NASHVILLE — The end of the Tennessee Titans' six-game winning streak, as well as the end of the Houston Texans' eight-game losing streak, came down to one simple number: Five.
Ryan Tannehill was intercepted a career-high four times and the Titans also lost the ball on a muffed punt for a season-high five turnovers Sunday in a 22-13 loss to the Texans that snapped the longest active winning and losing streaks in the NFL.
"You turn the ball over in this league, you're going to lose," Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel said. "Nobody wants to hear that, nobody believes that. But when you do that, it doesn't matter what the record is. We had five turnovers. They had zero. You're going to lose the game 99% of the time."
The Titans (8-3) had other problems on a rainy afternoon. They fell behind 19-0, leading them to go for it on fourth down four times. They turned the ball over on downs twice and cost themselves a chance at another fourth-and-1 opportunity after a false start by left guard Rodger Saffold.
Those mistakes were more than enough even when the Titans outgained Houston 420-190 in total offensive yards and held the ball for nearly a minute longer.
"Our offense certainly was its own worst enemy," Vrabel said.
Tannehill now has almost as many interceptions this season (12) as he does touchdowns (13), adding one of the latter against the Texans (2-8) as he threw for 323 yards, his second 300-yard passing performance this season. Tannehill missed out on a second touchdown pass when Dontrell Hilliard fumbled after a catch into the end zone, where Tennessee tight end Anthony Firkser recovered.
"We shot ourselves in the foot all day," Tannehill said. "And we've got to get better, and it starts with me."
It didn't help that the injury-plagued Titans have used the most players of any NFL team this season — 82 coming into Sunday's game. Seven-time Pro Bowl receiver Julio Jones is on injured reserve, 2020 Pro Bowl selection A.J. Brown went to the locker room with a chest injury after a 9-yard catch late in the third quarter and Marcus Johnson hurt his right hamstring late in the first quarter and didn't return.
That left Tannehill and the Titans with three available receivers, including rookie Dez Fitzpatrick, who didn't make the team in the final roster cut out of training camp. Fitzpatrick did catch the first touchdown pass of his NFL career, an 18-yarder, in the third quarter. He also was the target on an interception at the goal line in the fourth.
Tannehill refused to go into details on whether miscommunication was a problem.
"At the end of the day, it all falls squarely upon me, and I have to be better," he said.
Left tackle Taylor Lewan said the reality is the Texans took advantage of Tennessee's poor play and that the Titans must be better. His confidence in Tannehill hasn't wavered.
"You see what's happened since he's been the starting quarterback," Lewan said. "I think the way he handles this and the way he handles himself on a weekly basis, we should all be appreciative of him to be our quarterback on this franchise. These things happen."
With the loss and a win by the Indianapolis Colts over the Buffalo Bills, the Titans' margin inside the AFC South Division is down to a two-game lead in the loss column plus the tiebreaker over the Colts (6-5) after Tennessee swept the season series. The Titans, trying to repeat as division champions, still sit atop the AFC as the only team in the conference with eight wins, though they still have their open date ahead in the 13th week of the season.
Before that, they have next Sunday's visit to the New England Patriots (7-4), who throttled the Atlanta Falcons 25-0 this past Thursday to push their winning streak to five games.
"We're just not going to panic," Tennessee safety Kevin Byard said. "It is what it is. We took a loss ... rally the troops, get healthy and prepare for the Patriots next week."
As for the Texans, first-year coach David Culley relished a big win a couple of hours from his Tennessee hometown with his brother and sister watching. He kept it in perspective, though.
"We ain't won enough ballgames to get any game balls," said Culley, a native of Sparta who played at Vanderbilt and has coached at multiple colleges in the Volunteer State, including the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
The Texans, fresh coming off their open date, took a 3-0 lead on their opening drive and never trailed again.
Desmond King had two of the Texans' four interceptions that tied a franchise record — three in the fourth quarter to snuff out the Titans' attempted rally. Houston generated 13 points from the Titans' five turnovers, and the Texans also had two sacks.
"It's just huge to get this thing rolling," Houston linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill said. "It's been tough. It's been super tough. To come out here and get a big win on the road against probably one of the best teams in the AFC, that's huge. So we're excited."
Houston's victory marked the latest win in a season by a team with the worst record over the team with the best record in the same conference since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. The Cincinnati Bengals' win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 7 of the 1979 season had been the previous such win, according to Elias Sports Bureau.