Now, with the Titans building momentum and McNair coming off perhaps his best game of the season, they have an opportunity to exact some revenge when they visit the floundering Texans.
McNair, last season’s co-MVP, threw four interceptions and completed just 30 percent (19-for-41) of his passes in a 20-10 loss to Houston on Oct. 17, and a bruised sternum caused him to miss most of the following four weeks.
On Sunday, McNair started for the first time since Oct. 24 and finished a game for the first time since the Texans loss, leading the Titans past the Jacksonville Jaguars 18-15 by engineering a drive for the winning score with 3:31 left.
“That’s the sign of an amazing player,” receiver Drew Bennett said. “When it comes down to crunch time at the end of the game, everybody in the huddle, there was no doubt we were going to go down the field on that last drive and score just because of the look in his eye.”
The win was the Titans’ second in three games.
McNair’s numbers weren’t outstanding, as he went 18-for-30 for 209 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. But he was 3-of-5 for 55 yards on the decisive drive, and he ignored his injury to run for a 2-point conversion that provided the final margin.
The Titans won despite playing without six starters, including running back Chris Brown (turf toe), left tackle Brad Hopkins (broken right hand) and both safeties. Coach Jeff Fisher announced Monday he had lost two more players to season-ending injuries.
Cornerback Andre Woolfolk, who needed surgery to repair a dislocated right wrist, and rookie safety Justin Sandy, who broke his left ankle 48 hours after being promoted from the practice squad, won’t be available to help a secondary that lost safety Tank Williams to a torn ACL last week.
“It is going to be a challenge for us, but we will have enough out there,” Fisher said of his banged-up secondary. “I can’t tell you where they are going to line up and play right now. I may not for competitive reasons, but we will have enough out there to play.”
Houston has dropped three straight, including a 16-13 loss to Green Bay on Sunday.
The Texans built a 10-point lead and played well through three quarters, and David Carr went 8-of-15 for 115 yards in the first half. But he was 5-for-11 for 49 yards after the break, when the Texans were so bad on offense that the home crowd started booing.
“We can’t let this tough loss have a lingering effect,” Texans coach Dom Capers said. “We’ve got a Tennessee team coming in here this weekend that’s coming off of a big game against Jacksonville. … I like the character of our football team. I like the fight in our football team.”