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Johnson, Finnegan ejected for fight
A fourth-quarter on-field brawl between Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson and Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan resulted in both players being ejected at Houston's Reliant Stadium, and the ugly fistfight overshadowed a 20-0 Texans victory that snapped the team’s four-game losing streak.
The latest slugfest between the two feuding combatants came with 7:39 remaining in the game and the Texans leading 17-0. Johnson, who was single-covered by Finnegan, engaged as soon as the ball was snapped.
Finnegan pushed up Johnson’s facemask, and the Texans’ wideout responded by aggressively ripping Finnegan's helmet off by the facemask.
Johnson threw at least two punches to Finnegan’s head and neck before the cornerback tore off the receiver’s helmet in retaliation. Teammates and officials intervened, preventing both teams from turning the fisticuffs into a full-fledged melee.
The game was halted for more than five minutes while officials sorted through the incident and initially determined that Johnson had to go. Then Finnegan also got the boot.
Johnson received a standing ovation from the Texans’ home crowd while being escorted off the field by security guards. Finnegan, meanwhile, taunted the booing crowd as he was escorted to the Titans’ locker room.
The division rivals have come to blows before. In a Week 2 contest during the 2009 season, Johnson was fined $7,500 for unnecessary roughness for taking Finnegan to the ground by the facemask after the play had ended.
Lost among the chaos — Arian Foster rushed for 143 yards and caught nine passes for the Texans (5-6), who were well on their way to their first shutout since 2004 when Johnson and Finnegan began throwing punches.
The incident came at the end of a tumultuous week for the Titans (5-6), who've lost four in a row.
Smith replaced Houston native Vince Young, who argued with Titans coach Jeff Fisher after he was taken out of last week's loss to Washington with a thumb injury. Young was placed on injured reserve and apologized to Fisher via text message. Young did not join his team for Sunday's game.
Titans offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger was on the sideline calling plays after he was diagnosed with cancer this week. He's due to start chemotherapy Monday.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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