NASHVILLE — The Texans are back in the lead in the AFC South thanks to a big game by Arian Foster.
Foster ran for 115 yards and two touchdowns and added 119 more receiving with a 78-yard TD as the Texans routed the Titans 41-7 Sunday to take back the divisional lead from Tennessee.
The Texans (4-3) snapped a two-game skid even with Pro Bowl receiver Andre Johnson missing his third straight game and fullback James Casey his second due to injuries. Matt Schaub threw for 296 yards and two TDs, and the Texans won in Nashville for the second time in three years.
Tennessee (3-3) has lost two straight, wasting the half-game lead in the division picked up when the Texans lost during the Titans bye last week. Fans booed Chris Johnson as he was stopped early and often, and finished the game with 18 yards on 10 carries.
This one was over early, and the crowd began leaving at the start of the fourth quarter.
Houston outgained the Titans 518-148 and had the ball for more than 37 minutes. Ben Tate ran for 104 yards, marking the first time the Texans have had two backs top 100 yards in the same game in their short history.
The Texans picked off two passes with Brice McCain returning the second 38 yards for a TD, and had two sacks.
Houston started slowly, punting on the first two drives. Then the Texans scored on six of the next seven possessions in blowing out their rival.
Neil Rackers started it with the first of two field goals. Danieal Manning’s interception pinned Houston at its own 13, but Schaub finished off an 87-yard drive with a 10-yard TD pass to Joel Dreessen midway through the second quarter.
Houston needed four plays on the next drive when Schaub rolled to his right, stopped and threw back across the field to Foster who caught the ball and easily outraced the Titans to finish off a 78-yard TD for a 17-0 lead. Schaub had been banged up in the past two games. Against Tennessee, he had plenty of time to throw and was rarely touched.
Foster capped an 92-yard drive by leaping over the top for a 1-yard TD, giving the Texans a 27-0 lead late in the third quarter that was so big they couldn’t let it slip away as they did in the past two losses. He added a 5-yard run early in the fourth.
The Titans have yet to figure out how to get Johnson going after he missed the preseason before signing his $53 million extension. Going no-huddle with Javon Ringer in for Johnson helped the Titans avoid the shutout, and Hasselbeck capped the drive with a 5-yard TD pass to Jared Cook on a 5-yard TD on fourth-and-goal with 5:34 left in the third.
It wasn’t nearly enough, and rookie Jake Locker replaced Hasselbeck with 9:32 left after his second interception. The eighth pick overall got his first NFL completion on a 12-yard toss to Lavelle Hawkins.