Rookie quarterback Malik Willis made his first career start on Sunday but wasn't asked to do much, attempting just 10 passes as the Tennessee Titans bulldozed their way for a 17-10 victory over the Houston Texans.
Behind Derrick Henry's dominant performance, the Texans gobbled up 314 rushing yards to just 40 net passing yards.
"If they can't stop the run, why would we not run it?" Willis said. "More than anything, we're not out here to try to throw for 300 every game or try to run for 300 every game. We're out here trying to find ways to win games. That's all."
With the rookie under center, predictably, Henry was the workhorse. The running back rushed for 219 yards on 32 carries (6.8 yards per) with two touchdowns. Henry posted his sixth 200-yard rushing performance, tying him with Adrian Peterson and O.J. Simpson for most in NFL history. With his two TDs, Henry also became the Titans' all-time leader in rushing scores.
The Titans didn't need Willis to throw to win. The QB went 6-of-10 passing for 55 yards and an INT. He attempted just one pass, an incompletion, in the second half. The third-round pick added just five carries for 12 yards, including the game-ending kneel-down.
"Malik, first NFL start on the road, crowd noise, all those things," coach Mike Vrabel said. "We tried what we felt like gave us the best chance to win the football game. That is going to change each and every week."
In his few attempts, Willis missed some throws, including a late throw behind Cody Hollister that led to an interception.
"I thought (Willis' performance) got better," Vrabel said. "Today, there were some good things and some things that, if he's quarterback for us next week, that we'll have to be better at. But that will be about the same for everybody."