Big games by Lamar Miller, Deshaun Watson boost Texans' playoff

Big games by Lamar Miller, Deshaun Watson boost Texans' playoff hopes

Deshaun Watson Deshaun Watson

HOUSTON -- The last time Lamar Miller had a chance for a long touchdown run -- Week 8 against the Dolphins -- he made it 58 yards before being tackled just shy of the end zone. Though he claimed his tackler "had an angle" on him, his teammates were on him, saying he just got caught.

That wasn't the case Monday night, as the veteran running back ran down the right sideline for a 97-yard touchdown in the second quarter of the Houston Texans' 34-17 victory against the Tennessee Titans.

Deshaun Watson passed for two touchdowns and ran for another in Houston's win against Tennessee. AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith

The Texans already have a big-play threat through the air in receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who had five catches for 74 yards. Miller showed they have one on the ground, too. The running back ran for 162 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries and the Texans set a single-game franchise record with 281 rushing yards, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

Miller's 97-yard touchdown jaunt was the longest run in franchise history. It was also the longest run in the NFL since Miller had a 97-yard run with the Dolphins in 2014. He is the only player in NFL history with two rushing touchdowns of 95-plus yards in his career, per NFL Research data.

This is only the third time this season that Houston (8-3) has scored more than 23 points in a game. If the Texans are going to win down the stretch and make a deep playoff run, this is the type of game they've got to play: a consistent running attack, a quarterback who does not turn the ball over and a stout front seven, led by defensive end J.J. Watt. The Texans' defense had a season-high six sacks, and the unit has recorded at least five sacks in back-to-back games of the same season for the first time in franchise history.

On Monday against the Titans, Watson completed 19 of 24 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns, and perhaps most important, he did not turn the ball over. He also ran for 70 yards and a score on nine carries.

Houston has now won a franchise-record eight straight. According to Elias research, the Texans are the first team in NFL history to win eight in a row after losing their first three games of the season.

With the victory, the Texans now have a 96.4 percent chance of making the playoffs and a two-game lead over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC South. And if they can replicate this performance -- one of the best they've had during this winning streak -- they could make a deep playoff run.

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