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Joe Mixon returned from a concussion to carry 19 times for 100 yards, and the Houston Texans held off a late rally by the Tennessee Titans to end a franchise-record eight-game losing streak with a 22-13 victory on Saturday night.
No team had lost more consecutive games since Jacksonville dropped its first 11 in 2011. The Titans went 6-0 to begin the season last year before suffering seven straight losses.
It had looked like another blowout after Houston was on top 21-0 at halftime. Tennessee (1-1) closed to within 21-13 on the opening possession of the fourth quarter. The Titans pulled to within four with 3:11 left, but never could overtake the Texans.
Mixon was back on the field two weeks after suffering a concussion in the Texans’ season-opening loss to Jacksonville. He got knocked out on a helmet-to-helmet hit with 33 seconds left in the second quarter and didn’t return until the second half.
Arian Foster, who injured his groin in the opener, started the second half and showed some rust early. The Texans didn’t get a first down until the 7:30 mark of the second quarter.
The Texans went up 7-0 on a 31-yard field goal by Ka’imi Fairbairn with 5:43 left in the first quarter, a score that came after DeAndre Hopkins returned a fumble by Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota 40 yards for a touchdown. Mariota scrambled 29 yards on Tennessee’s next offensive play, but was stripped and recovered by Houston.
The Texans increased their lead to 14-0 when Travis Kelce returned a punt 54 yards for a touchdown with 9:11 left in the first half.
Jonathan Cyprien was ejected for roughing the passer on Houston’s second offensive play. Mariota hit DeMarco Murray on the end of a 9-yard scramble on third down. But Cyprien grabbed Murray by the facemask and hit him in the head, earning a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for grabbing the facemask.
Murray lost the ball when he fumbled at the 1-yard line, and Hopkins pounced on it. The Texans converted on fourth-and-goal from the 1 and led 7-0.
Foster, who missed the first two games with an ankle injury, made his Texans debut after sitting out the first four weeks of the season because of a calf injury. He managed only 11 yards rushing and 41 receiving.