The Texans jumped to a three-touchdown lead and held on for a 28-21 win over the still-winless Lions on Sunday.
The Texans scored touchdowns on their first three possessions for the first time in team history. Matt Schaub completed all but two of his passes in the first half and Slaton and Green combined for almost 100 yards rushing before the half.
Houston wasn’t quite as sharp in the second half, punting on four of five possessions, and was outscored 18-7, allowing the Lions (0-6) to cut the lead to a touchdown with about 4 minutes left.
“The whole week we were saying we wanted to come out and play our best football,” Andre Johnson said. “We did that for a half. We didn’t do that in the second half.”
The Texans (2-4) held the ball until there were just 20 seconds to go and Detroit’s last play ended in a fumble.
Schaub finished 26-of-31 for 267 yards with two touchdowns.
Detroit’s Calvin Johnson had a 96-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter before Jason Hanson’s second 54-yard field goal made it 28-21. The drive that ended in the field goal was aided by two 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalties by the Texans.
“I’m a little relieved, I guess,” Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. “You’ve got to enjoy winning in this league. It’s hard to win. Sometimes you play good enough and you don’t win and then today we definitely didn’t play good enough throughout the second half, but we found a way to win.”
Daniels scored Houston’s only second-half points on a 1-yard catch that capped a 15-play drive taking more than 10 minutes. It gave Houston a 28-10 lead late in the third quarter.
That drive was kept alive when the Texans went for it on fourth-and-1 from the 3. Officials ruled that Matt Schaub ran for the first down, but Detroit challenged the call. After review, officials moved the ball slightly and measured again, but the result was the same: first down Houston.
Calvin Johnson had two catches for a career-high 154 yards receiving in Detroit’s first game since trading fellow receiver Roy Williams to Dallas for draft picks. Johnson’s TD was the fourth longest touchdown pass in Lions history and the longest since 1998.
Dunta Robinson was called for pass interference on the first 2-point conversion try and Calvin Johnson grabbed the pass on the second to make it 28-18.
It was Robinson’s first game since suffering severe knee and hamstring injuries almost a year ago. He finished with two tackles.
“It was emotional,” Robinson said. “My dad told me I better not cry on TV so I made sure of that.”
Rookie Kevin Smith got Detroit within 21-10 with a 26-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter. He jumped onto the ledge of the first row of the stands and bowed while balancing on his knees after the score. A flag was thrown, but officials indicated there would be no unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after a short conference.
“I feel that there were some things that were a lot better this week than in other weeks,” Detroit coach Rod Marinelli said. “I will have to go back and look at the tapes, but overall I feel that the progression of this team this week was a good one.”
The Texans’ offense was flawless on its first three possessions, scoring touchdowns.
Houston was on the verge of scoring again when Schaub was sacked by Dewayne White and fumbled inside the 10. Jared DeVries recovered and Calvin Johnson caught a 58-yard pass on the ensuing drive, but time ran out before the Lions could convert.
The Lions had no yards passing until a 25-yard reception by Mike Furrey with about 9 minutes left in the first half. That drive stalled and Hanson made a 54-yard field goal.
“We’re trying to do things to help us win, but I need to do a better job of getting (Calvin Johnson) the ball,” quarterback Dan Orlovsky said.
Houston took an early lead on a 2-yard catch by Daniels, the first touchdown in the opening quarter for the Texans all season. A 37-yard run by rookie Steve Slaton and a 17-yard reception by Andre Johnson set up that score.
Green made it 14-0 with a 1-yard touchdown run midway through the first quarter. It was the oft-injured back’s first touchdown since last November.
Detroit has been outscored 54-0 in the opening quarter.
“They had a great tempo,” Marinelli said. “All I can tell is the breakdowns. Obviously, we’ve got to start faster.”
Slaton’s score on a 1-yard run early in the second quarter made it 21-0.
Houston Rockets star Yao Ming attended the game and stood on the sideline for a portion of the first half. … Lions FS Dwight Smith injured his foot, but Marinelli said he didn’t have an update on his status. … Houston’s 29 first downs were a franchise record.