NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Instead of trudging down the hallway, the Texans practically bounced into their locker room.
Texans Pro Bowl left tackle Laremy Tunsil kept saying, “We won, we won," while laughing loudly as he walked through the door.
Finally, the Texans were able to celebrate a win and head into Christmas with a hard-won victory.
“Thank you Santa,” Texans rookie safety Jalen Pitre said.
“I get to go home and be Santa Claus,” Texans nickel back Tavierre Thomas said.
It was an altogether different feeling for the Texans as they snapped a nine-game losing streak Sunday with a 19-14 comeback win over the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. The Texans (2-12-1) hadn’t won a game in over two months when they defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Instead of another bitter defeat like their narrow losses the previous two games against the Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys, the Texans got to celebrate. There was music playing in the locker room, and smiles from coach Lovie Smith.
"We needed this one," Smith said.
Indeed, the Texans did.
And they won the game in frigid 20-degree conditions after a one-hour postponement due to rolling blackouts in the area due to bad weather.
"It feels amazing, man," said defensive end Ogbo Okoronkwo, who sacked Titans rookie quarterback Malik Willis twice. "We work all week. We plan on winning. When we can get that done, it feels good. Especially before Christmas."
The Texans have experienced a ton of frustration.
This time, they got something tangible for their efforts.
They were beyond tired of moral victories.
"It means a lot," said Pitre, who intercepted Willis' Hail Mary heave on the final play of the game. "It shows us if we keep pushing we're going to see the light. I've been saying that every week. This week, did we what we needed to do. We're just going to continue to build."
Tunsil, named to the Pro Bowl for the third time and a candidate for All-Pro honors, was overjoyed at the outcome.
"Christmas came early for us," Tunsil said. "It means a lot just to get the W. We needed that. Finishing strong, that's what we wanted this whole season. That's what we're doing now."
The Texans limited Titans star running back Derrick Henry to 126 yards and one touchdown run after a rough start that included his 48-yard scamper. They had allowed four consecutive 200-yard games to Henry.
"It was good to finally get over that hump," defensive end Jon Greenard said. "We finally finished the game and got the right result. I haven't had too many W's against Tennessee."
Texans quarterback Davis Mills threw the game-winning touchdown pass to wide receiver Brandin Cooks to give them the lead for good.
The Texans had lost five one-score games this season, including two against the Cowboys and Chiefs.
"We had a Friday) night meeting," Smith said. "It was about a three-game season. We’re 2-1-1 in the division, and we want to end up with the best record in our division. We finish up with two more division opponents, so those games are huge for us.”
Aaron Wilson is a contributor to KPRC 2 and click2houston.com