Rookie T.J. Yates threw a touchdown pass in his first NFL start, Arian Foster rushed for 111 yards and Houston overcame another injury to Andre Johnson to beat Atlanta 17-10 on Sunday.
The Texans (9-3) have won a franchise-record six straight games, a remarkable feat considering they’re down to their third-string quarterback and have played the bulk of their streak without their star receiver.
Johnson left in the third quarter after hurting his left hamstring. He injured his right hamstring in Week 4, underwent minor surgery and sat out six games.
Coach Gary Kubiak said after the game that he was told the injury was not severe, but he couldn’t be certain until Johnson underwent tests on Monday.
Yates went 12-for-25 for 188 yards without an interception, an impressively poised performance after a whirlwind week. The fifth-round pick was thrust into action last week in Jacksonville when Matt Leinart broke his collarbone. Leinart was starting in place of Matt Schaub, who broke a Lisfranc joint in his right foot in Houston’s previous game.
After Johnson went down, Foster ably took over the offensive load, carrying 10 times on Houston’s decisive drive.
Foster scored with 6:05 left, and then it was up to the Texans’ defense to finish.
Atlanta got the ball back with 59 seconds left, and Matt Ryan threw a deep pass to Julio Jones to the Texans 25. But Ryan overthrew Roddy White in one corner of the end zone and Kareem Jackson swatted away a pass to Jones in the other corner as time expired.
More: The Texans held the ball more than ten minutes (35:04-24:56) longer than Atlanta. They converted an impressive 50% (9-18) of their third downs.
Secondary success: Houston held Ryan to only 20-46 passing. They picked him off twice and deflected 12 of his pass attempts. Cornerback Jason Allen led the way with two passes defensed and an interception return of 34 yards. The Texans have intercepted a pass in 11 consecutive games.
Long drive: In the second half, the Texans took more than 10 minutes off the clock on a 19-play drive, which tied a team record. The 85-yard mission ended with a go-ahead one-yard TD run by Foster. On the drive, Foster converted a key, fourth-and-1 with a seven-yard gallop to the Atlanta 2.
Next: Sunday December 11 at Cincinnati Bengals, noon CT.