HOUSTON – J.J. Watt hit rookie Zach Mettenberger on the field and scolded him off it in Houston's first game against Tennessee this season.
Watt was miffed that the Titans quarterback posted selfies on social media in the week leading up to his first NFL start, including one hours before the game. He mocked him after a sack by posing for a fake selfie as a celebration.
After Houston's win Watt said he wanted to let the rookie know that that this was the NFL and not high school when asked about the gesture.
So would Mettenberger consider mimicking Watt's mock selfie after a touchdown pass when the teams meet again Sunday?
"Absolutely not, because I'm going to have to play that guy next year, so I don't want to really just get him going for him to think about that all offseason," Mettenberger said. "I'm just going to go out there and play football."
Watt said he doesn't care if Mettenberger posts another selfie before Sunday's game. As for if he thinks he got in the rookie's head with that celebration and the ensuing comments, he wasn't sure.
"I don't know," Watt said. "Maybe, maybe not. But my goal is to get in people's head with my play. That's the No. 1 way to get inside somebody's head ... when you have success, you get to have a little bit of fun along the way. That's kind of the way it works in this league."
Mettenberger hasn't posted a selfie since and has only sent three tweets since Watt called him out. So, did he stop because of Watt's comments?
"I was just addicted to it, I guess; put myself in a rehab program," Mettenberger joked. "So now that I've quit I feel like I'm a much better person."
Mettenberger threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns last time against Houston, but also had an interception and was sacked twice.
Watt said he thinks Mettenberger has improved since they last saw him and expects that improvement to continue this week.
Some things to know about the Titans-Texans game:
BACK IN THE SADDLE: Houston quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will start Sunday with Ryan Mallett out for the season with a chest injury. The veteran started the first nine games for Houston before being benched in favor of Mallett, who went 1-1. Fitzgerald said it isn't anything new to be thrust into the starting lineup at a moment's notice. He started the last nine games for the Titans last year after Jake Locker was injured.
SECOND TIME AROUND: This will be the first time Mettenberger has played a team for the second time. He threw for the most yards by a rookie in franchise history last week with 345, topping a mark that stood since Nov. 25, 1960, when this team was the Houston Oilers in the AFL. That's also the highest single-game passing total for a rookie quarterback this season. Dan Pastorini (eight in 1971) and Vince Young (13 in 2006) are the only rookie quarterbacks to start more games than Mettenberger for this franchise.
CLOWNEY'S SETBACK: Top overall pick Jadeveon Clowney suffered a setback this week on his surgically repaired right knee and is unlikely to play Sunday. Houston's outside linebacker has already missed seven games because of the injury. He was in for about 50 plays last Sunday in his most extensive action since the injury, but experienced swelling in his knee after the game and hasn't practiced all week.
SHUFFLED TITANS: The Titans' offensive line could look very different Sunday with potentially three new starters. Left tackle Taylor Lewan is recovering from a sprained left ankle and right tackle Michael Oher was in a walking boot protecting a sore toe on his left foot. They put center Brian Schwenke on injured reserve Tuesday.
So veteran Chris Spencer is replacing Schwenke. Byron Stingily could be making his first start this season at left tackle, with veteran Will Svitek set to play if Oher winds up missing a game for the first time in his six-year career. Coach Ken Whisenhunt says the Titans have a plan for shuffling if they run into further injuries.
FOSTER SHOULD RETURN: Houston running back Arian Foster practiced this week and should play after missing the last two games with a groin injury. Foster is third in the AFC with 822 yards rushing.
AP Sports Writer Teresa Walker contributed to this report.