Deshaun Watson threw for 210 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a third as the Houston Texans set a franchise record with their eighth straight win, 34-17 over the Tennessee Titans on Monday night.
Demaryius Thomas scored his first two touchdowns as a Texan and Lamar Miller ran for 162 yards, including a 97-yard TD.
In the first game since founder and owner Robert “Bob” McNair died Friday, the Texans (8-3) honored him by wearing decals on the back of their helmets in the shape of a football with white block letters bearing his initials of “RCM.”
“The one thing Mr. McNair wanted was a winner,” J.J. Watt said. “All he wanted was a winner. He wanted to win every week. He wanted a team that could win and bring a championship to this city. So to be able to win eight straight and to be able to win tonight for him was good.”
With that reminder on their helmets, they became the first team in NFL history to win eight games in a row after starting 0-3. They lead Indianapolis by two games in the AFC South.
“We need to try and keep getting better,” Houston coach Bill O’Brien said. “We need to take the mantra that we’re going to improve every day.”
The Texans trailed by 10 early before reeling off 27 straight points. Tennessee (5-6) finally scored again on a 48-yard reception by Corey Davis late in the third quarter, but the second TD by Thomas — this one for 10 yards — made it 34-17 with just more than eight minutes left.
Marcus Mariota, who missed the second half of last week’s game after suffering a stinger, was 22 of 23 for 303 yards and two touchdowns. He completed his first 19 passes before an incompletion with just more than a minute remaining.
Miller’s 97-yard breakaway in the second quarter made it 21-10. It was the longest run in franchise history and the longest run in the NFL since his dash of the same length for a touchdown on Dec. 28, 2014, while with the Dolphins. He’s now the only player in league history with two career rushing touchdowns of 95 yards or longer.
The Titans went ahead 3-0 on their first possession, and Jonnu Smith had a career-long 61-yard catch-and-run touchdown that extended their lead less than halfway through the first quarter.