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Titans in AFC South cellar

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Maybe now the Texans won't hear so much
about the team they replaced in Houston.

David Carr threw for 266 yards and a touchdown, and Kris Brown
kicked field goals of 21 and 50 yards, as the Texans beat the
Titans 20-10 for their first victory over the team that left Texas
for Tennessee.

"This is definitely a big game for the Houston fans," Carr
said. "I wanted to get this ... for the fans as much as anybody
else. Hopefully, they're cheering back home. I know they are, and
we had to get it for them."

The Texans improved to 3-3 for the first time in the franchise's
three-season history by winning in the stadium Nashville built to
lure the former Oilers away from Houston. Other giant steps from
this game include victory in their first division game this season
and a second straight road win.

"Since this is our third year, it seems like every time we do
something, it's the first time," Houston coach Dom Capers said.

The Texans did it with defense, intercepting four passes and
sacking Steve McNair once.

The loss dropped the Titans (2-4) into sole possession of the
AFC South cellar. Worse yet, the Titans have lost three straight at
home for the first time since their final season in Houston in
1996.

McNair, the NFL's 2003 co-MVP, was angry the Titans failed to
follow a 48-27 victory at Green Bay last week with a strong outing.

"We've got to reach back and find the old Titans, because right
now we're not a great football team," he said.

Playing behind a patchwork offensive line missing both starting
guards, McNair tried to rally the Titans and drove them to the
Houston 4 in the final minutes. But Marcus Coleman intercepted
McNair on fourth-and-2 with 1:42 left, and the Texans ran out the
clock.

The banged-up Titans played without starting right guard Benji
Olson because of a strained groin. Shad Meier, their top tight end,
was in a hospital after an emergency appendectomy Sunday morning.
That forced coaches to scrap all their plays using two tight ends.

"That's no excuse," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said. "We're
pros. This is a professional coaching staff, and these are
professional players."

The injuries didn't stop there. They lost the AFC's leading
rusher this season in the third quarter when Chris Brown hurt his
right shoulder and was replaced by Antowain Smith.

Houston came into the game without starting right tackle Todd
Wade because of an ankle injury, and running back Domanick Davis
didn't play the second half after bruising his thigh.

Despite a sore ankle, Carr helped the Texans play keepaway from
the team that led the NFL in time of possession. They held the ball
for more than 32 minutes and outgained the Titans 345-305.

"The offensive line stepped up big. I was on one wheel today.
If I'd got hit at all, it would've been none," Carr said.

Tennessee struggled throughout the game. Interceptions ended its
first two drives, and the Titans went three and out on the third.
Tennessee disintegrated after yet another dropped pass in the
fourth quarter.

Drew Bennett had a pass bounce out of his arms on a third-and-5,
and Derrick Mason pulled off his helmet in frustration, drawing a
15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.

"It's feeling like 2001 right now, and that was miserable,"
Titans cornerback Samari Rolle said of their last losing season.
"But I think we've got the character guys on this team who won't
let us go down like that."

Carr, who tossed a 20-yard touchdown pass to Jabar Gaffney in
the second quarter for a 10-7 lead, drove the Texans methodically
65 yards in nine plays on the ensuing drive. Jonathan Wells scored
on a 4-yard run to put them up 20-10 with 4:42 to go, and he
finished with 73 yards on 22 carries.

The Titans had just 15 yards in the first quarter. They led only
once, 7-3, after McNair's TD pass to Bennett, set up when safety
Tank Williams blitzed Carr and poked the ball away for a fumble.<

^Notes:@ Wade sat out only the second game of his NFL career. He
missed only one start before joining the Texans as a free agent
from Miami this season. ... The last time McNair was intercepted
four times was Sept. 29, 2002, at Oakland during their 1-4 start.
... Houston's previous road victory over an AFC South opponent was
in its inaugural season over Jacksonville.