Texans trying to stay in playoff hunt

December 2, 2009 2:03:23 PM PST
For any chance at that elusive first playoff berth, the Houston Texans will probably need to win each of their five remaining games.[SPORTS BLOG: Read the latest from the Eyewitness Sports team]

First up is a trip to Jacksonville, where the Texans (5-6) will have to shake off their third straight tough loss to get back on track. A win there would be key with the Jaguars one game ahead of Houston in the AFC South standings.

Three of Houston's five remaining games are against teams with losing records, but the Texans close the regular season against New England.

"I think regardless of who we're playing we've got to find another level of focus ... because obviously the one we've had the last few weeks hasn't gotten us a W," coach Gary Kubiak said. "We've got to find a way to win our sixth game."

Houston has returned to its usual place in the AFC South cellar after Tennessee won its fifth straight on Sunday following an 0-6 start. The Titans have the same record as Houston but lead in the standings because of a better division record.

Defensive end Antonio Smith said he still believes the team can make the playoffs and the Texans have to band together to get it done.

"There is no tomorrow," he said. "You can't lose any more games, so what else can you do but hope and believe that you can win?"

Another key to turning things around will be looking ahead instead of dwelling on the losing streak.

"We just have to focus on the future," Mario Williams said. "We're all going to have to have a short memory of this."

While the players seem focused on staying in the playoff hunt, Kubiak isn't looking past Jacksonville, which beat Houston 31-24 in Week 3.

"We've got to stay focused on who we're playing and not look at the big picture, not look at the last five, just stay focused on the next game and try to find a way to fix our issues," he said.

Houston's issues are many this week. The Texans are working to put together a complete game after leading the Colts by 17 in the first half before falling apart after halftime in the 35-27 defeat on Sunday.

The Texans had three second-half turnovers against Indianapolis and the defense allowed 28 points in the last two quarters. Houston was trailing by one point in the fourth quarter when Matt Schaub threw an interception for a touchdown. On the following drive, he was sacked and lost a fumble that set up another Indianapolis touchdown that put the game out of reach.

The most recent loss followed a pair of close defeats that came after Kris Brown missed field goals that would have forced overtime.

"What happened in the second half I'm very, very concerned about because I see this game a little bit different than I see the last two," Kubiak said. "I just don't like the way we played in the second half, our attention to detail, the little things that we did right in the first half we didn't do right in the second half. The mistakes that we made, that hasn't been us."

Kubiak said he will look to his leaders to take charge and get things going in the right direction.

"When you have adversity, people either get strong or weak and we need a lot of strong people around here right now," he said. "We need some guys to step up as we move forward."

In injury news, left tackle Duane Brown has a knee injury and will be listed as day to day this week after tests on Monday showed no major damage.


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