HOUSTON (AP) – The Houston Texans are winless no more.

They didn’t find the end zone after their first possession Sunday, but managed to eke out an ugly 19-16 win over the struggling Cleveland Browns and break a seven-game losing streak.

Kris Brown kicked a 40-yard field goal, his fourth of the day, with 2:45 remaining, to give Houston (1-6) the come-from-behind win. The winning kick was set up by a 63-yard kickoff return by rookie Jerome Mathis.

Houston’s losing streak spanned back to a 22-14 loss to Cleveland in last season’s finale. The loss is the third straight for Cleveland (2-5).

Houston’s defense got two second-half fumbles that Brown converted into two field goals to erase a 13-10 halftime deficit and put the Texans up 16-13 early in the fourth.

But Brown was wide right on a 38-yarder on Houston’s next possession and Cleveland kicker Phil Dawson tied the game at 16 with a 37-yard field goal.

David Carr rebounded from a 48-yard passing performance last week to throw for 138 yards and a touchdown. He was sacked twice on Sunday – the fewest times he’s been put on the turf this season.

Houston got inside the 25-yard line four times in the second half but had to settle for field goals each time. Carr often had ample time to throw but still struggled to get the ball to his receivers.

He did throw a perfect ball to Mathis, who fought through double-coverage to haul in the 34-yard touchdown on the first drive of the game. It was the first touchdown reception of the rookie’s career and the first time Houston had led all season.

After going three-and-out on their first series, the Browns tied the game when a wide open Aaron Shea leaned down to get a low 8-yard pass from Trent Dilfer in the end zone. It the first time in three games Dilfer had thrown a touchdown pass and the Browns’ first offensive touchdown in as many games.

Dilfer was better than he was in a three interception, 73-yard outing last week, but his fumble on a sack by Gary Walker led to a third quarter field goal by the Texans. He was 12-of-25 for 185 yards.

Antonio Bryant had four receptions for 98 yards but he was called out of bounds on a would-be touchdown catch in the fourth quarter.

Facing third-and-9 with under a minute to go, he was sacked by Walker again to ensure the Texans’ win.

It was Walker’s first game back since he sprained his shoulder in Week 2 and the sacks were his first since 2002.

Mathis, who had an 89-yard touchdown on a kickoff return, continued to give the Texans excellent field position. He averaged 35.4 yards on five returns against the Browns.

AP-ES-10-30-05 1649EST


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