcons in place of the injured Mariota. Mettenberger was 22-of-35 passing for 187 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Kendall Wright, the Titans highlight of the day.

Defensively, outside linebacker David Bass and inside linebacker Avery Williamson each recorded interceptions, the latter of which came on fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line. It was one of a pair of fourth-down stops for the defense against the Falcons. In overall defense in 2015, the Titans rank fourth in the NFL, allowing an average of 324.3 yards per game and trailing only the Denver Broncos (281.3), New York Jets (283.2) and Seattle Seahawks (294.1). The Titans are second in the league in passing defense (195.2 yards per game) behind the Broncos (192.2).

The Houston Texans head into Sunday’s matchup after a 44-26 loss at Miami. Houston quarterback Brian Hoyer passed for 273 yards and three touchdowns, while former Titans wide receiver Nate Washington produced nine catches for 127 yards and two scores for the Texans. The Dolphins used 175 rushing yards by Lamar Miller and four touchdown passes by Ryan Tannehill to seal the win for Miami.

Houston has used both Hoyer and Ryan Mallett at quarterback this season. Hoyer has appeared in five games with three starts, including starts in the last two contests. His season statistics include 106 completions on 180 attempts for 1,346 yards, 11 touchdowns and three interceptions (95.7 passer rating). Hoyer has the benefit of one of the top young pass-catching talents in the NFL, third-year wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. The former first-round pick leads the NFL in 2015 with 776 receiving yards and is tied for second place with 58 receptions.

On defense, the Texans are led by two-time Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt. Watt is tied for fourth place in the NFL with six sacks. Bill O’Brien is in his second year as head coach of the Texans.