NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -One game the Tennessee Titans look like playoff contenders, the next like a team in disarray.
The Titans showed their better half Sunday, snapping a three-game losing skid to put themselves back in the playoff mix. Their defense showed improvements, and their sporadic offense finally showed some life.
But can they keep it going?
``It was nice yesterday to score touchdowns,'' Titans coach Jeff Fisher said with a smile Monday. ``Which was an area of improvement for us.''
The Titans hadn't scored more than three offensive touchdowns this season and had not held a lead since beating Carolina on Nov. 4.
With the victory, the Titans (7-5) moved back into contention for an AFC wild-card berth, a game behind Jacksonville (8-4) and tied with Cleveland (7-5).
``We can't afford to lose any game,'' running back LenDale White said after Sunday's 28-20 win over Houston. ``Going on a three-game losing streak, this is great to get back on the winning end. It is good to know what winning feels like again.''
Tennessee has been a streaky team the past two seasons. The Titans, who are 5-1 in December going back to last year, will need another strong showing in the season's final month to boost their playoff push.
Vince Young is playing the best he has all season. After going 1-for-9 inside the 20 the past three games, the Titans scored touchdowns on all three trips to the red zone against the Texans.
``When you score a touchdown, your fans get into it,'' Young said. ``You're pushing your defense coming to the sideline and the guys get the ball right back. Different things like that are motivation. What we needed was to get back on track and back where we needed to be.''
The Titans didn't quite show the swagger that propelled them to a 6-2 start. But they did steal back their season before it was lost.
With a tight race in the AFC, the Titans can't afford a home loss.
``We're still a work in progress. We're far from where we want to be,'' said defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch. ``We thrive on emotion, and winning again will lift us up a bit and give us confidence. We needed to win in a big way. Hopefully we can carry the win with us to give us some momentum.''
The Titans got Albert Haynesworth back against Houston, and won for the first time since Haynesworth was sidelined because of a right hamstring injury. The Titans star defensive tackle played, although he wasn't quite recovered and sat most of the fourth quarter.
After allowing just 66 yards rushing per game before Haynesworth suffered the injury, that figure ballooned to 160 without him. The Texans had 119 yards on the ground.
Fisher said Haynesworth was sore Monday, but he should be at full-strength for the first time since the injury come Sunday - when the league's reigning Most Valuable Player, LaDanian Tomlinson, leads the San Diego Chargers (7-5) in Nashville.
``Everything is there,'' Fisher said. ``He didn't have the chase that he'd had before the injury. But he was very explosive up front. As you'd expect from a defensive lineman who takes that much time off practice, he was a little rusty.''
The Titans are hoping Sunday was just the beginning of their latest streak.
``We stand great if we win the next four games,'' linebacker Keith Bullock said. ``We stand just as good as anyone else. We just have to keep playing. It's not a matter of 'being back' or anything. That's the real purpose of the season is to get there. And there is the postseason.''

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