HOUSTON — Derrick Henry ran into the NFL record books with the best game of his career.
It was a lucky bounce, though, that gave the Tennessee Titans a win over Houston Texans to close the regular season and their first AFC South Division title since 2008.
Henry ran for a career-high 250 yards to surpass 2,000 rushing yards for the season, and rookie Sam Sloman's 37-yard field goal bounced off an upright and through for the 41-38 victory.
"I told them I'm fortunate and proud to be their coach," Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel said. "They don't quit. They don't give in, and I know there's times where you could. I think unfortunately that happens sometimes in this league. They didn't. They battled back."
The Titans (11-5) needed the air game to set up Sloman's winner, though: A 52-yard throw from quarterback Ryan Tannehill to A.J. Brown moments after a 51-yard field goal by Houston tied it with 18 seconds left.
"In the end, we had some time and we executed, and Ryan and A.J. hooked up," Vrabel said. "There's a lot to fix and correct. We're not going to apologize for winning 11 games in the National Football League."
Tennessee will host the Baltimore Ravens (11-5) at 1:05 p.m. Eastern next Sunday.
"It's a legacy accomplishment," Titans safety Kevin Byard said. "Obviously very disappointed at how we finished the game defensively But at the end of the day, I'm not going to sit here and not celebrate winning the division."
Henry finished the regular season with a franchise-record 2,027 rushing yards to become the eighth player in NFL history to run for 2,000. He passed Chris Johnson, who had 2,006 yards in 2009.
Henry had touchdown runs of 52 and 6 yards in his third straight 200-yard rushing game against the Texans.
"I got it. I did it," he said of joining the elite 2,000-yard rushing club, though he added that he "wasn't pressing for it, just wanted to be able to win the game as a team and make it to the playoffs, win the division."
Henry entered the game having already secured his second straight rushing title, making him the first player to lead the league in rushing in consecutive seasons since LaDaianian Tomlinson completed the feat in 2007 for the San Diego Chargers. Second-place rusher Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings entered the final week with 1,557 yards and missed Sunday's game after the death of his father.
Henry, the 2015 Heisman Trophy winner at Alabama, ran for 1,540 yards in the 2019 season. He's the first player to top 2,000 yards since Adrian Peterson had 2,097 for the Vikings in 2012.
He said he was trying not to keep up with his statistics at Houston and told everyone he didn't want to know how close he was getting.
"I knew somebody was going to keep track of it," he said. "I think we were just all focused on winning, putting drives together, getting into the end zone and playing well as an offense. As long as we did that, what we wanted to happen would happen for us."
Tennessee had a three-point lead early in the fourth quarter when Tannehill was sacked on fourth-and-11 to give the Texans the ball at their 37. Houston took its first lead when Deshaun Watson found Pharaoh Brown on a 7-yard pass that made it 35-31 with close to 10 minutes remaining.
The Titans then capped a long drive with a 5-yard touchdown run by Tannehill with less than two minutes remaining. Henry reached the season milestone with a 6-yard run early in that drive.
Tannehill threw for 216 yards and a touchdown and ran for two scores. Watson threw for 365 yards and three touchdowns with an interception as the Texans (4-12) dropped their fifth in a row heading into an offseason when they must hire a general manager and a coach.
Watson's big day gave him a career-best 4,823 passing yards this season to move him past the Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes (4,740), who didn't play Sunday, for first in the NFL.
Henry's 6-yard run extended the lead to 24-9 early in the third quarter, but Watson connected with Brandin Cooks on a 38-yard pass to cut the lead to 24-15 after a missed extra point.
Tannehill's 5-yard scramble made it 31-15 later in the third. Henry had a 45-yard run two plays earlier to set up the score.
Cooks made a 20-yard touchdown catch on Houston's next drive, but the 2-point conversion attempt failed, leaving Houston down 31-21. Henry fumbled on Tennessee's next drive at its 28. Watson's 1-yard pass to David Johnson cut the lead to 31-28 late in the third.
"Fumble is a mistake, a fumble is not supposed to happen," Henry said. "You're supposed to take care of the ball, and I pride myself on trying to take care of the ball. I didn't do that today well. So I've got to fix that. I've got to be cautious of it and be better next week."
It was the fifth career 200-yard game for Henry, who ranks second behind Peterson and O.J. Simpson, who have six each.
"He's a great running back," Houston defensive end J.J. Watt said. "He's big. He's fast. He's powerful. He does a good job. We obviously did not do enough to stop him today."