Texans hope offense improves against Indy
HOUSTON -- The Houston Texans didn't score a touchdown for the first time in more than six years and had their fewest yards of the season in a loss to the Vikings.
They must get their offense going for Sunday's game against the Colts. They need a win to secure a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
The offense is struggling at a time when it should be peaking. The unit failed to score a touchdown for the first time since Oct. 15, 2006, a span of 106 games.
Matt Schaub said he knows everyone has to do their jobs for the offense to click, but he takes more responsibility for the group as the quarterback.
"There's plenty of stuff from the game that I can correct from my own play and I've got to do that first , and then look to other places to help the group as a whole do that," he said. "You take it upon yourself to correct what you personally did wrong, and if everyone does that together and is on the same page that is the recipe for success."
The Texans believe better execution and keeping third downs manageable will be keys to success this week in Indianapolis, a place they've never won.
Houston was 1 of 11 on third downs against the Vikings. Some of the trouble came from plays in the running game with negative yardage on earlier downs, but they were also slowed by nine penalties for 60 yards.
Offensive coordinator Rick Dennison is focused on cleaning things up and eliminating the penalties this week. He's also talked to his team about the importance of putting together long drives. Seven of Houston's possessions against the Vikings ended after five plays or less.
"Staying on the ball is, I think, for anybody the key to winning in the NFL," Dennison said. "Just continuous drives. Not only does it wear their defense down, it secures points ... and helps your defense get a chance to rest. It is a momentum and confidence builder if you're on the field for longer drives."
A major component to doing that will be getting the running game going again. In Houston's three losses this season the team has averaged 3.8 yards or less a carry, and the Texans managed a season-low 2.1 against Minnesota. Those numbers aren't acceptable to left tackle Duane Brown.
"I don't think we've performed up to par at all," Brown said. "We've had some moments where we've broken out some big runs, but consistently we haven't done our jobs good enough to get to where we need to be. Averaging two or three yards a carry is not going to cut it for us. It's not going to cut it this week, and it's not going to cut it in the postseason."
Coach Gary Kubiak was very unhappy with Houston's work against the Vikings and hopes his players are just as upset.
"Anybody who is worth their salt from the standpoint of competing, when you don't succeed or you don't play the way you expect yourself to compete, then of course you're bothered," he said.
Veteran receiver Andre Johnson is encouraging the team not to dwell on its mistakes from last week, but rather learn from them and move on. He said they must establish themselves early to be successful against the Colts.
"We just need to go out and get off to a fast start and get into a rhythm," he said. "The biggest thing is just going out and making plays. That's something we didn't do last week, we didn't make any plays."
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