Jimmie Ward picked off Russell Wilson in the end zone with nine seconds remaining and the Houston Texans escaped with a 22-17 victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday at NRG Stadium.
Ward recorded the third interception of Wilson, who eluded pressure from Texans linebacker Blake Cashman before heaving a third-down pass intended for tight end Lucas Krull. The Broncos had covered 72 yards over 14 plays and converted twice on fourth down before being turned back in the red zone.
Denver (6-6) had its five-game winning streak snapped, while Houston (7-5) has won four of its last five games.
Derek Stingley Jr. recorded a pair of interceptions — upping his total to four over the last three games — the first of which returned possession to the Texans at the Denver 21. Four plays later, C.J. Stroud tossed a three-yard scoring pass to Nico Collins for a 22-10 lead with 14:16 left.
Collins posted nine receptions for a career-high 191 yards. Stroud passed for 274 yards.
Wilson had a 45-yard touchdown pass to Courtland Sutton that pulled Denver to within 16-10 and a 41-yard pass to Jerry Jeudy that set up a 1-yard Wilson scoring run with 12:04 left.
But the Texans held defensively, led by rookie end Will Anderson Jr., who had five tackles, four hits on Wilson, two sacks and a tipped pass that resulted in the first Stingley interception.
The Texans dominated the first half but their inability to convert on third down prevented them from establishing a comfortable lead. Despite producing 259 yards while surrendering only 103, the Texans led 13-3 at the intermission after producing a 1-for-8 third-down conversion rate.
Houston kicker Matt Amendola converted field goals of 29, 38 and 38 yards in the first half. The Texans secured a 10-0 lead with 3:49 left in the first quarter on a 3-yard touchdown run from Dameon Pierce that capped a 10-play, 78-yard march, but lost standout rookie receiver Tank Dell when he was caught in the pile while attempting to block and sustained an ankle injury. Dell had to be carted off the field.
The Broncos’ first snap in Houston territory came with just under five minutes remaining in the half, and that 13-play, 56-yard drive fizzled in the red zone and culminated with a 34-yard Wil Lutz field goal with 1:24 left in the second. Denver finished 0 for 6 on third down in the first half.