A Look Around The AFC South

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A Look Around The AFC South: 10.2.18

Colts.com offers a comprehensive look at the latest action around the AFC South Division, courtesy of the Associated Press and presented by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

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Tennessee Titans wide receiver Corey Davis (84) catches the winning touchdown pass over Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Avonte Maddox (29) in overtime of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. The Titans won 26-23. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

Houston Texans

After finally getting their first win this weekend, the Houston Texans know that they still have plenty of work to do if they hope to get on a roll and turn their season around.

The Texans (1-3) squandered an 18-point lead on Sunday before beating the Colts 37-34 in overtime to end a nine-game losing streak going back to last season.

Coming up next is a showdown with in-state rival Dallas, a team that enters the game at 2-2 after a victory over Detroit this weekend.

"There's a lot of things that we need to correct, but when you come out of that game with a win, there's a lot of things that you can look at that you can build on," coach Bill O'Brien said.

The Texans got great performances from defensive ends J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney on Sunday. Watt had two sacks, a tackle for a loss and forced two fumbles. Clowney recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown, had two sacks, four quarterback hits and four tackles for losses.

O'Brien said Sunday was Clowney's best game this season.

"He had a very disruptive game ... it was fun to see him back out there playing that way," O'Brien said. "He did a great job."

Despite the strong play of Watt and Clowney, O'Brien is looking for improvement on defense this week, especially in the secondary after Andrew Luck threw for 464 yards and four touchdowns on Sunday.

The Texans are also searching for ways to better protect Deshaun Watson after the quarterback was sacked seven times by the Colts. The second-year player has been sacked 17 times this season, which is the second most in the NFL.

Though O'Brien knows that his team must cut down the number of times Watson is getting hit, he was quick to point out that the problem isn't just with the line.

"The sacks are definitely not all the offensive line," he said. "I would say, to be honest with you, the offensive line is probably only responsible for two of those sacks. I think the other five came from missing some assignments here and there at other positions."

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Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars are preparing to play without running back Leonard Fournette again, maybe even for a longer stretch than before.

Fournette re-injured his right hamstring in a 31-12 victory against the New York Jets on Sunday, and coach Doug Marrone has no timetable for his return.

Marrone said tests show the injury is no worse than it was before returning. Considering Fournette missed two and a half games after initially tweaking it and came back too soon, it makes sense that the Jaguars (3-1) would be even more cautious this time around.

"It's the same thing," Marrone said Monday. "There's a thing that's just pulling at it. It's legit. There is something there, and we've just got to do everything we can to get that out. That whatever thing is that feels like it catches. That's all I know. I don't know all the doctor talk about it. I'm just trying to give you the layman's talk. It's just, 'Hey, I just got this little thing. It feels like it catches. It doesn't enable me to open up.'"

Jacksonville plays at Kansas City on Sunday and almost certainly will be without Fournette.

The Jags should be getting used to it by now. The second-year pro has missed five of 20 regular-season games and left his only two starts this season because of hamstring tightness.

He ran nine times for 41 yards in the season opener in the first half, and carried 11 times for 30 yards against the Jets in the first half.

Marrone declined to speculate on how long Fournette would be sidelined.

"I really don't know. Believe me, if I knew exactly what the deal was and I could tell you, three, six, 10, IR, whatever, I would," Marrone said. "I just don't know. Those injuries are tough, you know. ... I thought he was looking good. I really did and then, you guys are out there, so I mean you guys see him working. But it's different when you're playing a game. The game's different."

Even though Jacksonville is 4-1 without Fournette in the starting lineup, no one questions how important he is to the team. The run-first, old-school Jaguars built their entire scheme — offensive identity, really — around Fournette and his skillset.

"You put your whole offense around, you build it around a running, physical, downhill type of mentality," safety Tashaun Gipson said. "So when you lose that guy, who's one of the best at his position, it's tough. It's definitely tough."

T.J. Yeldon is expected to continue getting the bulk of the work during Fournette's absence, with Corey Grant serving as a change-of-pace option.

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Tennessee Titans

Mike Vrabel took a timeout late in overtime with the Tennessee Titans facing their third fourth down, then the first-year coach pulled kicker Ryan Succop off the field.

Marcus Mariota, Corey Davis and the rest of the Titans rewarded Vrabel for his big show of confidence.

Mariota hit Davis with a 10-yard touchdown pass with 5 seconds remaining in overtime, and the Titans beat the Philadelphia Eagles 26-23 on Sunday for their best start since 2013.

"He believes in us, believes we can go get that first down and go win the game," Mariota said of Vrabel letting the offense go for a third fourth down on the final drive. "When you have a head coach that believes in you, man that means the world."

Succop was lining up for a 50-yard attempt when Vrabel took the timeout. Only 17 seconds remained with the Titans facing third-and-goal when Mariota finally ended the game after 3 hours, 36 minutes.

"I got my heart pills coming," Vrabel joked. "I got a prescription, a big bottle. But I'm just proud of them being able to execute in the most critical of situations."

The Titans trailed by 14 in the third quarter before rallying for the lead. They also trailed 23-20 in overtime before coming back again behind Mariota, who in his first start since being knocked out of the season opener with an injured elbow threw for 344 yards and two touchdowns while also running for a score.

On the game-winning drive, the Titans converted three fourth downs, one by penalty. Mariota hit Taywan Taylor with a 19-yarder on fourth-and-15, and Mariota found a wide-open Dion Lewis on fourth-and-2 for a 17-yard gain. Mariota lofted the ball a bit knowing Davis would have room in the end zone for his first TD catch in the regular season.

"I got tackled by a bunch of teammates, but it felt good," said Davis, who finished with 161 yards receiving.

The Titans (3-1) also came up with four sacks. Rookie Harold Landry got his first and also stripped Carson Wentz of the ball within the first minute of the fourth quarter, setting up the second of Succop's two field goals.

The Eagles (2-2) had their chances to win both at the end of regulation and in overtime but were forced to settle for a pair of field goals by Jake Elliott.

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