HOUSTON (AP) — Mario Williams dragged down Jay Cutler for the third time, jumped up and sashayed like a hula dancer.
Last year’s No. 1 pick had a career-high 3 1/2 sacks to lead the Houston Texans to a 31-13 victory over the Denver Broncos on Thursday night.
With its seventh of the season, Houston tied the franchise record for victories.
Texans (7-7) fans yelled “overrated” when Williams was picked, but chanted his name Thursday as he posed Superman-like with his hands on his hips for several seconds after he took Cutler down for the second time.
Williams’ performance made him Houston'’s career sack leader with 17 1/2. He’s had a sack in a team-record five straight games and has 13 for the season and nine in the last five games.
His sack of Cutler forced a fourth down and the Broncos went for it, but the pass fell short, giving Houston the ball.
Ron Dayne, who didn’t start because of a sore ankle, scored on a 6-yard run on the ensuing drive to push Houston’s lead to 17-6. The Texans all seemed amped up for the their first prime time game since 2005 and their first game with the roof open this season.
Denver (6-8) got its second straight big game from receiver Brandon Marshall, who finished with 11 receptions for 107 yards.
In the first regular-season meeting between Houston coach Gary Kubiak and Denver’s Mike Shanahan, it was the protege who outdid his mentor. Kubiak was Shanahan’s offensive coordinator for 11 seasons in Denver.
Andre Johnson had a 4-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter for his career-high seventh touchdown of the season. He finished with six receptions for 86 yards.