HOUSTON (AP) - Andre Johnson politely asked Cortland Finnegan to stop it. By the fourth quarter, Houston's star receiver had simply had it with the Tennessee cornerback's antagonistic antics.
Their feisty duel exploded into a full-blown fistfight late in the Texans' 20-0 win Sunday over the Titans. Both players were ejected, and the ugly incident could lead to further discipline from the NFL.
"He kept doing little things and I told him: "Just because you're frustrated, you need to stop what you're doing,'" Johnson said. "I guess he thought it was funny."
The usually soft-spoken Johnson caught nine passes and a touchdown before walking off the field to a standing ovation.
"It's just a buildup of things over plays," Johnson said. "I just lost my cool."
Finnegan did not speak to reporters after the game.
"It's not good for the game, no," said Titans coach Jeff Fisher, co-chairman of the NFL's competition committee. "You don't want to see that stuff."
Arian Foster rushed for 143 yards and also caught nine passes for the Texans (5-6), who were on their way to their first shutout since 2004 when Johnson and Finnegan began slugging it out midway through the fourth quarter.
The two got into a milder shoving match on the previous play, with Johnson giving Finnegan a shot in the back before Finnegan took off his helmet and walked away.
Finnegan then set off the brawl by jabbing at Johnson's neck and face mask at the line of scrimmage. Johnson ripped off Finnegan's helmet and landed at least two punches to Finnegan's head and neck. The two spun each other, and Finnegan tore off Johnson's helmet before players and referees intervened.
"I awarded it to Andre on points," Texans owner Bob McNair joked.
This was Round 2 between Johnson and Finnegan. Last season, Johnson was fined $7,500 for taking Finnegan to the ground by the face mask during a scuffle after a play in a 34-31 Texans win.
Cornerback Glover Quin set a Houston record with three interceptions off Titans rookie quarterback Rusty Smith, who struggled in his first career start. Smith completed 17-of-31 passes for 138 yards and a 26.7 passer rating.